John Manke is an active former Bay View resident who is involved in numerous neighborhood organizations, including the Bay View Historical Society, the Humboldt Park Fourth of July Association and the Shore Shore Farmers Market. He believes Bay View has a fine tradition in its past that we do not want to lose in the future.
When you are doing research on a historical building, you should go to the Local History Room at the Main Library Downtown on N. 8th St & W. Wisconsin Ave. on the second floor. You can begin in the local section of your neighborhood library, but limited information will be found there. The Register of Deeds in the Milwaukee County Courthouse, 801 N. 9th St, can locate any information on any building inside of Milwaukee County. The Golda Meier Library at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has many, books, newspapers, pictures and other data from the past. The Milwaukee County Historical Society also has a lot of material on our past history. Seek and ye shall find! If you can narrow down your search to a limited area, your search will be easy. The temptation of searching wide can cause you to lose your sense of direction and miss too much of your needed material. In the past, many old records have been destroyed. Some have been saved on micro-film and can be seen on a computer screen. The more you know about your subject material, the easier it will be to track down most of the facts on a building.
The Milwaukee Fire Department began as a branch of insurance companies. As a result, many old fire department maps can be seen at the main library--second floor local history area. These old maps are very old and starting to fall apart. A librarian will have to be with you when you study these maps. Some old companies and houses are shown on these maps. Many of these buildings are no longer in existence. The knowledge that you gain from these maps is the layout of the old City of Milwaukee. There are some books at the main library that do not exist in other local libraries. Some college thesis material is there, but not in book form. The old city directories ( not Bell Telephone Books) are like looking at U.S. Census material due to all of the information inside of them. These books can't be removed from the library. We have a few city directories at the Beulah Brinton House, 2590 S. Superior St., the home of the Bay View Historical Society. The archives of the BVHS is an ongoing thing. Material is being added to the archives and a weekly basis. The third Saturday of the month is an open house at the Beulah Brinton House.
Search for historical data takes a very long time. It takes years of work before you really have a real working knowledge of this data. There is always new information being found out every day. Relax and enjoy your research work, because is will be very fulfilling. Never stop your learning process. You can hold off on dementia by always using your brain power. The more brain cells that you have, the longer it takes for them to fail. Have fun excercising you brain power by doing research.
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