Page 4 of Retro-Milwaukee Memories and Letters
 
Great Web Site.
 
Raised around Richard & Burleigh Streets in the Forties.
 
See attached pictures I took when they were relaying of streetcar tracks on Wells Street in the late forties after the bricks were removed and the street was to be paved.
 
Hope you enjoy.
 
Ralph Struck
Sun City West, Arizona

Click on photo for a full size view

"relaying of streetcar tracks on Wells Street in the late forties"
 

"Paperboy" Memories
Born in 1962 and a South-sider until I left for college (Minnesota one year - Wisconsin for last 3) then life in the US Air Force.

 
Memories - being a "paperboy" for the Journal and occasionally helping my neighbor with his Sentinel route in the early morning.  Journal delivered early Sunday mornings, so sometimes in winter we'd be outside at 3:30 AM - so quiet you could hear your breath freeze when you exhaled.
 
Wisconsin Skate University on S 27th.  Drews stores.  Shifano's (sp?) pizza on 27th and Lincoln where you could buy the makings for 20 pizzas (can of sauce, bag of cheese, bag of sausage - one huge meatball - 20 pre-made crusts).  "Bonnie Brewer" sweeping off the infielder's and umpire's shoes during the middle of the 5th.  The 3rd base coach or umpire would get a kiss on the cheek and a playful broom to the butt as she coquettishly trotted off the field (golly, I envied them - from the left field bleachers near the True Blue Brew Crew sign).
 
Father Gropi.  Summerfest for just a few bucks to see George Carlin, the Eagles, and others.  Corn roasts!!  Skating in the "silver skates" competitions at Jackson park.  The Independence Day ritual - march in the parade at 8:30, get the ice cream, the family picnic, home to pop corn to take to Jackson for fireworks, then back home for sparklers and watermelon.  The County bus strike in 1977? that forced us Milwaukee Tech students to find alternate means of getting to a not-so-neighborhood school.
 
The Circus Train's annual appearance.  Sitting on the breakwater by the lakefront with a best buddy and bemoaning females in general (some things never change).  Bowling at little 4-8 alley lanes where you could see the balls roll all the way ("above ground") from the pin setters back to your rack.  25-cent cokes at those same locations, with 10-cent bag-o-Jay's chips.
 
Grade school football games.  I went to Holy Ghost - I remember 6-8 team leagues of just Catholic grade schools for football, softball (boys) or volleyball (girls).  Every grade school class had to make a pilgrimage to either Mitchell Park or the County Zoo - or both - each year. SRG


 

The Milwaukee area was the hot bed of short track racing in the area during the 50's thru the 70's. With Names Like Miles"the Mouse"Melius, Fuzzy"the Hound"Fassbender, Billy"the Cat"Johnson and many more. It was truly a special time in racing history. For more on these cars and drivers go to vmsconline.com

Start of race in 1962 on the quarter mile track inside the Milwaukee Mile (photo by Tom Trettin)
 

Grew up in the south suburbs in the 1960s 
I’m surprised no one mentioned Larry the Legend Johnson on WZUU. 

Larry the Legend began a campaign against pay potties – remember those? – you needed a dime to open the stall door.  He succeeded in eliminating them from Milwaukee after about 2-3 years of relentless campaign, after lots of people thought it could never happen.

 His newscaster (David Haines) was interesting and often filled with emotion, in contrast to the bland reading style made famous by Cronkite and others.  He got in trouble eventually though, when he started a new broadcast with “Dead – with lead – in the head!”  I guess family members didn’t appreciate it.

 WOKY sponsored a big-name bubble-gum acts concert in County Stadium, one of the first, way before Pink Floyd and the Who came to town.  It was a rainy day, but it was biggest day of our lives for me and my girlfriends who attended. 

 I too remember Treasure Island, of the squiggly roof.  If you drive North on 124th street, just before you get to Capitol Drive look left out the window at the back of Pick ‘n’ Save, you’ll see a bit of that squiggly roof along the rear of the building. 

 I remember summer nights when South Milwaukee would shine the old airplane-spotting spotlights on the clouds, and my Dad would say ‘Kids, in the car” and we’d go check out what was going on.  Eventually they over-did it, but in the beginning it might be free ice cream at a grand opening, or a parade, or a public music performance.  I took a closer look at them in my teens they were in pretty bad shape, I think when they rusted out too much they were never replaced.

