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.
We used to go the YWCA, located at 610 N. Jackson Street, to go to dance classes and to go bowling. We belonged to the YWCA Terpsichorean Club, founded by Henry W. Altstadt, our dance instructor. His wife was on the Board at the YWCA. Henry was an old master sergeant in the military. He lost part of one foot in combat. He is still alive today. Our active period in the club and YWCA was in the 1950's and 1960's. We would have Thursday Night dances, club activities going to various places and parks. We played coed softball games at Wilson Park on Sunday mornings. We used to go down to Grant Park at night for midnight swims after dance classes. We would frequently go to Al's Custard Stand on E. Layton Ave. One of the rules of the club was no abusive behavior or words. No alcohol was allowed at events. Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time at these events. People had to take turns chairing an event. Everyone was given a chance to be a leader. When a stranger was there at an event, we would take that person and put them into the kitchen or other active area to work, and when he or she was relaxed enough, they were put into the main activities. This was a group where everyone was made to feel that he was an active part of the club. During the 1960's, the Terpsichorean Club seemed to fade from history. Some of the club members have passed away, while others have moved on with their lives. Some of this group still meet and have fun together. I believe that Henry Altstadt is now in a nursing home. The old YWCA building has been razed and replaced. Al's Custard Stand is for all purposes gone. A shell of its former building is still there, but no longer a custard stand. We had own own "Happy Days" in Milwaukee. Hats off to all former members of the YWCA Terpsichoresn Club and its founder. We had a great time back then, but time has taken its toll on all things.