offense to Solomon Juneau, Byron Kilbourn and the rest of the gang,
but their stories aren’t the only ones worth repeating in this town.
A lot has happened since those guys staged the Bridge Wars that
settled Milwaukee. In fact, some really big things have taken place in
the last 40 years alone. We’ve chronicled the 42 biggest news,
sports and cultural moments over the last four decades, dating back to
A New City Symbol
Petullo, Milwaukee Art Museum trustee
Milwaukee in 1968 in my late 20s, I noticed right away that the people
of Milwaukee are extremely generous with their time and their
resources. It didn’t take long for me to absorb and be inspired by
the civic pride that to me defines this great city. And the Santiago
Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion addition to the Milwaukee Art
Museum is a marvelous example of the people of Milwaukee coming
together to get things done.
In January 1994,
the Milwaukee Art Museum announced a $1 million gift from
Milwaukee-born philanthropist and art collector Walter H. Annenberg.
Our own noted entrepreneur, art collector and Milwaukee Art Museum
trustee and donor Richard B. Flagg had flown to California to
encourage Annenberg to make the gift that would become the initial
seed money for the planning and development of the much-needed museum
Thus began my
journey in this incredible story.
In 1999, during
the construction of the Quadracci Pavilion, museum trustee and
volunteer committees were established. As a trustee, I was asked to
chair the marketing committee, whose goal it was to create excitement
about the museum expansion. We promised the community that the
Calatrava addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum would be an
international architectural destination, bringing tourists and
attention and expanding the city’s potential. The new addition would
enhance Milwaukee’s lakefront, and be a great source of civic pride.
marketing directors from several major Milwaukee corporations, who all
enthusiastically agreed to help. We spoke to community and civic
groups, along with museum staff, and made visual presentations of the
finished construction. Our publicly stated objective was to make the
Quadracci Pavilion the new symbol of the city of Milwaukee, replacing
Milwaukee’s outdated and clichéd national image. Together, we
worked to see this vision through, and it was inspiring to see so many
business and community leaders rally around a single goal.
Ten years after
the museum’s October 2001 grand opening, I think the goal has been
achieved. Visitors have come from every state and dozens of foreign
countries to see this remarkable, soaring masterpiece. But the most
important visitors, in my mind, are the citizens of our own community,
many of whom have never visited the museum before.
Finally, a most
remarkable thing has happened: The museum has become a meeting place
for Milwaukeeans to bring out-of-town visitors, friends and family to
gather in awe and wonder, and a place where our local businesses,
civic groups, chambers of commerce and arts organizations want to host
events or hold performances. All of Milwaukee is taking ownership of
this defining attraction, because as a community, we take pride in it.
It is our community’s greatest treasure.
Milwaukee is now
viewed as the city with a truly great 21st century work of art — the
Milwaukee Art Museum. I’m proud to have been a part of its creation,
and continue to be in awe at its beauty and brilliance.
In the Land
In a way, it
doesn’t make a whole lot of sense: how did the Dairy State, known
for putting out internationally acclaimed artisan cheeses, end up with
this moniker — a cheese-wedge hat made of foam?
We can thank
Illinoisans for birthing the term "cheesehead," as a
derogatory (or so they say; there are worse things to be called than
fromage, yes?) term for fans of Wisconsin professional sports teams.
Ralph Bruno spun
the term on its head and made the first-ever Cheesehead hat out of
foam pieces removed from his mother’s couch. The very-homemade hat
made its first appearance in 1987 at a Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago
White Sox game. More slick versions were debuted by Bruno shortly
after. Since their debut, the hats have been conceptualized and
administered out of a tiny office — run by Bruno’s company,
Foamation Inc. — on Packard Avenue in St. Francis, just a few blocks
in from Lake Michigan.
And who knew
cheese could be so controversial? According to ABC News, Foamation
Inc. recently threatened legal action if a billboard was erected
featuring The Grim Reaper sporting a Cheesehead, with the words,
"Warning: Cheese Can Sack Your Health. Fat. Cholesterol.
Sodium." Today, after painting over the Cheesehead with black and
gray paint, the sign is now up along Highway 41 in De Pere. Something
tells me the legions of Packers fans in the stands at Lambeau Field,
proudly wearing the eponymous Cheesehead hats, are willing to take the
Just six weeks
after taking office in 2011, Gov. Scott Walker introduced a
controversial budget repair bill that called for public workers to
give up most bargaining rights and contribute more for health care and
pension costs. The governor said the move was necessary to address a
$137 million deficit in the state budget and a looming $3.6 billion
budget shortfall by 2013.
instantly polarized politicians and teachers statewide, with upwards
of 40,000 protestors flooding the Capitol over several weeks — by
far the largest demonstrations in the history of Madison, and possibly
the history of the state. The scope and intensity of the protests drew
national media attention.
of "disciplinary action" from MPS superintendent Gregory
Thornton, nearly 600 Milwaukee teachers staged a "sick-out"
in order to attend the demonstrations on Feb. 16, forcing the district
to cancel classes and shut down more than 200 city schools.
In an attempt to
delay passage of the bill, 14 Democratic state senators fled the state
— a ploy that left the Republicans without the three-fifths-present
quorum required to vote on bills.
After more than
three weeks of protests, Republicans pushed the budget repair bill
through the Assembly, and Walker signed the bill into law on March 11,
2011. Shortly after, Judge Maryann Sumi struck down the law, ruling it
was passed in violation of the Open Meetings Law. The Wisconsin
Supreme Court overturned that ruling on June 14.
controversial legislation led to recall elections against six
Republican state senators, including Alberta Darling of River Hills,
and three Democrat state senators. That recall campaign ultimately
failed with four of the six Republican incumbents defeating their
challengers in August 2011. In January, opponents of Scott Walker
filed the 1 million signatures needed to organize a recall election
against the governor.
1001 N. 4th St.
Year Built: 1988
Claim to Fame:
In addition to Milwaukee Bucks, Marquette Golden Eagles games and
Milwaukee Admirals games, the Bradley Center has played host to
countless other sporting events and notable concerts, such as Bruce
Springsteen and the E. Street Band and Billy Joel.
When the Bradley Center opened it was new, unique and state of the
art. My how things can change in a little over two decades. Now, by
NBA standards at least, the Bradley Center is considered a relic, an
outdated arena unable to generate the necessary revenue to help keep
the Bucks competitive. Bucks owner and U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl has floated
the idea of a publicly funded arena, but the idea of supporting
another professional franchise in a tough economy with public money is
not palatable to many.
While the future
of the Bradley Center and the Bucks hangs in the balance, the Golden
Eagles are enjoying the best of times. The Bradley Center, the college
launching pad of NBA All Star Dwyane Wade, plays host to many of the
top teams in Big East Conference basketball games.
Williams and the Golden Eagles are enjoying a tremendous season and
are poised for a run in the NCAA tournament.
Dahmer Case a Gruesome Discovery
By Anne E.
When I share the
events of the night of July 22, 1991, I am struck by how long ago it
seems in the retelling. No cell phones. No Internet. No instantaneous
social media. Just me, a note pad and quarters for a pay phone. The
whispered tip call to my home phone provided me the reporter’s dream
— the tip that leads to a story that becomes international news.