 I remember finding a high spot and sitting in a car for hours with friends listening to Chicago radio stations because the car radio was the only one strong enough to pick them up.  All the big acts went to Chicago and while there would pop into the main radio stations for interviews on-air. 

 I have fond memories of Packard Plaza in Cudahy, remember the Big 3?  JC Penney, W.T. Grant and Sears.  At Christmas all 3 would have a Santa.  W.T. Grant was a great store.  Their candy counter sold hot nuts, and at the end of our shopping trips I would get 25 cents (yes, cents) of hot salted peanuts, an amount impossible to eat in one sitting, must’ve been over a pound. 

 Thanks for this site. 

Lynn Hartwig

Westford MA

Bill Becker here ... 1943 vintage
 ... emigrated from Milwaukee in 1982
to San Francisco ... grew up (not likely) on 19th & Wright Street and went to
St. Boniface (grade school up to 6th grade) ... in 1955 moved to 80th and
Livingston in 'Tosa and completed 8th grade at St. Pius (big culture shock
back then) ... went to Pius XI High where we frequented Gille's on 76th and
Bluemound.  Often, on Monday mornings, the principal, Fr. Becker (no
relation), would get on the P. A. system and berate the student body for its
uncivil behavior the preceding weekend at what he called "The Custard Stand
of Gilles (GILL-ESS)" ... we'd chuckle about the good Father's HEAVY
Prussian accent and his not pronouncing Gille's the way we did
(GILL-EEEEEZ).  SUGGESTIONS: More visuals of old Milwaukee in your posting
please.  Have you thought about doing of these for other U. S. metropolitan
areas.  It'd sell; nostalgia being what it is; and always has been;
especially with 70 million of us boomers 'dominoing' !  Aina, hey?!*   Also,
thin crust pizza served up by Connie and his family at the old Caradaro
Club (on Water Street by the Milwaukee River) ... VERY few pizzas have
equaled Caradaro's (what I miss most about Milwaukee after all these years)!
 

South Side Irishman
 
Raised at 29th and Oklahoma, two blocks from Leon's, I remember the first shopping center in Milwaukee--Southgate. I had my first slice of pizza there at the drug store. Then there was roller skating at the roller rink across the street and who could forget walking from my house to Jackson Park every night in the winter to ice skate around the beautiful lagoon, going to the drug store on 13th and Oklahoma for a 25 cent hot fudge sundae, getting a fish fry on Friday on Morgan and Oklahoma and picking up hot ham and rolls on Sunday from the bakery across from Queen of Peace church. For kicks we listened to the Lone Ranger, Gang Busters and Mad Man (Kashuba) Michaels with his "down by Schusters, where the streetcar bends the corner around" and "Stella, you skinny devil". Dad built me a tremendously large snow fort during the winter of '48. When I went the Pius, we took the trestle trolley to the "forbidden to go alone" downtown. Yes, fond memories of the best place in the world to raise children.  Now that I am older I live in Texas. Do I miss Milwaukee? Of course. Do I miss the snow? No. Still have my daughter send Usingers summer for my birthday. The good food is sorely missed.
 
Judy Cychosz Maersch
New Braunfels, Texas

My name is George
 I grew up too in the 50s. I'm 65 now, an Milwaukee was the best time an place to grow up in, best time of my life, happy days. At that time I had a 1950 mercury, chopped top, live to drive, drive to live, gas was 17 cents a gal, pooled are money an got 2 bucks in the tank an off we went. We would ride up Villard Ave, Capital dr, Wisconsin ave, an pick up chicks. On Saturday nite, we went out to Wylers dance hall out in Port Washington, welcoming in rock an roll, an now I got a old Mercury, fixed up, an a member of a Mercury car club called brewtown cruisers, go to car shows, an you know something, I'm still lost in the 50,s an still havin fun, rock on. George, w.r.i.t.

A Customized 1950 Mercury

 My Aunt Dolly sent this to me – we’re both nostalgia buffs 
I was born in Milwaukee in 1944 while my Dad was in the Army at Camp Crowder, MO, and Dad rushed up to see us and didn’t have time to stop and get a gift – except the train station had a gift shop and he got me a white teddy bear with blue felt paws and black button eyes.  I remember working downtown Milwaukee in the early sixties, when you had to get a work permit if you graduated from high school before you were 18, which I did.  I went to Bay View High School, while my future husband was attending Washington High School on the other side of town.  Remember Big Boy’s restaurants?  And their huge strawberry pies?  My sweetie took me there on our first real date, and I couldn’t even eat the entire Big Boy combo, so he wolfed it down for me.  He was still hungry. 

