Learn about the history of Bay View on a historical walking tour on Saturday, August 4th at 9:30 a.m. The Northern Border Walk, sponsored by the Bay View Historical Society was designed by Ron Winkler, author of the book Bay View, published by Arcadia Publishing in December 2011. You may purchase copies of Ron’s book for $21.99 which he will sign.
Registration and the start of the walk will take place at 9:00 a.m. at Stone Creek Coffee, 2266 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. (corner of Kinnickinnic, Lincoln and Howell). The cost is $5.00 for Bay View Historical Society members and $7.00 for nonmembers.
Ron Winkler and Greg Wernisch will be the tour guides. Greg’s tour will last approximately two hours and Ron’s more detailed tour will be slightly longer.
The walk’s first section is in the residential area north of Lincoln Avenue and east of Kinnickinnic Avenue. The second section is centered on the industrial area north of Bay Street. The final section is along Kinnickinnic Avenue with its historic buildings. Most of the Northern Border Walk is unfamiliar to even Bay View residents.
Here are some of the Highlights
Allis Street/Punk Alley:The alley between Allis Street and Mound Street was once known as “Punk Alley” starting in the 1970s. Gangs ruled this area which was populated with liquor stores, dingy bars and boarded up homes. The gang activity involved drugs and starting fires in garages. Bill Doyle and the police department worked to eliminate the problem. Part of the solution was to tear down garages that were being used as hideouts by the gangs.
Brunks Lane was named during the 1870s for William Brunk, a carpenter who lived on the street. There were about fifteen houses on the street which extended to Kinnickinnic Avenue until 1960 when Ward Street was extended east of Kinnickinnic Avenue to Allis Street. Ward Street was named for Milwaukee Iron Company founder Eber Brock Ward. The city turned this area into a nameless mini-park (named Zillman Park in 1978). Today there is one house on Brunks Lane which is the only brick street in Bay View.
Elias Stollenwerk Home, 2246 S. Aldrich Street: Elias Stollenwerk (born 1857) was the senior member of Elias Stollenwerk and Company, contractors and builders. He built a Queen Anne home in 1890 as his home and office. He started his business in 1883 and employed his brother John. They built St. Augustine School (1888) and Church (1908), which was the Stollenwerk Family’s parish.
Mound Street School/Winchester Village, 2147 S. Winchester Street: This Queen Anne style school was built in 1886 between Mound Street and Winchester Street. The school closed in 1979 and was converted in 1983 to the senior housing Winchester Village addressed at 2147 South Winchester.
The Penney Flats row house was built in 1894 at 380-96 E. Becher Street by streetcar operator Lorenzo Seymer for $9000. The story is that he either saved or embezzled his pennies to build these apartments. Row houses are rare in Milwaukee. This short segment of Becher Street was originally named Allen Street.
Wrought Washer, 2100 S. Bay Street, manufactures washers and stamped metal parts. The company was founded in 1887 by Fred Doepke as the Nut and Washer Manufacturing Company in a small building on the northeast corner of Reynolds (Lenox Street), Wilcox and Bay Street. Doepke chose this location because of its proximity to the Illinois Steel Company, his source of steel.
In 1901 Doepke constructed the first of what would eventually be seven modern buildings. Wrought Washer is the world’s largest manufacturer of standard flat washers and special washers with this factory in Bay View and warehouses throughout the United States.
Boleslaus Stanislaus Wisniewski (1896-1994) known as B.S. or Warehouse Wizzy, owned an auto parts and appliance store at 2131-33 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue. Wisniewski was well-liked and respected throughout Milwaukee. His store was known nationwide for its antique car parts.
Boulevard Theater, 2248-50-52 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue: In 1986 Mark Bucher rented half of this building and founded the Boulevard Ensemble Studio Theater. At the time the building was vacant and its previous tenant had been an adult book store. At that time this area was quite depressed with seedy bars, drug houses and prostitution. Things were so bad that even the George Webb restaurant (today’s Café Lulu) across the street had moved out. He eventually purchased the entire building and encouraged others to move into the area.
Café Lulu, 2261-63-65 South Howell Avenue: Since September 2001 this has been Café Lulu owned by Cameryne Roberts and Sarah Jonas. Jonas had previously worked with Mark Bucher who encouraged the women to consider this location. Today the café has become a Bay View landmark. Café Lulu and Boulevard Theater started the upswing of this area.
Strnad Building/Woolworth’s/Salvation Army, 2254-64 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue: This building was constructed in 1911 as a department store. There is a plaque on the second level that reads “Strnad Bldg.” Over the years the building has housed a Woolworth’s Department Store, Salvation Army Thrift Store and Schwartz Book Shop. Today it houses Riviera Maya Restaurant, Toppers Pizza and Babe’s Ice Cream.
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