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 went to St. Lucas Ev. Lutheran School in the 1940's, we went to the original school building. In the basement were several bowling alleys. We had a kitchen area an auditorium with a stage. We ate our lunch in the school auditorium. There was a small book store in the school to buy needed school supplies in an emergency. Students took turns running it. When we had to get shots, we lined up in the auditorium and one by one enter the kitchen to get our shots. The school auditorium was built directly over the bowling alleys. While I was attending grade school, the church building added a new basement. The church office was built later in time. Sometimes we went upstairs to the school attic to get items. It was dusty and messed up. There were old school desks and other antiques in the attic.It was hard to believe that my mother and her father both attended this same school building in their time. Sometimes we would go to the auditorium to watch a movie. At other times we would watch one in our class room. First and second grade were placed in the same classroom. Third and fourth grade were in the same room. Fifth and six grade and seventh and eighth were in the other rooms. There was also a an office for the principal. The teacher would work with one grade first, give them some task to do and work on the other grade separately. It was difficult work, but our teachers did a great job. Kindergarten was held in a basement room. Religion was reflected in all that we learned in school. We would go over to church to sing for a funeral service. The church bells were rung for each year of a person's life. Ringing the church bells was a difficult job. It was all manual work. Student would volunteer and train to do this work. Now they have this work done by automation. One of the best seats in church was in the balcony. You could see the church organ being played and watch the bell ringer go to ring the bells.
When they built the second school, they saved the auditorium and bowling alleys. I never attended this building as a student.
When they built the most recent school building, they made it handicap accessible and larger. Many new rooms were built with a new kitchen for the staff. When repairs were being done to the church, then church services were held in the new school auditorium. Special Services were held on Thursdays for people who couldn't make it to church on Sunday, or who were handicappedand needed special church services. I and my wife used to pick up my aunt Ruth Schumacher Arnet from her nursing home room and take her to Special Services. With dementia, she had a hard time understanding where she was and who she was with. Both she and her sister, my mother, Helen Schumacher Manke , attended St. Lucas as children, when their father Otto Schumacher, who was involved in the school and who ran Woodlawn Cemetery for the church, had a small grocery store on S. Logan Ave. and E. Otjen St. He also attended St. Lucas School as a child.