Remembering back to that night, the report of human remains of
multiple victims discovered in an apartment in the shadow of Marquette
University seemed incredulous.
When I pulled up
to Dahmer’s building, it clearly was not the crime scene to which I
was accustomed on my daily rounds on the police beat. There were few
onlookers and no other media there. Out front, a fire engine’s red
strobe lights pierced the darkness. I got inside the building and
eventually inside the apartment where the looks on the faces of the
responding officers told the story. From then on, I would spend months
and years telling their stories — and mine. I was told about the
gruesome discoveries, about the details that shocked those
investigators inured to crime. The details of Dahmer’s crimes would
become fodder for quickie books, TV movies and black humor among cops
and the community alike.In the wake of the sensational, was the
reality of life in the city of Milwaukee after the discovery of a
serial killer. Before the Dahmer case, the city suffered angst over
its association with "Laverne & Shirley," the fictional
brewery workers featured on a TV sitcom. Post-Dahmer, the angst
changed. He gave Milwaukee a kind of international acclaim no city
welcomes. If you lived here in the summer of 1991, you know that we
were all forced to look at ourselves and our attitudes about race and
sex. No one enjoyed the view.
As for the
biggest story I ever covered as a reporter, I continue to be amazed
when groups around the country ask me to come and share my experience
inside the case of Jeffrey Dahmer. I speak often to law enforcement
about how to deal with the media when the police have to message news
of a serial killer to their communities — something akin to being
the character in "Catch Me If You Can," where the former
bank forger ends up helping the FBI. I learned much covering the story
— at the hands of editors who taught me how to be a better reporter,
cops who taught me to be an investigator and victims’ family members
who taught me more than a thing or two about sensitivity.
The emotions of
the relatives of Dahmer’s victims are inestimable compared to the
emotions experienced by reporters or to those who simply lived in the
same city. But to varying degrees, all the participants in the case of
Jeffrey Dahmer were victims in some way, and we all carry the scars.
Schwartz is the spokesperson and communications director for the
Milwaukee Police Department and is the author of the book, "The
Man Who Could Not Kill Enough: The Secret Murders of Milwaukee’s
coaches Marquette to '77 NCAA Championship
University, the 1977 basketball season was not all "seashells and
balloons," the kaleidoscopic phrase used by poet/philosopher/head
coach Al McGuire to describe utopia.
"It was a
tough year for us. A lot of people doubted us," says Bo Ellis,
who started at power forward. "We got booed that year because
people weren’t used to losing all these games. I only lost 18 in the
four years that I played at Marquette. "
lost just twice the previous season, which ended with a loss to
Indiana in the Elite Eight.
though we lost seven games that year, all very close games, there was
no doubt in our minds how good we were," Ellis says. "Coach
McGuire never let us forget that."
magical times for Marquette, which during Ellis’ tenure reached the
national finals twice and the quarterfinals in three out of four
had great players, a lot of high school All-Americans," Ellis
recalls. "Every team that I played for at Marquette always felt
like we could win the national championship."
have to give credit to (assistant coaches) Hank Raymonds and Rick
Majerus in their preparation."
Al had a great working relationship. Al was the master of strategic
game management. Hank and Rick were the masters of game preparations.
We had a tremendous game plan for everyone we played."
billed himself as "an Einstein of the streets and an Oxford
scholar of common sense" knew which buttons to push or not to
push with his mixed bag of talent.
knew who he could holler at, who he could challenge, that was one of
his specialties," Ellis says. "Earl Tatum was a great player
but he would go into a shell if he got yelled at."
he could challenge Lloyd Walton because he wanted Lloyd to fight him
then turn on the rest of us to get it done," Ellis says.
qualified for the NCAA tournament, and after two close calls, a
one-point win over Kansas State in the second round and a
heart-stopping victory at the buzzer when Butch Lee threw a full court
pass to Jerome Whitehead who scored as time expired to lead MU over
UNC-Charlotte in the semifinals, Marquette faced Dean Smith’s
vaunted North Carolina Tarheels in the championship game.
Led by Lee’s
19 points and 14 apiece from Ellis and current Milwaukee Bucks
assistant coach Jim Boylan, Marquette won the championship game. For
one of the few times anyone can remember, McGuire, coaching his last
game (he had announced plans to retire the previous December) was
speechless, sitting alone on the bench, his face buried in his hands,
that moment more than I loved anything," Ellis says.
The team flew
back to Milwaukee from Atlanta later that night, arriving around 2
a.m. "People were wall to wall, from the gate all the way to
baggage claim," Ellis recalls.
Two days later,
there was a ticker-tape victory parade down Wisconsin Avenue from the
MU campus to the lakefront.
just great seeing the way the people in Milwaukee responded,"
Ellis says. "How happy they were at what we were able to
Mile Silenced; Wave is Saved; Mustangs Reincarnated
• Though its
future is in flux, the Milwaukee Mile captured a significant spot in
racing’s and Milwaukee’s sporting history. It all started in 1891
when the Agricultural Society of the state of Wisconsin purchased the
land to create a permanent site for the Wisconsin State Fair. Eight
years before the debut of the Indianapolis 500, the Mile played host
to racing events, giving claim to it being the oldest, continually
operating motor speedway in the country. As the decades progressed —
from 1947 through 1980 — the Mile was the site of more national
championship midget, stock and Indy car races than any other track in
the nation. In 1984, NASCAR debuted at the Mile with what is now known
as the Busch Series.
Over the years,
legends of the sport such as Mario Andretti, Al Unser Sr., Bobby Rahal,
Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., A.J. Foyt, and Alan Kulwicki started
their engines at the Mile.
In the latter
part of the 2000s, the Mile fell on tough times. There were no major
races at the track in 2010. IndyCar returned in 2011 but the race was
not well attended. Still, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard remains committed
to doing his best to bring IndyCar back to the Mile.
• The fan and
family friendly Milwaukee Wave has carved out a unique niche in the
city’s sports scene during the last 28 years. Its viability, though,
was in grave doubt in 2009 with an owner looking to sell and no league
to play in. Fortunately for Milwaukee area indoor soccer fans, Jim
Lindenberg stepped to the plate to buy the team and the Wave found a
new home in the National Indoor Soccer League.
Under the rock
of the franchise – longtime coach and vice president of soccer
operations Keith Tozer — the Wave advanced to the championship game
in the 2009-2010 season. The next year, the Wave captured the fifth
championship in franchise history.
The Wave has won
more than 500 games and drawn more than 3 million fans. The Wave plans
to continue winning games and connecting with its fans — on and off
Milwaukee Mustangs didn’t win a game in its first season and still
drew crowds of more than 10,000 per game. For some, the Mustangs
helped fill the gap left by the Green Bay Packers, who stopped playing
in Milwaukee that same year, 1994. The Mustangs quickly developed a
loyal fan base and the team and Arena Football League grew in
popularity. In 1996, the Mustangs led the Arena Football League in
But in 2001 the
ride came to an abrupt end. The franchise lost the confidence of the
AFL and the league elected to fold the team.
without indoor football until 2009 when the new Milwaukee Iron joined
Af2, the AFL’s developmental league. In 2011, the team joined the
AFL and rebranded itself as the Milwaukee Mustangs. Preparations for
the 2012 season are in full swing with the first home game scheduled
for March 29.
