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 Bay View Historical Society will dedicate Groppi's Food Market, 1441 E. Russell Avenue, as a historical landmark on Saturday, June 21, 2008, at 2:00 PM. The brief dedication ceremony, which is free and open to the public, will take place at the store. The program includes the presentation of a plaque to John and Anne Nehring, the present owners, and a brief history of the landmark. A reception with light refreshments will follow the ceremony on the patio behind the store..
Groppi's Food Market is located on the southwest corner of Russell and Wentworth Avenues. Giocando and Georgina Groppi founded Groppi's Food Market in 1913 in an area of Bay View known as "Little Italy". Originally from Tuscany, Italy, they started their business by selling fruit and vegetables out of their home. They had twelve children, with two dying at a young age. When Giocando and Georgina Retired, four of their sons took over the store. John, Louis, Mario and Tom ran the store, which featured homemade sausages and Italian specialties. Their eleventh son, James, became a priest who became a famous cilil rights activist in the 1960's. During the 1960's and 1970's, many neighborhood markets became victims of grocery chains, but the store survived and was a gathering place for exchanging news , gossip and politics. Tom, the last surviving brother closed the store in February, 2003. John and Anne Nehring, who also own Sendik's at 4027 N. Oakland Avenue in Shorewod, and V. Richards Market at 17165 W. Blue Mound Road in Brookfield, then purchased the store and reopened it in November of 2003. They kept the family sausage recipes and retained its family atmosphere. Groppi's Food Market is the only Italian grocery store on Milwaukee' South Side, and is the National Register of Historic Places.
"This distinctive property is truly representative of the Italian settlement in Bay View," says Chris Rieck-Risser, President of the Bay View Historical Society. "Because it continues to operate in a manner similar to when it opened in 1913, it is also a great asset to the community. The Society wants to make sure that it recieves appropiate recognition for its role in Bay View history."
The Bay View Historical Society, established in 1979, is dedicated to maintaining the Bay View community through conserving, celebrating and sharing Bay View's rich heritage. With more than 500 members, it is one of the largest local historical societies in the area. The Society maintains headquarters at one of the most prominent hsitorical sites in Bay View, the beulah Brinton House. Built in 1873, it is considered to be Milwaukee's most intact example of Gothic Revival style architecture and was formerly home to Beulah Brinton, a community leader, who turned her house into an informal social center and Bay View's first library. The Society also designates landmarks throughout Bay View and publishes a newsletter, The Historian, which contains articles of local interest. During the year, the Society conducts general membership meetings, histroical walks and othe social events. Membership in the Society is open to anyone interested in supporting the Society's programs.