Fans of ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings have had a slew of events lately. That’s a good sign, of course, as it means things are happening. One relatively quiet transformation is not only preserving a small piece of Milwaukee’s historical built environment but is literally building the future on a small piece of the past.
La Dallman architects’ trestle stair access to the marsupial bridge it also designed – built beneath the Holton Street bridge – will be officially christened on Wednesday, Aug. 7 at 11 a.m.
Mayor Tom Barrett will be on hand to cut the ribbon on the ascending ramp that was constructed atop a fragment of the railroad tracks that once ran along Commerce Street, across from the site of the current Lakefront Brewery.
"As the most recent phase of the CrossRoads project, the Trestle Stair repurposes a historic rail trestle rising gently along the valley edge as a public promenade and event space, connecting the Marsupial Bridge with Commerce Street below," reads a statement on the La Dallman website.
"The heavy timber structure that once carried freight trains now supports a concrete deck, integral benches and cantilevered overlook. The width of a rail car, the new deck allows the existing structure to read as both sculptural presence and historic remnant. Concrete stairs provide end connections, and an Ipe wood terrace extends to the adjacent hillside, enveloping a grove of native Quaking Aspen trees. The railing system is clad by a tessellated perforated stainless steel apron, integral LED lighting, and wood handrail.
"The project establishes a model for civic space and sustainable transportation through the functional and aesthetic transformation of abandoned industrial infrastructure."
As it did with the Marsupial Bridge, La Dallman again has offered up a project that improves links and access without demolition of old structures. It creates a new, attractive and utilitarian feature of the landscape by acknowledging and integrating an existing one. And in this case, it’s an especially fitting marriage of Milwaukee’s industrial past and its innovative future.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.