Tale of Two
Walking in to
Sally’s Steak House in the Knickerbocker Hotel in the 1970s and ’80s,
patrons never knew who they would might be rubbing elbows with:
gangster, cop or celebrity. But perhaps the most famous of all was
Sally’s owner, Sally Papia, who was legendary for her associations
and for the exacting manner in which she ran the restaurant.
Milwaukee-born Papia once described herself as famous, tough,
mysterious and notorious and, indeed, she was all those things.
Milwaukeeans ate up Papia’s exploits, from entertaining Milwaukee’s
organized crime bosses, to her personal troubles with the law.
In her lifetime,
she reportedly had been beaten, threatened, shot at, provided police
protection and prosecuted. She was known to have dated a banker, a
cop, an attorney and a leading Chicago mobster.
convicted of extortion in 1975 after threatening bodily harm to a
former chef who allegedly owed her money. In 1989 she was convicted on
federal charges of making illegal payments to a union so it would not
organize her employees. According to a news story, before heading to
federal prison, she said: "I’m far from being the Blessed
Virgin Mother, but I never did anything to hurt anybody."
Papia was also
involved in a long, public legal battle with her daughter, Candy, over
control of the restaurant, which Papia lost. From 1994 to 1998 she ran
Sally’s Meat ’N Place in Stone Bank and later opened the Savoy
Room in the Shorecrest Hotel in 2003, which she ran until she and her
daughter both died in a car accident in 2005.
144 E. Wells St.
1895, and restored in 2001
Claim to Fame:
In the early 20th century, it was home to one of the most accomplished
German stage companies west of Berlin. A chandelier made of Austrian
crystal hangs in the auditorium.
Built by brewing magnate Capt. Frederick Pabst in the tradition of a
European opera house, the Pabst Theater earned National Historic
Landmark status in 1991. Philanthropist Michael Cudahy, who donated $1
million to the renovation, ended up buying the theater from the city
for $1. Today, the Pabst Theater is a centerpiece of Milwaukee’s
downtown entertainment district.
original plaster work inside is a craft and form that you don’t see
in contemporary buildings," Thomson says. ""There is a
temptation to think of something (old) as something you can discard,
but it was so significant that it was restored to its original
miles, it connects I-794 to downtown
Construction began in 1970 but did not open until 1977
During its arduous, delayed construction, it was the original
"Bridge to Nowhere." Seven years elapsed between
construction and the opening, in part because of public concern about
the planned county freeway system. Once the bridge finally opened, it
has played a vital role in the city’s history. "It had a big
impact on the South Shore community and Bay View especially,"
Milwaukee historian John Gurda says. In 2000, the bridge partially
called the Harbor Bridge, the name was changed to honor one of
Milwaukee’s longest-tenured mayors. Given its Milwaukee ties, it is
ironic that it is featured in "The Blues Brothers," a movie
synonymous with Chicago.
East Side was rocked on April 24, 1988, when an arson fire claimed
Century Hall, 2340 N. Farwell Ave. The club was much more than a venue
for stellar live music by local and regional bands, some on their way
up, and national acts, often on their way back down. It was a
100-year-old East Side gathering spot, where just about everybody felt
at home. The only suspect in the arson died of an apparent suicide
suspected in a fire that destroyed Pizza Man, another East Side icon,
on Jan. 19, 2010. About 150 firefighters battled the four-alarm blaze
throughout the early morning hours at the popular spot on the corner
of Oakland and North as horrified neighbors looked on. The Cush
Lounge, Grecian Delight restaurant and Black and White Café, also
located in the building, were lost in the fire. Residents of the
upstairs apartments managed to escape unharmed, but several
firefighters were injured. In May 2011, a federal grand jury indicted
the owner of the Black and White Café on arson charges, to which he
pleaded not guilty.
brothers horsing around with a military grade flare on July 5, 2009,
were subsequently convicted of starting a $50 million fire at the
Patrick Cudahy meat packing plant. The flare, which landed on the
plant’s roof, sparked a massive three-day inferno, the largest
single-structure blaze in state history. At the height of the fire,
Cudahy officials issued a mandatory evacuation order for nearby
residents, as they feared ammonia vapors could escape from the plant
and put neighbors in danger. When the smoke cleared, a 270,000-foot
section of the plant had been destroyed and 600 workers had
temporarily lost their jobs.
Kurtis Popp, who apologized for accidentally causing the fire, were
sentenced to three months in jail, three years probation and 500 hours
of community service. The jail sentences were ordered to be served
during the month of July for three years.
football had a heck of a run at the old Milwaukee County Stadium. From
1953 through 1994, the Green Bay Packers played two or three regular
season games in Milwaukee each year, compiling a 76-47-3 record. The
Ice Bowl, one of the most famous days in NFL history, is the game
everyone remembers from 1967. But the Packers would have been out of
the playoffs if they had not defeated the Los Angeles Rams the week
before — in Milwaukee. It was the only time the Packers played host
to a playoff game at County Stadium. In fact, County Stadium was the
only NFL venue where both teams occupied the same sideline, with just
a piece of tape for separation.
The last game in
Milwaukee, on Dec. 18, 1994, was punctuated by Brett Favre’s
dramatic touchdown run in the final seconds that kept the team’s
playoff hopes alive. As the snow started to fall, there was a palpable
sense among the spectators that they had just witnessed history.
run proved to be cathartic for Packers fans upset that the team would
play all its home games at Lambeau Field. "A lot of concern was
washed away into elation and emotion after Brett scored that
touchdown," said the late Jim Irwin, the former longtime
"Voice of the Packers."
ticket holders were offered one preseason game and two regular season
games at Lambeau Field. For many of these fans, this proved to be
their first opportunity to take part in the game-day festivities in
the NFL’s smallest city with the most rabid fan base.
people long for the old days when the Packers still played in
Milwaukee, the Lambeau Field compromise proved much better for area
season ticket holders than the alternative. At the end of 2011, if you
applied for season tickets, you would have to take your place behind
Year for the Milwaukee Bucks
As told to Mark
We felt from the
very beginning when we went to camp because they made the trade for
Oscar, (guard Oscar Robertson) we believed we were the next champions.
It’s like the
star was on us. And we all knew it. We just believed this was our
year. Getting Oscar put us over the top. We had two of the 10 greatest
players ever. I think we just knew. We won 52 games the year before
when Kareem had joined us. We went from an expansion team winning 27.
When Kareem joined us we went to 52 and we get Oscar and we felt we
had the other pieces. We had really good role players in me and Bobby
(forward Bobby Dandridge) and Greg Smith.
Oscar was like
the maestro and would orchestrate the game. He could do everything,
made everybody better and made us a championship team. Would we have
won a championship without Oscar? No, I don’t think so.
Every game, we
just dominated. The championship year, we won our first game and lost
the next game. And then we won 15 straight. Then later at the end of
the year, we ran 20 straight. We only won one of our last six games
because Larry (head coach Larry Costello) stopped playing the
starters, he started resting us. When the Bulls won 70 and I did that
game, I remember thinking we could have won 70 or 71 easily.
You have to give
Larry a lot of credit. What he really worked hard at all the years I
played with him, for a guy who was a great defensive player, he really
worked on offense. We would have additional plays, add-ons to plays to
get the ball to Kareem. And we were a good defensive team and you had
Kareem, our 7-footer in there to block shots. That’s your defensive
anchor. Larry really perfected the offensive scheme to mostly get the
ball to Kareem but to get everybody at their best offensively.