 While working downtown, I remember seeing the sailors leaving the train station when it was still up on Milwaukee Avenue just past the two big insurance companies, Northwestern National and Northwestern Mutual. (I worked at the former for about 5 years when I married my sailor in 1965 and shortly thereafter, moved to Charleston, SC and all over the place after that.  We may have settled in Washington State, but we love Wisconsin, and especially Milwaukee.  I remember the corner store where you could buy candy, four for a penny, and my favorites were the candy raisins, the mint leaves, and the tar babies covered with sugar.  They were put in little brown bags and you hid them in your desk and slid one out whenever the teacher wasn’t looking.  (I never got caught, either!)  I remember working at a pharmacy on Delaware Avenue that was owned by the Pharmacist, who lived upstairs.  I learned to be a soda jerk, and make ambrosia for the hot fudge sundaes.  Mallo Cups were the drugs of choice at that store, and we clerks were allowed to eat anything we wanted. 

 How about Kuglitch’s bowling alley on 44th and Greenfield?  They served food, snacks and had great bowling alleys.  Before they converted to the pin setter machines, my Dad was a part-time pin setter and bar tender.  My job in the summer was to vacuum the felt background at night after they closed because I was small enough and agile enough to squeeze in there with the vacuum cleaner – and everybody said I could see dirt from a mile away.  When they changed to the pin setting machines, I remember helping my Dad in back, clearing those pins that got caught or didn’t get swept up.  For my labors, I usually got some popcorn and an orange soda. 

 Speaking of soda, my Dad was given an old soda machine that held glass bottles, and we would go to the American Soda Company and pick out wooden cases of our favorite flavors (black cherry, cream, green river, etc.) and he would fill the machine and give us each 1 dime.  After that, we had to earn the money to get a soda, and the take from the machine paid for more soda.  He really did have a good scam going on there and we benefited, too.

 We moved to Bay View after I graduated the 8th grade, and I remember walking to Humboldt park and the row boats and ducks in the ponds – and skating there when the ponds froze over.  There was a building there where you could warm up and get hot chocolate and ice cream bars, which didn’t make sense but tasted good.  We also went to Jackson Park, and walked through the park system all the way to Grant Park.  And Root River Parkway was the most beautiful thing I ever saw as a kid, and we always begged Dad to take us there on Sunday afternoon drives.   Milwaukee County Park Systems are the best anywhere, and I’ve lived in 17 places over the last 41 years, and I can tell you that here in Kitsap County, WA, the parks are “pocket parks” with nothing to do in them except in rare instances. 

 I remember the German restaurant that our graduating class went to (1962) but can’t remember the name of it.  The food was wonderful.  Oh, and speaking of food, Di Marini’s pizza was the ONLY pizza we would eat.  They had several restaurants, but one take-out in Bay View.  Is it still there?  I also remember Toy’s Chinese Restaurant on Milwaukee Avenue, and another called Vittorio’s that was fabulous and noted for their lobster.  Kopps’ ice cream is still the best, even though Culver’s has sprung up all over and I like them, too!  

 Shopping for us meant Mitchell Street, Sears & Roebuck, the Five and Dime on Kinnickinnic Avenue, where you could get the Bobsey Twins or Nancy Drew books for a dollar, and for really ritzy shopping, you went to Southgate Mall.  I was 22 when we left Milwaukee and I never got a driver’s license because you could get anywhere by trolley, then by bus.   We could, and did, walk to the Avalon Theater, or get dropped off at the Grace Theater by our folks or our date’s Dad.  Later, dating my future husband, we went to the old Uptown Theater where he worked as an usher and got in free, and then walked across the street to a diner that had the best blueberry pie in the world, or to Mama Mia’s for pizza or spaghetti.  Those were the great old days.  I remember that I had to wear heels, hose, a hat and gloves to work every day, and that wasn’t an unusual sight for people working downtown.  When I got on the bus in Bayview, several of my older co-workers were on the bus already and always saved a seat for me.  We played card games to pass the time and keep our minds off the fumes from the buses. 

