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.
In the summer of 1953, we had a major wind storm that pulled trees out of the ground and took down many power lines. I was lucky to have slept through this storm. Early in the day, my father and some of us kids went to fallen down trees and used a two man saw to cut through the trunk of the trees. We had an old coal furnace and could use the wood for fuel. We would haul some of this wood home on a coaster wagon. The two man saw was hard to use, but very effective. Here was a free supply of wood for our winter. On smaller pieces of the tree, we used regular hand saws. I still have two of these hand saws with me at home. I also have an ax that my dad used on some of the wood of the tree. Imagine a tree being pulled up by its roots by the street curb. Some of these trees had thick trunks. This wind storm hit all of the south east areas of Milwaukee County. It was said to be a reverse cyclone, whatever that means. My mother took a tour of the damaged areas so she could be aware of the extent of the property damage for her insurance agency work. One man on E. Pryor Avenue, very close to Lewis Field, got out of his new car and in a few seconds saw a tree fall on top of his car. We saw where tree tops smashed into the roofs of houses. Many roads were blocked for a few days afterward until a proper clean-up could be done. You would have had to be there to see the amount of damage from that storm of 1953.