It was wonderful
to be in a profession that you’ve done your entire life and having
it be that significant and noteworthy and important. It was great fun.
I think it caught this entire state by surprise also. It came so
quickly. They have an expansion team and three years later they have a
championship. Everybody got caught up in it. Everybody enjoyed it.
And I think that
was demonstrated when we won the championship in Baltimore and came
back to Milwaukee the next day. We didn’t fly charter flights in
those days. I’ve heard estimates of 10,000 people at the airport.
There were a lot of people that just unorganized, came out to see us.
The police were there. It took four policemen to get me to the car.
People responded wonderfully. It was tremendous.
I’m just so
proud I was part of it. It’s been a blessing and privilege and for
me to be with the Bucks every year and go in there every night and see
that championship banner. It’s very special.
Embattled by Sex-Abuse Scandals
of widespread child sex abuse within the Catholic church came to light
in the early 2000s, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee found itself deeply
mired in the national scandal. At the center of the Milwaukee
archdiocese’s troubles was former archbishop Rembert Weakland, who
was accused of failing to report clergy sex abuse.
testimony by victims before a combined session of the Wisconsin state
Senate and Assembly Judiciary Committee in 2003, a detailed report
revealed that allegations of sexual assault against minors had been
made against 58 ordained men who were directly supervised by Weakland.
In a 1993
deposition made public in 2002, Weakland admitted to failing to stop
sexually abusive priests, routinely shredding copies of weekly reports
about ongoing problem priests and returning guilty priests to active
duties without alerting parishioners or police. The revelations rocked
the Milwaukee archdiocese, which Weakland had led since 1977.
facing more than 23 lawsuits brought by victims, the Milwaukee
archdiocese filed for bankruptcy. The decision came three weeks after
the archdiocese announced a breakdown in settlement talks with 24 men
and women who had been molested as children. Before declaring
bankruptcy in 2011, the archdiocese had paid out more than $29 million
to settle 200 cases from the last 20 years.
about his handling of clergy sex abuse in his 2010 memoir, "A
Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church: Memoirs of a Catholic Archbishop."
The book recounts Weakland’s life as a Benedictine monk, his
struggles with his own homosexuality and his public fall from grace in
down as archbishop in 2002, shortly after Paul Marcoux, a former
Marquette University theology student, revealed that he was paid
$450,000 to settle a sexual assault claim against the archbishop more
than two decades earlier. The money came from the archdiocese.
Last month more
than 550 people filed sex-abuse claims against the archdiocese at the
deadline to file as part of the archdiocese’s bankruptcy
builds on history
1970s, when Milwaukee’s Third Ward was a blend of tumble-down
warehouses and "Commission Row," a string of commission
houses that wholesaled produce to grocery stores, the area was almost
turned into the city’s "red light" district.
businesses stood together in opposition, however, and sparked an
interest in rejuvenating the traditionally Irish and Italian
neighborhood. Developers began to find new uses for empty warehouse
space, converting the old buildings into lofts, condos and artists’
Led by a
coalition of businesses, architects, preservationists and city
leaders, a 10-square-block area was designated "The Historic
Third Ward District" by the National Register of Historic places
in 1984. That became a catalyst for investors and entrepreneurs to
revitalize the Third Ward into a percolating creative, residential and
Commission Row on Broadway is now home to bustling hot spots like the
Wicked Hop and Smoke Shack restaurants, and Anthropologie and Lela
boutiques. The Milwaukee Public Market, Milwaukee Institute of Art
& Design, dozens of charming specialty shops, galleries, spas and
street festivals make the Historic Third Ward uniquely Milwaukee.
Deep tunnel a
In the 1970s,
Milwaukee sewers overflowed 50 to 60 times a year, threatening the
water quality of the city’s public waterways, including Lake
Michigan. During heavy rains, excess raw sewage mixed with storm water
poured into local waterways or backed up into basements and homes.
reduce water pollution in the city’s public water sources, the
Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District mounted a Water Pollution
Abatement Program in 1981 to increase the capacity of Milwaukee’s
sewage treatment system. The construction of underground storage
facilities to hold untreated sewage and storm water until it could be
treated and returned to the lake emerged as the most cost-effective
solution to reduce wastewater overflows.
With a $3
billion price tag, the Deep Tunnel is the most expensive public works
project in Milwaukee history. It took two years to design the original
Deep Tunnel and nine years to build the tunnel system, which was
carved out of bedrock 300 feet underground. Stretching 19.4 miles, the
Deep Tunnel went online in late 1993 with the capacity to hold 405
million gallons of wastewater.
phases completed in 2005 and 2010 added another 106 million gallons of
storage to the existing Deep Tunnel system, increasing the total
capacity to 521 million gallons. The Northwest Side Deep Tunnel
extends 7.1 miles and the 27th Street Deep Tunnel is 2 miles long.
criticism that the Deep Tunnel has not lived up to its expectation of
virtually eliminating sewer overflows, the radical water reclamation
solution has reduced sewage and wastewater spills to less than 450
million gallons per year. That’s 19 times less than the sewage that
annually spilled into Lake Michigan before construction of the Deep
German immigrants, Milwaukee’s big three breweries — Miller,
Schlitz and Pabst — made the city the "Beer Capital of the
World" in their heyday. But today, only Miller is rolling out the
barrels as a major Milwaukee brewer.
breweries date back to the mid-1800s and, in many ways, defined much
of the city’s character. Beer gardens and corner taverns, many owned
by the breweries, thrived throughout the city. Local cultural icons,
like the Pabst Theater, Pabst Mansion and the Schlitz Circus Parade,
were made possible by beer money. During the mid-1960s, the breweries
were among the top 10 in the world, employing thousands and putting
Milwaukee on the map.
itself "The Beer that Made Milwaukee Famous" and at one
point during the 1940s it was the leading beer in country, topping
rival Anheuser-Busch. In the early 1970s, Schlitz was expanding
production and growing its market share. Slight, successive changes in
the formula of its flagship brand, however, alienated customers and
damaged its reputation. By 1980, Pabst had taken over second place in
national beer sales. In June 1981, Schlitz closed its Milwaukee plant
and a year later the brand was purchased by Stroh’s Brewery.
In the 1980s,
the once-formidable Pabst brand began to decline as well. In 1985,
Paul Kalmanovitz of California-based S&P Co. bought the brewery
and began to talk about closing the Milwaukee plant and moving
production elsewhere. Some say Pabst drinkers switched brands in
By 1996, about
70 percent of the Pabst workforce had been laid off. The Milwaukee
plant was closed so abruptly in December 1996 that the remaining 200
workers didn’t have a chance to pack up the place. Pabst beer
production was farmed out to Stroh’s.
Today, Pabst is
a holding company owned by investor C. Dean Metropoulos, contracting
for the brewing of over 24 brands, including its own. Pabst beer is
enjoying a resurgence, and the Milwaukee Pabst complex was purchased
in 2006 by the late Joseph Zilber’s investment group, Brewery
Project LLC. The former brewery is being redeveloped into retail,
office and residential space in one of the city’s largest
In 2002, South
African Breweries bought Miller Brewing, creating SABMiller Plc. That
company, based in London, combined its U.S. operations with Coors
Brewing Co. and Miller Brewing in 2007, forming MillerCoors. Although
MillerCoors is headquartered in Chicago, the Milwaukee plant brews
nearly 10 million barrels of beer every year.
nothing Walt Disney-ish about Milwaukee’s own Bambi, even though she
could run like a deer. And run, run she did, tagged with the label of
"sweetheart murderess" throughout her short life.