 Remember when many companies had cafeterias that served breakfast, breaks, and lunch, and then an afternoon break?  Talk about stretching your food budget!  It was so inexpensive even I, at $1.05 an hour, could afford to eat there every day.  How times have changed!  And not for the best, either.  Does anyone remember Father Groppi?  Or Pershing Grade School (it’s torn down now, but I loved that old building!) on Greenfield Avenue near 45th or so?  In the winter, snow banks were so high we couldn’t see over them, so we wore bright colored scarves and hats and mittens so the drivers could see us.  There weren’t any crossing guards, and nobody I know ever got hurt. 

 Sorry, this got long, but my memory is so long and so don’t worry about just putting it into bullet form.  I’ll be back in Milwaukee in September!  Got to visit the family!

 Sincerely,
Cheryl Landry Johnson, Bay View Class of ‘62



Milwaukee made history with the following events:
The first pro baseball game in 1869
The first pro football game in 1895
The first pro basketball game in 1896
And the first women’s professional basketball game with the Milwaukee “Does” facing the
Chicago Hustle at the Milwaukee arena on December 9, 1978. That first game drew 7,824 fans.
Due to the lack of a television contract along with the view that the country was not ready for that entertainment venue at that time, the women’s professional basketball league –the:”WBL” was forced to shut down after two years.
The current women’s basketball league---being partially sponsored by the NBA and the television networks—has been very successful and--i believe--will continue to prosper. The “Does” were just 20 years premature.
Chuck Bekos
Former public relations director
The Milwaukee “Does”

Mitchell Street Memories
I grew up on the famed downtown "Mitchell Street". Every night the red "Schuster's" sign would light up the sky, flashing it's electric lights.  The "Grand" was the place to go for elegant clothing for women and  the exclusive children's clothing sporting manes such as "Good Lad," "Polly Flanders," Margaret O'Brien," "Rothchild," and of course "Shirley Temple." Goldmann's' and Hills, the Woolworth and Kinney's shoe store.  If one was looking for specialty food, the was South Side Sausage store and Kohlmann"s bakery.  Mitchell street was a friendly place where everyone knew everyone. Children were welcome and spoken to, and smiled at, for just being "a kid."  My mother worked at "Dixie " restaurant, open 24 hours, as a waitress.  Visiting her often led to sharing time with other waitress's in a booth while they enjoyed "a break."  Of course, a kid had to have a grilled cheese and chocolate milk to be part of the crowd!!!  Roger's jewelry was the only place for sparkling rings and necklaces, and who could forget Kunzelmann-Esser for the most beautiful furniture in town.  Churches and taverns were abundant, one on every corner.  Oh, those great tasting sea-crabs in the summer time when the juice ran down your arms as you bit into one of the legs!!!  Mitchell street was great!!  Hollwicks coffee cakes, Joe's meat market, Emma's little corner store on 10th. and Maple Street, and who could forget the lines at Graven's Bakery  in the summer at 9 P.M?  That was a great time, late 40's, early 50's.  Nan Markowski
 

Thanks for the memories
Great site!  Thanks for the memories.  Here are a few more.....I grew up on the North side by Hampton and Sherman.  Used to walk to Dutchland Dairy and Winkies.  Went ice-skating at Wahl Park and played under the bridge by Lincoln Creek.   Hups Pizza is still the best place for pizza in all of Milwaukee.  Remember when Zarders was just a drive thru and the waitresses came to the car?  Remember Georges Pub (before it burned)?   And last but not least.....25 cent drinks at the Attic West on Thursday nights!    

The Tastes and Smells of Milwaukee

I love this site! I am 45 and grew in Milwaukee in the 70’s and lived in Bay View. I remember candy raisins. I have two sons who love them. My dad still lives there and brings my kids a big bag of candy raisins. They call them rubber raisins! Whose knows why!

I remember George Webb and those pancakes. My brothers had Milwaukee journals routes and after delivering the huge Sunday paper we would gorge ourselves on George Webb pancakes at 3 or 4 in the morning!

Remember the Aquarium where you could go swimming for $1.00. Or Wilson park for skating, or Washington park band shells where they had plays in the summer.-(my brother performed in the King and I there).

I remember Ninos (great steaks?) Captain’s cheese fondue and Al’s custard, Dino’s pizza (I was a waitress there) And going to Dutchland Dairy with my Grandpa. We always got something special from the big bubble gum machines.

I remember seeing my first Disney movies at the Avalon.  Or my first dates at the Southgate theaters. Going to the drive in with the whole family with lots of blankets! Are there any drive-in’s left in the state?

