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.
I can remember two major rain storms from the past. In 1953, the South Shore area of Milwaukee County was hit with a cyclone that knocked down many trees and electrical wires. Many trees were pulled up from their roots and landed on streets, yards, buildings or cars. I remember one man who just stepped out of his brand new car on E. Pryor Avenue, and tree fell inside of his car. On my street, several trees were blocking the road and two live electrical wires were lying in the middle of the road. For two weeks we went without electricity, until one day an ex-neighbor, who was a police officer, came down our dead end street to show us his new squad car. When he saw the live wires still lying on the road, he called the fire department and electric power company to eliminate this problem and to restore service to us again. You become forgotten when you live on a dead end street. My mother was in the insurance business and took us on a tour of the South Shore areas to view all of the damage from this storm. They claim the the storm was a reverse tornado or cyclone that hit us. My dad and worked a two man saw to get wood for the coal furnace that year. Some of the trees that fell were huge and old. Sidewalks had to be replaced in many cases. We as children, could play outside, but we were told to stay clear of the live wires on the road.
In August of 1986, as I was delivering my mail route, I got soaked completely. People would ask me why their mail was wet. I told them that it was as dry as I was, since no dry spot existed on my uniform. After returning to my postal station in Bay View, I drove home to get some dry clothes on. All of the streets had inches of rain on them. The underpasses were all closed due to the heavy rain. I took S. Clement Avenue home to avoid the underpasses. I was praying that my car would not stall while driving through the water. My wife and the kids were at State Fair Park and came home after the storm subsided. A friend of mine was trapped west of the freeway, and could find no open roads to our postal station. He had to go to a station west of us to turn in his vehicle, keys and accountables. The supervisor went with him to try and find a way to get back to Bay View, but found all main roads were under water and too dangerous to travel on. In reading the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel recently, I found out that the major storm that hit Milwaukee several days ago, was similar to August of 1986.
The recent rain storm left a Cadillac Escalade inside of a twenty foot ditch created by water damage. A few months ago. a multi-alarm fire occurred at this same location. This is what probably cause the pavement to collapse into a giant sink hole during the rain storm. Count your blessings and be glad that no major loss of life happened during this storm. A few people were hurt by lightning and at least one man drowned as a result of the heavy rain. Be thankful that you were not hurt.