"Bambi" Bembenek, also known as Laurie Bembenek, was
convicted of murdering her detective husband’s ex-wife, Christine
Schultz, in Milwaukee on May 28, 1981. Among the clues was a wig
stuffed into a toilet. The sordid story snared national attention,
especially after she escaped from Taycheedah Correctional Institution
and was recaptured in Canada with her boyfriend, Dominic Gugliatto.
episode was certainly a headline grabber, especially since Bembenek
was a former city cop who had been fired for filing a false report
about a friend’s marijuana use. Bembenek also worked briefly at the
Lake Geneva Playboy Club, a fact that really stoked up the media’s
engines. At the time of her arrest, she was working for Marquette
University’s Public Safety Department.
story inspired books and movies such as "Calendar Girl, Cop,
Killer? The Bambi Bembenek Story," a 1992 feature starring
Lindsay Frost; and the 1993 "Woman on Trial: The Lawrencia
Bembenek Story" with Tatum O’Neal.
on who actually killed Schultz. Was it her former husband, Fred
Schultz? Another person? Witnesses disagreed and police blunders in
the investigation were pointed out at her trial. Regardless, Bembenek
was convicted and sentenced, but went on to earn a bachelor’s degree
from UW-Parkside and helped found a prisoners’ newspaper during her
jail time. After prison, Bembenek wrote a book about her experience,
"Woman on Trial."
After her prison
escape and recapture, Bembenek reached a court deal in 1992, in which
she pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in return for a 20-year
sentence. Bembenek received credit for the decade she’d spent in
prison and was allowed to serve the remaining 10 years on probation.
She continually maintained her innocence and sought to have the
sentence overturned, but all her appeals were denied.
Bembenek moved to Washington state to be near her parents, who had
retired. While living there, she met and married U.S. Forest Service
employee Marty Carson, who built an artist studio for her therapy as
Bembenek’s health problems began to worsen.
Living in a
hospice in Portland, Bembenek died of liver cancer at age 52 on Nov.
20, 2010. Bambi’s running days were finally over.
Rise Under New Ownership
Attanasio bought the Brewers in 2005, the team was coming off its 12th
consecutive losing season and had the lowest payroll in Major League
Baseball. But Attanasio saw a lot of positives.
first and foremost, having this incredible ballpark that the fans
subsidized without which we cannot compete economically," says
Brewers chief operating officer Rick Schlesinger.
Mark would also say he inherited a good corps group of executives.
Doug Melvin was here. The ownership group that sold the team obviously
picked the right owner and left him with no bad long-term contracts,
great ballpark, great farm system and a solid nucleus of
And the new
owner trusted those executives.
really empowered us as an organization to reach levels of success that
we all wanted to get to," Schlesinger says. "He’s
empowered us with autonomy with financial resources with support and
of almost any area on the business side, Mark has given us every tool
we’ve needed to be successful and on the baseball side, giving Doug
the flexibility on payroll, has just really demonstrably improved the
near term and long term health of this franchise. He’s really been a
great model owner."
into baseball with a reputation as a brilliant businessman, running a
company that now manages $11 billion in investments.
"I think he
didn’t automatically assume that his success and his experience in
the investment banking field would necessarily mean he’d be an
expert in baseball," Schlesinger says.
on the people who had experience in the game and took time to be
deliberate, thoughtful, strategic and really then made his own imprint
on the franchise. Every significant business decision we’ve made has
provided consistent annual upgrades to Miller Park, including a $10
million scoreboard last season.
Growing up as an
avid Yankees fan, Attanasio lived in the Bronx not far from the home
of Yanks first baseman Joe Pepitone. He has competed in fantasy
baseball leagues and brings a fan’s perspective to the owner’s
box. He is a regular fixture in his seat next to the Brewers dugout.
"He has the
same passion for the game that I have," former Brewers owner and
current MLB commissioner Bud Selig told the New York Times. "He
lives and dies with each pitch."
for a much more enjoyable workplace if your owner is excited about the
team and doesn’t look at it as an investment," Schlesinger
says. "But looks at it as being a custodian or the trustee of a
jewel enterprise that in some respects is really the state of
The Brewers, now
with an annual payroll around $90 million, have made the playoffs
twice in the last four years, drawn 3 million fans three of the last
four years and jump-started by Attanasio and his wife Debbie’s $1
million donation in 2010, the Brewers Community Foundation has raised
millions to support community causes. Fans at Miller Park and those
who’ve never been to the stadium have thanked Attanasio for his
efforts improving the team on and off the field.
has always been to build a long-term winning tradition here,"
Attanasio told Fox Sports. "I think we’ve gotten off to a great
unusual punishment for most 5-year-olds is a bus time of 6 a.m., but
for me, a 6 a.m. bus time meant an educational opportunity. I began
the Chapter 220 program in 1985 as a first grade student at Dunwood
Elementary School (now Stormonth), and like most 220 students, my day
began with a very long bus ride from the inner city to the suburbs.
It was unclear
to me in the early years as to why I traveled each day past several
schools to go to Dunwood, but now, as a parent, I understand why my
parents made the sacrifice of getting me to my bus extra early and at
times faced criticism for me to have the education they felt was
necessary to give me the best chance at success in life.
through the Fox Point-Bayside school system and then on to Nicolet
High School, I graduated extremely prepared for college. I can recall
my freshmen year in college saying to my roommate about many required
texts, "Oh, I read that in high school." Moreover, in a time
of school districts needing to cut spending on extracurricular
activities, as an adult, I have gained greater appreciation for the
extracurricular activities and athletic programs that were offered in
the school district.
in track and field in high school landed me a full scholarship to
college. In this economy, graduating from college debt-free afforded
me many more opportunities post college.
of Chapter 220 was not without challenges. Feelings of isolation were
at times present because regularly in school I was the only minority
in many situations, and at times faced stereotypes or misconceptions
about why I was a Chapter 220 student. That experience gave me a voice
to share information about myself so that I could educate teachers and
parents around me. I feel like I helped people to understand that not
every child in 220 was poor or from a "dangerous"
neighborhood in the city or had uneducated and down-trodden parents.
I, like many other Chapter 220 students, had the blessing of being
from a strong middle-class neighborhood and educated family, but I had
parents who wanted a different educational experience than what they
thought my neighborhood school would provide.
The Chapter 220
program didn’t just provide me with an education, but it also
educated many of the people around me and helped to improve cultural
and racial integration in Milwaukee. So, as a Chapter 220 student,
maybe I was not invited to every birthday party or could never walk or
ride my bike to school. But all these years later I continue to have a
sincere appreciation for the education that I received as part of the
Milwaukee Chapter 220 program.
Ridgeway is assistant athletics director for academic services at
Marquette University. She and her husband have a daughter and live in
Short-lived at Grand Avenue
When the Grand
Avenue Mall opened in the summer of 1982, civic leaders held high
hopes that it would bring shoppers back to the city and revitalize the
entire area. With suburban malls steadily pulling customers away, it
seemed logical that packaging downtown retailers into a mall would
lure them back.