I remember the South Shore Water Frolics, Miss St Francis and spending lots of summers on Lake Michigan even when it smelled awful.

My dad worked for Bert’s Beer Depot. He delivers beer, brandy and soda every Saturday. Can you believe people would order a case of beer or brandy ever week! Sometimes he would bring a case of Bears soda in every flavor.

My dad worked for Allen Bradley. When I was a kid they had huge Christmas parties for the kids. I can still smell that factory and see those huge freight elevators. We would watch cartoons on the big screen and play in large playground they set in the pool room. They gave each kid a potato sack of candy and many prizes. One year every kid got a Timex watch! 

I still crave real “hard rolls” and hot ham, and crawlers. )sp?) (I have searched for crawlers everywhere and only can find them in Milwaukee). When I come to Milwaukee I love the smell of yeast near Marquette. The smells and tastes of Milwaukee will be with me always.
 Kristi-Marshfield W
 


A Milwaukee Cruller
 

Remembers the “green bus”
Sure enjoyed reading the many historical memories of
Milwaukee, but surprised that so much was written by the “younger set”.  Those of us who were born in the 30’s can remember street cars running on Farwell Ave., and the “car barn” near North Ave. and Farwell Ave. where you changed cars to go up Oakland Ave. to Shorewood.  Oh yes, and nearby was the “special” bus line called the “green bus line” which traveled from Maryland Ave. and Edgewood, down Maryland Ave., Prospect Ave., Wisconsin Ave., Highland Blvd., 39th St., and out Sherman Blvd. all the way to Capital Drive.  A weekly pass for the “green bus” cost $1.25, whereas any other bus or street car pass was only $1.00.  Some of us remember when Kohl’s was a single grocery store around 37th and Vliet Streets.  And I graduated from Washington High School with Delores Kohl and a young man named Jerry Silberman.  When he went West to start his career in Hollywood he changed his name to Gene Wilder.  And speaking of the Kohl family, a young Herbert Kohl graduated from Washington High in 1952 with my wife, whose Father owned a drugstore on 24th Place and North Ave. called Schoenleber’s Pharmacy. It had a fountain and served the best hot fudge sundae around.  Across the street was Northwestern Ford, and on another corner was La Duca Bros. accordion studio.

Another Ford dealership located was located at the corner of Prospect and North and was owned by a man named Selig.  His son, who also graduated from Washington High School in 1952 with my wife later developed such an interest and love for baseball, that he eventually became Commissioner.

The big department store in Milwaukee during the 40’s and 50’s was Shuster’s.  How about the baseball team that preceeded the Milwaukee Brewers as we know them today, (and for that matter, the Milwaukee Braves who preceeded them).  They were the Milwaukee Brewers, a AAA team that played out of Borchardt Field that was located around 8th and Chambers.  One night during a tremendous thunderstorm, the whole roof blew off the stands.  Some of us remember starting our college careers at what was known as the University of Wisconsin- Extension Division.  It was located between 5th & 6th streets, Kilbourn and State streets.  Classes were held in a couple of Quonset Huts and the buildings were heated with radiators with a hole in the wall behind them that circulated the heat around the room.  My undergraduate degree, earned in 1961, came from the University of Wisconsin, not UWM, as they weren’t granting their own degrees yet.  (In fact, an MBA ,awarded in 1969, also came from the University of Wisconsin, as UWM was not accredited for granting Graduate Degrees).  UWM has sure come a long way from its start as Downer College, primarily a teachers college.

Then there the period when the brewing industry was the biggest employer in town.  Yes, Allis Chalmers was out in West Allis, Allen-Bradley was down on Kinnickinnic Ave., the Falk Corp. was under the 27th St. viaduct, but what was really important to the economy was the brewing industry, with Schlitz, Pabst., Blatz, and Miller all booming.  (During the 50’s Schlitz was a close 2nd in sales to Budweiser and Miller ranked way down the line).  You could go to Hooligan’s Bar on Fond Du Lac Ave. and Center streets and have a beer and a brandy “side car” for 25 cents.  Ah, Milwaukee, what a great place to have been born, raised, and educated.  Fortunately, we’re going to get another chance to visit the old home town during the month of May, 2006, and we’re sure there will be a lot of changes from our previous visit.  But after a few years in beautiful Minneapolis, and now 33 years in Northern California, it’s hard to think about returning permanently to the old roots.


