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.
Many people have asked why the Village of Bay View merged in the City of Milwaukee. By 1886, there was quite a large population in the Village, and they all had outhouses. They would pay people called "scavengers" to empty their latrines. When the population of any location exceeds the safety element of outhouse use, then cholera and typhoid epidemics could develop in the Village. The Village had no indoor plumbing, no electricity (only gas lighting), gas street lights, and no sewers. An attempt was made to make the Iron Well as the main supply of water for the Village. The state government in Madison, Wisconsin stated that the iron Well was insufficient to use as a Village water supply. With people living near E. Lincoln Ave. looking north could see electric light posts, homes with electricity and indoor plumbing with sewers. Many people were jealous of this.
When the need for indoor pumbing and sewers became too great, the people of the Village voted to merge into the City of Milwaukee. This was in 1886. It took until 1887 for the City of Milwaukee to agree to merge the two places. Imagine that if we had an adequate water supply and sewers, Bay View could still exist as a Village. Now you know why the merger took place. The two Village schools and Village Hall had neither indoor plumbing nor electricity as long as they existed. Can you imagine having to send your children to a school with no indoor plumbing nor electricity? Can you imagine no street lights in the Village. These are the conditions that existed in the Village. It may have been primitive, but it was home to us.
I think that now you can understand why Bay View is no longer a village. Read up on this matter in the Paul Gauer book, the Zillmann book and the Dr. Korn book about the history of Bay View. Art Hickman has two essays written about what it was like to live in Bay View years ago. These two essays are only available from the library desk and can only be read inside of the library. More information about Bay View can be read at the second floor of the Main Milwaukee Library in the local history section. Various essays and thesis about Bay View are on the sheves. The other main sorce for local history is the Golda Meier Library at UWM. The Milwaukee County Historical Society also has Bay View history. The original fire maps of the City of Milwaukee can be seen on the second floor local history section of the Main Library Downtown.