Tapping into a
national trend of the time, the concept was to link Wisconsin Avenue
shops and department stores under one soaring roof and capitalize on
the historic charm of existing architecture like the Plankinton
mall seemed to thrive during the ’80s, with dozens of national and
regional retailers filling space, a series of setbacks and new
management strategies over the years took its toll. As sales
plummeted, retailers like Dress Barn, Bachrach’s, The Limited and
many others packed up and left. A Marshall Field’s anchor store
closed its doors at Grand Avenue in 1997, followed by a major
renovation that converted the space to a Residence Inn by Marriott and
renovation in 2004 with a multimillion investment by Northwestern
Mutual brought discount chains such as Linens ‘n Things, Old Navy
and TJ Maxx to the mall, changing its profile to more of a
bargain-basement destination. Another hefty investment by Wispark
renovated the Boston Store building and created the Boston Loft
"The Shops at Grand Avenue," the mall continued to struggle
as the Great Recession hit, with more and more vacant space in the
Last year the
mall began a new effort to reinvent its east end with "Creativity
Lives Here," an incubator for the creative class, offering low
rents for arts groups, local entrepreneurs and start-ups. Although the
initiative may be injecting new life into Grand Avenue — Stone Creek
Coffee Roasters recently expanded its space, for example — the mall
has plenty of challenges ahead. Anchor Boston Store has hinted it may
be leaving and a foreclosure suit against Grand Avenue was filed last
A. Lovell Jr. was born in Cleveland, but grew up in Milwaukee, where
he graduated from Solomon Juneau High School and attended the
University of Wisconsin before moving on to the Naval Academy. While
the entire country was electrified by the United States space program
in the 1960s and 1970s, Milwaukee was able to take personal pride when
Lovell became a NASA astronaut, flying two Gemini missions orbiting
the Earth and two Apollo trips on which he circled the moon. Lovell
may be best known for the Apollo 13 mission in 1970. Milwaukeeans and
the rest of the world held their breath when a service module oxygen
tank in the space craft ruptured 200,000 miles from Earth, leaving the
crew short on oxygen and without power. Under Lovell’s command, the
crew managed to safely complete the trip home in the Lunar Module.
Lovell chronicled the mission in his book "Lost Moon," which
later was made into the feature film "Apollo 13." Milwaukee
has celebrated Lovell’s achievements and connection to the city by
renaming the stretch of North 7th Street in downtown Milwaukee between
West State and West Clybourn streets as North James Lovell Street.
Attacks Water Supply, Sickens City
1993, most Milwaukeeans didn’t think twice about guzzling down a
glass of tap water. But that spring, people began to turn up in
emergency rooms with violent, flu-like symptoms. Absenteeism in
schools and businesses spiked.
officials scrambled to find the source of the problem as more and more
residents, especially those with weakened immune systems, began to get
sick. The culprit, identified in the West Allis Memorial Hospital
laboratory, was the highly infectious cryptosporidium, a waterborne
by the Howard Avenue water treatment plant had been complaining that
their water was cloudy. Cryptosporidium had slipped through the plant’s
filtration system. On April 8, 1993, Mayor John Norquist issued a
boil-water order for all consumers served by the Milwaukee Water Works
and the Howard Avenue plant was immediately shut down.
400,000 residents, or nearly half the metro population, had been
infected, and more than 100 people died. It was one of the largest
waterborne disease outbreaks in U.S. history.
In response to
the Milwaukee cryptosporidium outbreak, tougher federal rules for
testing and treating drinking water were put into place. Since 1993,
the Milwaukee Water Works has invested $362 million in upgrading its
infrastructure to improve water quality. While the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency requires ongoing testing for 90 water contaminants,
Milwaukee Water Works now tests for more than 500.
Hometown Airline Hits the Skies
care in the air." That was the longtime slogan of Midwest
Airlines, the Milwaukee-based airline once favored by business
travelers for its roomy leather seats and in-flight baked chocolate
Midwest grew out
of the travel department of Kimberly-Clark Corp., and began flying as
Midwest Express Airlines in 1984, with two DC-9s and 83 employees. A
year later, one of the airline’s planes crashed just after taking
off from Milwaukee, killing all 31 people on board. While the 1985
crash would have been the end of a lot of upstart airlines, travelers
in Wisconsin rallied around the homegrown airline.
1990s, Midwest enjoyed steady growth, becoming a publicly traded
company in 1995. In 2002, the airline simplified its name to Midwest
Airlines, deciding the word "Express" inaccurately defined
the airline as only a regional carrier.
By 2007, Midwest
operated more than 340 flights a day with 3,500 employees. That year,
it fought off repeated takeover attempts by AirTran. But like many
airlines, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks caused serious financial
problems, and the fuel price spike over the summer of 2008 hurt the
airline’s finances even more.
Republic Airway Holdings Inc. bought Midwest for $31 million, along
with Denver-based Frontier Airlines, which had filed for bankruptcy
protection. Although Republic initially intended to keep both brands,
it soon became apparent that plan wasn’t cost-effective.
Midwest name was officially retired in April 2010, Republic continues
to serve the warm chocolate-chip cookies that made the Milwaukee
airline famous on all Frontier flights.
5800 N. Bayshore Drive
Remodeled and reborn as the Bayshore Town Center in 2006.
Claim to Fame:
Bayshore is nothing if not flexible. It began as an outdoor strip
mall, morphed into an enclosed mall and now is a shopping mall/mixed
use retail complex.
Bayshore Town Center is Milwaukee’s best example of the way the
shopping experience has evolved in America and reflects a popular
trend toward a blend of indoor and outdoor space. "It’s kind of
a return to this hybrid of neighborhood commerce," Gurda says.
More than just a
mall, it features residential units and has become a one-shop for
shopping, dining and entertainment. "From the standpoint of urban
design, it’s very successful," Thomson says. "The hardest
thing to do is get people to go somewhere, and Bayshore has enough
amenities that people go there as a destination. I can’t remember a
time when I’ve been there and it was empty. There’s always
something going on."
777 E. Wisconsin Ave.
Year Built: 1973
Claim to Fame:
Milwaukee’s tallest building; its 42 floors stretch 601 feet above
The name has changed numerous times over the years, but what has not
changed is its signature characteristic — its height. It is
Milwaukee’s tallest building — by far — and anchors the downtown
skyline. "It was the first of the Chicago-scale skyscrapers and
so far the only one," says Gurda, who noted that the observation
tour used to be open to the public seven days a week.
approach the city from the south, the U.S. Bank Center is the first
thing their eyes focus on. From time to time, the bank’s windows are
lit up to reflect exciting developments going on in the city. For
instance, during Harley-Davidson’s 100th anniversary celebration,
the letters "HD" were displayed. The outside of the 41st
floor was used as a place to reintroduce the Peregrine falcon, during
over the last 25 years more than 60 falcons have been hatched
1 Brewers Way
Year Built: 2001
Claim to Fame:
Major League Baseball’s fastest convertible roof; it can open and
close in less than 10 minutes.
was hard to believe this summer as Brewers fans basked in their
deepest postseason run in almost three decades, but the debate
regarding the construction of Miller Park was fierce and contentious.