Green Bus 916      Visit The Transport Company Web Station

Back in those days:
You might see the sign at the curb: “No Parking..Coal Delivery”
Watch the horse drawn Luick Milk Man making his rounds
At noon, tune in WTMJ to see “Hinnie and the Grenadiers”
Go to the Riverside Roller Rink and enjoy the organ music to skate to
Spend Saturday afternoon at a Ten Cent movie to catch up on all the serials (Buck Rogers, Tom Mix, etc.)
Go to Auer Ave. School’s Saturday Night Dances with live school age bands
See a kid heading home with the 10 cent pale of beer for Gramps
Walking to school on top of the snow banks plowed up along the curbs
The State Fair where you could see butter sculptures and eat “brats” and funnel cakes
See horse drawn “junk wagons” going down alley ways buying junk, rags, paper
See Ohmar Bakery van selling fresh bread and pastries
Coming home from school you had to be “good” or your actions were reported to your mother before you got home. Or if you were older, might even had stopped by “Dirty Helen’s Bar” where she only severed from one bottle at a time
Calling a drinking fountain a “bubbler” on board a Navy ship brought laughter and draw out several Milwaukee boys to form a Sheepheads card club!
Those were the days.
Bob Foiles


 I was born in Milwaukee in 1948.
The memories I recall we boating in the lagoon of Kosciuszko Park and swimming in that wonderful pool where I first learned to swim. I remember the polka concerts at the Southgate Malls, as well as the Polka music which was played every week at Muskego Beach and Arcadian Park. I remember visiting the Pal-o-mar roller skating rink located across from Southgate.
I recall shopping at Robert Hall where the slogan was "Where the values go up, up, up and the prices go down, down, down, Robert Hall this season, will show you the reason, low overhead, low overhead. I frequently remember shopping with my mother at Hills Dept. store and then going to Ben Franklin for a ham salad sandwich and that wonderful neopolitan ice cream sandwich they were noted for.
I recall the Mitchell Recreation Bowling Alley as well as the Down And Under bowling alley. Eating at the Butter Bun downtown was always a superb treat for me. I recall the various small sweet shops in town where you could purchase a double dip ice cream cone for 10¢ and that was with jimmies on top. You could spend one nickel and come home with a small bag of candy. What great wonderful memories I will cherish in my heart forever.
I now reside in Mesa, Arizona where the climate is much warmer, yet the sunrises and sunsets are truly breathtaking. We often visit Milwaukee because our children still reside there. Milwaukee was a wonderful place to grow up but some of us need a warmer climate when we grow older.
Oh my gosh, I wonder how many people remember "Breakfast With Santa"? Concertina Millie, Beverly White/Persa and myself used to play those shows dressed up in Elf's costumes. We were hired by Boston Store and played approximately two hours every morning before Santa would arrive.
Barb Krainz
Keep A Song In Your Heart
Peace Starts With A Smile

Hinky-Dinky
Hi ... I'm 76 yr's old and still remember the "Hinky-Dinky" trolley
car.  You had to climb many wooden
stairs up the hill on S. 6th and W. Oklahoma Ave. & for 5 cents got a
ride all the way to downtown.
Also remember the sweet shops on 8th and W. Lincoln Ave., and 10th &
Lincoln where you bought hand-packed ice cream and their "Chop Suey
flavoring " which was incredible.  First job was at
Schuster's on 11th & Mitchell, selling yard goods at age 16.  Working in
same dept., was my husband's
first wife...I stood for their wedding.  Thanks for the memories. 

Lu Mikols


Hinky-Dinky was the austere little streetcar that ran down 5th street in Milwaukee on the North Shore Line tracks.  After switching the trolley and flipping all the seats to face forward, the car will go back north down 2nd to Wells and up to 5th. Then it will head south back across Wisconsin Ave and up the Clybourn St. hill to cross the valley on the 6th street viaduct and head out to Oklahoma Ave. terminus.

Just a quickie...
 
When I was a kid (or WIWAK, as this site should coin the phase) I remember coming to Milwaukee from Fort Atkinson to go "big shopping," i.e. to department stores and shopping centers we just didn't have in Fort. ("Carload" Colders, Nelson Brothers, Capitol Court...)
 
Well, one of the big thrills for me -- this is circa 1969 -- was seeing a VW Bug high atop a sign post somewhere on Highway 100 (?)
 
