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.
The first lending library in Bay View was inside of the home of Beulah Brinton at what is now 2590 S. Superior Street. With the help of Her cousin, Eber Brock Ward and few other people, she was able to start the lending library in her own house. She also founded the first social center in the United States in her house. Her life was dedicated to helping other people. She wrote two books in her lifetime. She would replace the church pastor in giving sermons on some Sundays at the Bay View United Methodist Church, which started in the Bay View Rolling Mill superintendent's office in 1867. People said that Beulah Brinton giving sermons was like her baking apple pies. She was very good at what she all did. When her house became to small for her teaching of the rolling mill workers and their wives, she moved her classes over to the Puddler's Hall on St. Clair Street. During the time of the year 1874, the library had gotten too large for her house and it was moved over to the Red Brick School, which was also the Village Hall and jail. When Bay View joined Milwaukee in 1887, the library became part of the Milwaukee Public Library. In 1914, a new Bay View Library was built by the family of grocer Henry Llewellyn, who was a strong financial supporter of the library, and was named after him. When Beulah Brinton ran the library in her house, she instituted a "children's hour" for the children of Bay View. She set up a circulating library for the adults in the community. Her two books were:"Man is Love" and "Behold the Woman". Both books were religious in nature. When she died in 1924 at the age of 92, the Beulah Brinton Community Center inside of the old Bay View firehouse was named after her.
In modern times, an extension was added to the LLewellyn Library, on E. Russell Avenue near Bay View High School, and greatly increased the size of the library. In very recent times, a new Bay View Library was built at 2566 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue. It has a Llewellyn Room inside of it to honor the Henry Llewellyn family who contributed so much to the old library. This new library is very large and can hold meetings inside for the public. If you have the time, pay a visit to the Bay View Library and see what a great facility it is. The Red Brick School was razed many years ago. The old Llewellyn Library is now used as part of Bay View High School for some of its academic programs. You can still see how the old library looked before its addition was added on. Please support the Bay View community.