If you’ve ever wished you could look back in time at old Milwaukee, well now you can thanks to Viewaukee, a partnership of the Milwaukee County Historical Society and CG Schmidt.
Thanks to 10 viewers scattered around town, you can quite literally peer back into the past.
Each set of binocular viewers, mounted on a five-foot post, shows a historic photo of the same site taken decades earlier. The photographs are drawn from the extensive collections of the Milwaukee County Historical Society.
Use of the viewers is free.
The first 10 viewers, which will be installed this year, will be at:
- Milwaukee War Memorial, 750 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr.
- Summerfest North End, E. Clybourn St.
- Milwaukee Public Market Pocket Park, 407 N. Water St.
- Milwaukee Riverwalk at the Marcus Center, 929 N. Water St.
- North Point Water Tower, 2288 N. Lake Dr.
- Miller Valley at the Historic Caves, 4251 W. State St.
- The Milwaukee River, Wisconsin Avene Bridge & Riverwalk
- 16th Street Viaduct, 16th and Clybourn Streets
- Milwaukee City Hall, south of City Hall on Water Street
- ·Brady Street, 1240 N. Brady St.
The first viewer was installed and unveiled on Friday and the others will be added in coming days.
The viewaukee.com includes additional resources, including locations histories, additional photographs, corresponding curricula for use by parents and educators, and more.
MCHS plans to add more viewers along with themed routes in the 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.