Perhaps this was a VW dealership or a sign for a car wash. It may have even rotated. My memory of this is vague and needs to be re-sharpened. (I HATE losing memories from "WIWAK!")
 
Whatever it was, we HAD to drive by it (at my insistance) even if we weren't doing any "big shopping" in that area.
 
ME (age 6): "We're going to Milwaukee? Are we gonna go past the Volkswagen in the sky?" (with diamonds?)
 
Can you help me fill in the blank as to what that sign stood for? It seems like it was there for years and years, even into my early adulthood. (Editors note : The VW was part of the signage at the Neptune car wash in West Allis)
 
Meanwhile, I'm only halfway through reading your site. I MUST return!
 
---TjH
"Gimbie and Ellie"
For just a minute or two can we go back just a little bit farther than the 50's and 60's and revisit the 30's and 40's?  Anyone  who was a kid in Milwaukee during those years will remember "Billie the Brownie" and "Gimbie and Ellie".  These late afternoon Christmas shows brought the kids inside at dark.  Billie the Brownie was Schuster's kid's preChristmas show...on radio station WTMJ while Gimbie and Ellie was Gimbel's competition to Billie. There was that Magic Story book.....where at the end of each show we were left in suspense to see what would happen next....but....the next night...the book would not open....unless anyone who had been naughty faced the radio and said "I'm sorry".  All over Milwaukee little kids stood in front of their radios...saying those words....and suddenly...the chimes sounded and the book opened......and each one of us was certain that we had made the book open.
 
Gimbie and Ellie traveled to Milwaukee in their air balloon each Christmas season.....and told us of their adventures from years past.  Sure kept us glued to WISN each night.  They brought with them all their animal friends...and by making a trip to Gimbels toyland we could actually see the live circus.
 
Christmas truly was magic back then.
 
Dick  Simeth
Retro-Tosa?
I was born  and raised in Wauwatosa.  Washington grade school, St Bernards.  Tosa High.  No one has mentioned Paulus drug store where I worked after school, also its rival across the street, Keenans which was the real cool place to hang out in the village. They had individual juke boxes in the booths!   Did you ever take the 5:25 train from Down Town all the way to Tosa?  Such excitement! Gilles Custard was the best after the Milk Jug.  Thanks for the memories.  Mary Ann
MPS Teacher Remembers..
How about the weather light on top of the gas company. It changed colors and if it was flashing it meant rain or snow. Cathedral Square,  Maria's Pizza, Serb Hall fish fries, St Rita's street festivals on Cass St.,Marquette Homecoming parades down Wisconsin Ave., Cream Puffs at the fair. I grew up in Milwaukee and taught in Milwaukee Public Schools for 30 years am retired and live in Las Vegas now.  Thanks for this great web site.
 