In fact, the 1/10th-of-a-cent sales tax on purchases in Milwaukee,
Ozaukee, Racine, Washington and Waukesha counties was toxic for some
politicians. So much so that Racine’s George Petak, the state
senator who cast the historic, decisive vote to approve funding, was
voted out in a recall election.
opened in 2001 to largely positive reviews and packed crowds.
Attendance dwindled in the middle part of the decade but baseball’s
popularity began to surge during the Brewers’ 2008 trip to the MLB
playoffs. Last season the Brewers averaged close to 40,000 fans and
drew more than 3 million, a franchise record.
in the World Series
you have a World Series!" With his historic call of the final out
of game five of the 1982 American League Championship Series, Bob
Uecker simply and unforgettably captured the euphoria of Milwaukee
The ’82 Crew
offered a little bit of everything to its loyal supporters. There was
the golden-boy-future-hall-of-fame 1-2 combo of Paul Molitor and Robin
Yount at the top of the lineup. The hardscrabble, blue collar rough
and tumble Pete Vuckovich and Gorman Thomas. The cerebral Ted Simmons
behind the plate. The elegant professionalism of Don Sutton, Cecil
Cooper and Ben Ogilvie. Homegrown products Jim Gantner and Jerry
Augustine. The redoubtable Rollie Fingers and his world-renowned
mustache that became synonymous with late-inning lockdowns out of the
The 1982 Brewers
had character and characters.
a real closeness in the clubhouse," Augustine says.
"We had a
lot of fun but we played hard between the lines," Gantner says.
"That’s what it takes."
And in Harvey
Kuenn, they had a manager who trusted those characters to play a
complete game of baseball.
guys who could hit the ball out of the ballpark," says infielder
Don Money. "But there are also times when you had to bunt and get
a man over, and the ’82 team could do that."
"It was a
matter of playing the game the way it was meant to be played,"
Gantner says. "That’s what we did."
It truly was a
summer of love between a baseball team and a legion of fans that
spanned the generations; many who had cheered for the 1958 Braves when
the World Series last visited Milwaukee and the new breed experiencing
a fall classic for the first time.
were great," Money says. "Back in those days, we used to
tailgate in the parking lot with them. On a Sunday morning, they’d
be there at 10 a.m., we’d stop and say hello. Then after the game
they’re still there and you’d stop and have a beer with
The Brewers won
the A.L. East by finishing one game ahead of Baltimore. They won the
A.L. Championship Series by one game over California, but the seventh
and deciding game of the World Series went to St. Louis.
mattered to the throng that assembled for a 15-block victory parade
through downtown followed by a celebration at County Stadium in honor
of the Crew’s post-season run. Yount provided the signature moment
by driving his motorcycle around the ballpark, dressed in a leather
jacket, his left arm extended triumphantly upward, riding off into
Milwaukee and baseball history.
200 E. Wells St.
Originally finished in 1885; restoration complete in 2008
Claim to Fame:
City Hall’s Bell Tower, 353 feet above the ground, made it the
second tallest structure in the United States at the time it was
built. The only larger structure was the iconic Washington Monument.
City Hall’s extensive renovation began in 2006 and finished in 2008.
The building’s design and architecture pays tribute to Milwaukee’s
proud German heritage. "Talk about an icon," says John
Gurda, an author
and historian who wrote the definitive book on the city’s history:
"The Making of Milwaukee." "The fact that the city was
willing to put more than $70 million into it speaks volumes about its
importance to the city."
think of Milwaukee, for many, this is their first image.
important to keep a sense of where we have been as a
says Gregory Thomson, an assistant architecture professor at
UW-Milwaukee. "It’s an amazing building." City Hall was
declared a National Historic Landmark in 2005.
I blame Danny
Gokey (a Season 8 finalist) for hooking me — line and sinker — to
His story never
sounded like a broken record. It was raw and real, about his
27-year-old wife and high-school sweetheart, saddled with a chronic
heart condition, who died a month before his audition (and is the
subject of Sophia’s Heart Foundation, which aids disadvantaged
children). That story, paired with solid vocals and snazzy eyeglass
frames (which won him spokesperson gigs for two companies, one of
those Wisconsin Vision), lured me to plop down on the couch two nights
a week and give in to the FOX reality-television show that the entire
country was talking about.
Yet it wasn’t
until a few weeks in that I realized Gokey, 31, and I shared something
in common: We both live in Milwaukee. He’s the former worship
director at Faith Builders International Ministries on South Howell
Avenue. In fact, I’m pretty sure I spotted him walking his dog one
evening just before dusk in Humboldt Park in Bay View. While I’ll
never know for sure, I like to think that the potential for stardom
exists in my backyard — and not just the celebrity-studded culture
in Los Angeles, or even the romantic twangs of Nashville.
What Gokey —
who produced the "My Best Days" album (RCA Nashville/19
Recordings) in 2010 — also did was introduce pockets of the United
States, those tuning in from ranches nestled on vast Western prairies
to Manhattan apartments the size of a shoebox, to Milwaukee. Yes, this
is a city where stars are born.
In late January,
Gokey tied the knot with Leyicet Peralta, a model, in Florida. He
spends more time in Nashville, but let’s be real: Milwaukee will
always be there for him.
There are a few
key ingredients a city needs to earn the title "world class"
— and entertainment and dining options top that list. With its
exceptional talent and broad range of local choices, it’s safe to
say Milwaukee has arrived on the Midwest’s culinary map. The
city was fortunate to attract chefs like Dominic Zumpano, Jarvis
Williams, Justin Carlisle, Justin Aprahamian, Adam Siegel, Sandy D’Amato
and more to set this movement in motion.
Over the past 15
years or so, Milwaukee has also benefitted tremendously from creative
entrepreneurs who have cultivated an industry of knowledgeable chefs,
bartenders and servers that add to the dining experience. Milwaukee’s
ethnic options are abundant as well, straying from the beer and brats
The term "foodie"
also emerged, referring to aficionados of high-quality food. All of a
sudden, people really cared about where their food came from.
Restaurateurs began putting a larger emphasis on skillful preparation
and using locally produced or available meat, dairy, produce and more.
But who are
really the people behind this movement? Who are the risk-takers?
Brothers Joe and Paul Bartolotta opened Ristorante Bartolotta in March
1993, and haven’t stopped since. Lake Park Bistro followed soon
after, set in Lake Park overlooking a grand stairway winding down to
the lake. The family of restaurants now includes Mr. B’s Steakhouse,
Baachus and Harbor House (claiming the other best plot of land in the
city, at Harbor Drive, adjacent to the Milwaukee Art Museum). It’s
seemingly all come full circle for the brothers, with their latest
addition to the family, The Rumpus Room Gastropub, named after their
father’s first place.
The early ’90s
was also a good time for Scott Johnson and Leslie Montemurro. Catering
to a hip, younger crowd, they opened Riverwest’s Fuel Café and
later formed the Diablos restaurant group with Mike Eitel and Eric
Wager. They parted ways in 2007, and Wagner and Eitel went on to form
the Lowlands Group. They now run a string of restaurants that
celebrate the grand café culture of Europe: Café Hollander, Café
Centraal, Nomad World Pub and Trocadero.
