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You, too, can own a piece of Bay View High School history.
You, too, can own a piece of Bay View High School history.

Own a piece of Bay View High history

My book on Milwaukee's old schoolhouses, which is due next week, isn't even out yet and thanks to Facebook and my blogs here, folks already associate me with old schools.

Witness the Facebook message I got today from Ed Makowski, a recent Pfister Narrator and general man about town. It was a picture of a some blueprints and a note to get over to Clinton Street Antiques, 1110 S. 1st St., in Walker's Point.

The shop has a tabletop covered in copies of original architectural drawings, by Van Ryn and DeGelleke, of Bay View High School, constructed in 1922. Though they're copies (you can see creases and folds from the originals copied into these), they're pretty darn cool.

I spent a little time combing through, trying to find six great ones, since they're priced at $5 each or $20 for six. I amassed floor plans for the ground floor, first, second and third floors, and the attic and roof, as well as a couple that showed interior details like door frames, staircase railings and the like.

Then I realized, I have absolutely no place to hang these things that are each about four by three feet. So, I decided to pick just one. It wasn't easy but I settled on a general floor plan of the first floor, showing the auditorium, offices and some classrooms.

Had there been some exterior elevations I'd have snapped up those, but someone must have beaten me to it because there are only drawings of the interior and of structural elements.

Still I struggled a bit with my choice, wondering if I should have gone with a sheet of interior details. Certainly, some of you will say I should have just kept the $5 in my pocket.

You might be right, but I'm going to hang this baby up on the office wall next to a giant copy of Schnetzky and Liebert's plans for an 1893 addition at Maryland Avenue School. Who'll be laughing, then, my friends; who'll be laughing then?

Wednesday, Oct. 3 is International Walk to School Day, but it's cool if you ride, too.
Wednesday, Oct. 3 is International Walk to School Day, but it's cool if you ride, too. (Photo: Safe Routes to Schools National Partnership)

Bike Federation pushes pedaling to school

Next week is International Walk to School Day and in preparation, I heard a Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin representative pitch the Safe Routes to Schools program to the PTO at our school.

According to its Facebook page, The Safe Routes to School National Partnership includes "more than 600 nonprofit organizations, government agencies, schools and professionals working together to advance the Safe Routes to School movement in the United States."

The program  is funded by the Wisconsin DOT and federal transportation dollars in the Badger State.

When I was a kid that's how most people got to school, but for myriad reasons, that's no longer the case. In fact, only around 10-14% get to school on foot power.

So, the Bike Federation folks are working with MPS schools to take us back to the future, offering a range of services to schools. They do education programs, bringing bikes and helmets and other materials to schools to teach kids safe riding in the street (which is the law after age 10) and on the sidewalk (which is the law before age 10).

Via in-school and after school programs, they show kids and families safe riding skills, safe routing to avoid dangerous thoroughfares and pedestrian safety.

They explain walking school bus and bike trains to get groups of kids to school safely, and they survey families to find out what concerns prevent them walking and riding to school. The results are shared in a national database to help improve walking and riding to school on a bigger level.

At the presentation I heard that the federation has worked with 15,000 MPS kids at more than 25 school sites annually. They've given away 150 bikes, 10,000 helmets and installed dozens of bike racks at schools.

So, next week, on Wednesday, Oct. 3, celebrate International Walk to School Day – if you can – by riding or walking to school. It's good exercise, good for the environment and it's fun.


No more Alterra for you, Mayfair shoppers!
No more Alterra for you, Mayfair shoppers!

Goodbye, Alterra Mayfair

There was a time – typically winter – that I'd be at Mayfair almost weekly. And the Alterra Coffee kiosk, smack dab in front of Williams-Sonoma was my watering hole.

In recent months my visits to the mall have been short and strategic, so I only noticed yesterday that the Alterra kiosk is gone. It's been out for about a month now, it seems.

I couldn't believe it. Though it's not quite on the same scale, the mall felt a bit like it did after the skating rink was removed. But in that case we were warned and there were months of renovations. It was no surprise.

So, I sent a note to Alterra co-owner Lincoln Fowler, who said, "We loved the kiosk, too!  Sadly, we were unable to come to terms with Mayfair for a renewal of our lease."

The kiosk appeared to do a brisk business and rarely was I able to saunter up and order without waiting behind at least a couple folks. Sometimes – pretty often – there was what appeared to be healthy caffeine-fueled traffic. But I don't know the details of the math involved in making the kiosk financially viable.

I do know that the Alterra nearby at 92nd and North is expanding. And I know that a new location on 68th and Wells is expected to open by spring. Last week I passed that site, and the empty building there had been razed in preparation.

And, word is that Alterra is taking Horace Greeley's famous exhortation and headed west, too. (I'll let you know when there are details on that).

In the meantime, I will try to remember to stop and grab my Alterra on the way to Mayfair. But it'll be a hard habit to break, stopping at the kiosk for some coffee to wash down the samples at Williams-Sonoma.

Work is underway at the former Palermo Villa space and a liquor license has been applied for.
Work is underway at the former Palermo Villa space and a liquor license has been applied for.

Palermo Villa may be reborn

According to an application filed with the city's Office of the City Clerk's License Division, Dean Cannestra, Tina Conley and Mary Howard have requested a liquor license for the old Palermo Villa restaurant space at 2315 N. Murray Ave.

Cannestra is the brother of Palermo Villa owner Kathy Mirenda and was long associated with the restaurant (as well as with the now-closed Libiamo in Brewers Hill and Nessun Dorma in Riverwest). According the application, which is still pending, the license is requested in the name of Bar Romano, though one source who asked not to be named, suggested that name may simply be a "placeholder."

I wrote with sadness in July of Palermo Villa's closing. I explained in that posting why Palermo Villa was a restaurant that has had a personal significance for me, and I'm pleased to hear it will reopen.

It appears that some renovations are currently underway in the space.

A message to Cannestra has not yet been returned but when I talk to him and get more information, I promise to pass it along. But I know Milwaukee – or at the very least East Siders – couldn't wait to hear the news!