Zimmy
Fun site! 
Fun site!  Thanks!  I was born in Milwaukee in 1945 at St. Joseph's hospital.  Known for years as "the baby hospital" in Milwaukee.  I went to W.T. Sherman School.  I remember walking to and from school and actually going home for lunch!  We played a silly game on the playground where we kicked a heel, from Tom's Shoe Repair Store on 54th and Center, back and forth and tried to get it past the opposing team.  I remember girls had to play on one side of the playground and boys on the other!  I remember when the Girl Scout Cookies were made in Milwaukee, can't remember the name of the big bakery, but it was maybe on National Ave?  Those cookies were wonderful!  Sue S-H  Editors Note: The wonderful, big sugar cookies were made by Johnston. Link to Johnston cookie commercial
Polish Flat / Porth Pies
 Living in Jackson Wis now, but I was born and bread in Suds City.
I was born at 1523 N. 17th street in a Polish Flat. Does anyone remember what that was? Well for those of you with short memories the house was built where the first floor was half in and half out of the basement. Alot of these were built on the South Side.
Our house was a dump, but for $17.00 dollars a month what could you expect. The unique thing about our lot was we had an all cement block garage in the back (or on the alley) The garage was for three cars and had a basement. It used to be a Speak Easy during probition. 
One thing I remember was the gift from Santa at Schusters. If your parents had a quarter you could sit on Santa's lap and get a gift.  How about those Malted Cones from Schusters. Wow!
After the Santa parade the Reindeer where sheltered at the 12th Street Schusters parking lot.
 Anyone go to Siefert School? Siefert was the Hub of the neighborhood. A fantastic Social Center. You could learn paint, model clay, learn music, learn to speak English to become a citizen, Learn to make ash trays out of tin cans. The school and playground took up a complete city block.
There was a girls and boys side. The boy side had three baseball diamonds, Basket ball court, horseshoe courts, Marble courts (anyone remember marbles>) around the edges there were swing sets, monkey bars (Now they're gym bars) and in-between a huge in ground sandbox and a Kiddie pool for summer use.  How about the Street Crossing Cadets with their egg shaped yellow badges with the Black X in the middle. Great place with many memories.  Those Corner grocery stores just about on every corner in the neighborhood. All that penny candy. How about Mexican Jumping Beans for a penny. Later they made them out of plastic. I was a Journal Newsboy (paperboy) My route was across the street from Siefert School. We got our papers at the distribution center on 14th and Walnut (W-2) Right next to the Wisconsin Ice & Coal plant. We all ran over there during the summer and grabbed all the chipped ice we could carry until we were chased away.
Then the Porth Pie Company on 15th between Vielt and Cherry Street. Right behind the Colonial Theater. If you knew the guys working there, they might give you some broken pies, which were great.
Horses, horses and horses. The milkman delivered his milk with a horse drawn wagon. The Garbage men had teams of horses. The junk peddlers came by with a horse drawn wagon. We had three horse barns in the block next to us.
 Hey, how about Spudnuts. They sure took over the town and almost disappeared as fast.
Gracie's Sweet shop on 20th and Vielt. A small bag of broken potato chips cost a nickel. But don't hold it to close to your shirt. In less than a minute you would have a large grease spot. But those greasy chips were so, so good.
The Liberty and Violet movie house on Vielt. Western night for .10, 12 and 15 cents you could see three westerns with real cowboys. Bob Steele, John Wayne, The Three Mesquiteers, Johnny MacBrown, Tom Mix, Hopalong Cassidy, Wild Bill Elliot, Red Ryder & Little Beaver none of those sissy singing cowboys like Gene Autry or Roy Rogers.
The Christmas parties thrown by our Insurance company. Every Kid got a Christmas stocking (one orange, one apple, box of Cracker Jacks and the rest stuffed with peanuts. That's if you could sit through a performance of the same Magician for the last five years.
A few mentioned Snirkle Bars. Well the Giant Bar is long gone too, along with the Hollaway all day suckers.
They had a sweet shop on Vielt street that sold oblong ice-cream cones. They cut a pint in half diagonally. It cost a penny or two more, but I guess it was worth it.
Those Green River phosphates served in the drug stores.
A year ago someone asked me what those funny things that were on a PT Crusier. I told him if he was fifty years older her would know what "Fender Skirts" were.
I kid could go to the corner grocery store and charge the families groceries. They might carry you for a couple of weeks if you were short. I can't see our modern super markets giving us credit.
Well it's been a short Seventy-Two years and my mind is still functioning enough to enjoy all the memories the others have contributed. Keep up the good work guys.
                      J.W.E.  Jackson Wisconsin

.
A Porth Pie Tin

Speaking of Horse drawn milk wagon's!
Here is Mr. Schiek who was my Aunt Sylvia's father. My father ran the Surges Butter and Egg business and also had a horse drawn wagon. The horse knew just which houses to stop at.
 John Surges
I have many memories growing up on 29th and Lincoln.
 Attending U.S. Grant St. School and Holy Ghost school. Then on to one year at Walker Jr. high before going to Pulaski. Most lunches were spent at Southgate Mall or at Leons for "two ketch and one up chocolate". In my younger days, Paul's hamburgers on 27th and Forest Home was popular too! After high school a group of us formed the Nostalgic Car Club which is still around today. I remember the bowling alleys on Forest Home ave and Pinkeys on 27th and Oklahoma. Drews department store and Arlans on 33rd and Forest Home. I worked at Jackson Park Car wash for a $1 per hour. We would always head to Hales Corners Speedway on Sat. nights and hit Webbs on the way home! It sure was a great place to grow up. Below is a photograph of my Great Grandfather Gottfried Schloemer and what is believed to be the first gas powered car in Milwaukee. I heard plenty of stories during my childhood about this car. You can still see it in the Milwaukee Public Museum's "Streets of Old Milwaukee"   John Surges, Milwaukee, WI.

 

 

On to Page 5 of Memories

Back to Page 3 of Memories

Back to Retro-Milwaukee Home Page

Send us your Milwaukee Memories from the 50's, 60's and 70's