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 I was a kid, I used to cross the railroad tracks to go to Pryor Ave. Playground (Lewis Field). After getting on the east side of the tracks, I had to cross a small creek (Deer Creek) that had small crabs in the water. When I got past the water, I got to a gate that opened into the playground next to the pavilion. There were playground volunteers from Milwaukee Public School Recreation Department to organize the kids into games or other events there. There was almost always a chess game in the building. There were basketballs if you wanted to play in the basketball area. There was almost always one or two softball games going on at the playground. The big softball diamond on E. Seeley St. was used for adult softball games and high school girl's softball games during the day time. At night, there were adult softball games on the big diamond. If someone hit the softball over the fence, the games was delayed until somebody retrieved the ball. Some times they used a second softball until the first one ws retrieved. There were games for all ages happening at the playground. Going back home, I would head to E. Pryor Ave and walk west to the other side of the train tracks. At night you could not see the creek or get a clear view of the train tracks. After getting west of the train tracks, I would go though a field and head north until I arrived at the alley behind my house on E. Seeley St. The western end of the alley was in my backyard. I can remember watching the South Shore Water Frolics Fireworks from the alley behind my house. These are pleasant memories of my life as a kid.