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 got into Bay View High School, I joined the Projection Crew, the group that showed all of the movies inside of school. One day, a student thought he was funny and started the auditorium stage on fire, and burned most of the props needed for class plays and operetas. When we showed movies on the damaged auditorium stage, we had to put up an old grandfather type screen for movies to be seen on. The "Castle on the Hill", Bay View High School has a concrete shell and thus prevents any major fire from doing too much damage. When we went up into the Spot Room (where the movie projector and spot lights were in place), it was more difficult to aim the movie unto a smaller screen. Our class play and opereta had to be moved to Pulaski High School due to the damage on our stage. All new scenery had to be created for the play. The actors had to get used to a new stage that was different from their own stage. It took a lot of intense labor to put together our class play that year. It was a success.
In a few weeks the same person who started the auditorium stage fire, started a fire in the woodworking room. He was caught and taken away from our school. He must have had mental problems and had to be committed to an asylum for treatment. I never again heard anything about this person again.
The year of this event was either 1957 or 1958. After my first semester of high school, I was totally involved in projection crew management and organization. I thank Mr. Arthur Hickman for being my advisor. If you were at Bay View High School in those years, you would have seen the damage to our auditorium stage.