Montemurro continue today under the moniker MOJOFUCO and still operate
Fuel, Hi Hat/Garage, Balzac and Palomino. They also have additional
partners in BelAir Cantina, Comet Cafe and Honeypie. Each restaurant
is in a different corner of the city with its own unique charm. The
common thread is casual "from scratch" cooking starting with
high-quality and locally sourced ingredients.
restaurant group has reinvented the Milwaukee Street dining scene from
the casual to extremely high end. Partners Mike Polaski and Omar
Shaikh own Charro (Central and South American cuisine), Carnevor steak
house, Ryan Braun’s Grafitto (Italian), Umami Moto (French-Asian
fusion) and others.
believe Milwaukee can compete with almost any other city in the
country with our dining options" says Shaikh.
this biz is a moving target," Johnson says. "Luckily, there
are a plethora of really great restaurants to choose from and for a
city of this size, we’re pretty lucky."
No Winners in
Miller Park All Star Game
no crying in baseball," exclaimed Jimmy Dugan, the character
played by Tom Hanks who managed the Rockford Peaches in "A League
of Their Own."
supposed to be any ties in baseball either. But there was one
unforgettable stalemate on the diamond in July of 2002 that had fans
of the sport that easily possesses the highest percentage of purists
The Major League
Baseball All Star game, the circuit’s annual midsummer marquee
attraction, was in this instance also a national showcase for
Milwaukee’s new athletic crown jewel, Miller Park.
Miller who was also a Wisconsin native, played in the game. Catcher
Damian Miller from La Crosse, who would later become a Brewer,
represented the Diamondbacks and would turn out to be a key player in
this memorable contest.
growing up as a Brewers fan to play in an All Star game in Wisconsin
with my family and friends in the stands was special," Miller
The score after
11 innings was 7-7. Both managers — Bob Brenly and Joe Torre — had
used all 30 of their players and their last eligible pitchers had each
already thrown two innings. MLB commissioner Bud Selig ruled that the
game would end in a tie.
decision was made because there were no players left, no pitchers
left," Selig told Sports Illustrated. "This is not the
ending I had hoped for. I was in a no-win situation."
started promisingly enough for the hometown National League fans. The
N.L. jumped to an early 4-0 lead and still led 5-2 after five innings
when Miller drove in a run with an RBI double in the bottom of the
5th. Miller, who had two hits, was a strong MVP candidate; a Wisconsin
lad taking the award in his own backyard would have provided a
storybook ending had the N.L. prevailed.
But the A.L.
scored the next 5 runs to go ahead 7-5. The N.L. answered with two in
the 7th to pull even and four innings later, no one prevailed.
There were boos
throughout the stadium and a few fans in right field threw bottles to
protest the decision.
the right decision. It’s only a friendly game," said Milwaukee
shortstop Jose Hernandez, who along with Richie Sexson represented the
Brewers on the N.L. squad.
"It was a
tough decision," Miller says. "We wanted to win the game but
we understood that you need to protect players for down the stretch.
But if they had made a different decision, some people would have
complained about that too.
understand why some fans were upset but they did get to watch two
extra innings of some of the greatest players of all time," he
began with a celebration of Milwaukee baseball history as Warren Spahn,
Hank Aaron, Paul Molitor and Robin Yount threw out ceremonial first
pitches. And the anguished cries of much of the baseball nation
notwithstanding, the evening ended with Milwaukee securing its place
in baseball history. While the particulars of the victors and
vanquished of most All Star games quickly fade from memory, few fans
will ever forget "the tie of ’02."
In the 1980s,
hundreds of Indian tribes across the United States turned to gambling
as a business enterprise. When individual states began trying to
impose regulations on reservation-based gaming, tribes turned to the
federal government for help. The result was the 1988 Indian Gaming
Regulatory Act, which essentially gave tribes the right to regulate
gaming on Indian land, and provided a framework for gaming operations
to promote tribal economic development and self-sufficiency, and to
ensure that Indian tribes receive gaming revenues.
In 1991, three
years after Congress passed IGRA, the Forest County Potawatomi tribe
opened Potawatomi Bingo Casino in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley —
the only off-reservation casino in Wisconsin. Since then, Potawatomi
Bingo Casino has become one of Wisconsin’s most popular
entertainment destinations, drawing nearly 6 million visitors a year.
Potawatomi facility was a 45,800 square foot bingo hall that seated
2,500 players. In 2000, the tribe constructed an entirely new 255,000
square foot facility that included a500-seat theater, four-story
parking structure, new bingo hall, restaurants, slot machines and
In October 2001,
owners of Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha filed a lawsuit seeking
to limit state compacts with Indian tribes to raffles and bingo,
citing a 1993 state amendment that prohibits Las Vegas-style gambling.
The now-defunct Dairyland Greyhound Park blamed profit losses on the
rise of expanded casino gambling conducted by Indian tribes. The
Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled against Dairyland Greyhound Park in
2006, stating that the state compacts don’t violate the 1993
Just six weeks
after that ruling, Potawatomi broke ground on a $240 million expansion
project that tripled the Menomonee Valley casino’s size to 780,000
square feet. Completed in 2008, the expanded casino featured more slot
machines and gaming tables, a fully renovated bingo hall, new
restaurants, a larger parking structure and a vehicle bridge from 16th
Potawatomi announced plans to build a $150 million, four-star hotel.
Construction begins this spring, with the hotel expected to open in
You ought to be
in pictures, Milwaukee. And we have ...
For example, did
you know that among his 204 roles, Milwaukeean Robert Emmet O’Connor
depicted a cheerful bootlegger in "The Public Enemy" in
1931. That was, of course, long before Michael Mann’s "Public
Enemies" was filmed here in 2009, with Johnny Depp as a nastier
John Dillinger. Local theatrical heartthrob John Kishline played a
prison guard in that movie and became the film’s first casualty. In
the 1991 TV-thriller "Dillinger," the Milwaukee Public
Library lobby become a bank to be robbed and the Third Ward was
transformed into a 1934 Chicago neighborhood, where the feds gunned
down that iconic gangster.
The Ward starred
again, along with Brady Street and Villa Terrace, in the 2009 "No
God, No Master," with noted homegrown thespian Dan Mooney
portraying anarchist Luigi Galleani.
And the city has
elevated trains? At least it does in the movies. In the 1993 Harrison
Ford flick "The Fugitive," cops track a doctor unjustly
accused of murdering his wife and hear trains in the background during
a phone call. "What cities have an El?" one detective asks.
Another responds, "Milwaukee!" Of course, the hero was
actually in Chicago, but what do details matter when it comes to
Tinseltown? And who can forget the Ford Pinto and those Illinois Nazis
soaring off our Bridge to Nowhere in "The Blues Brothers" of
had other roles as stand-ins for the Windy City. Hotshot producer
Michael Bay flew here in his private Gulfstream to check carnage sites
for "Transformers: Dark of the Moon." He was so smitten with
the sexy Milwaukee Art Museum at the time, he returned to make a
Victoria’s Secret commercial. Each time, the parking lot became a
Hollywoodian backstage maze of wiring, lights and cameras. The MAM
also glowed in an "American Idol" sequence last year, with
its preliminary rounds shot at the Bradley Center.
One wonders what
Wisconsin Highway Patrol boss Stephen Fitzgerald must have thought to
see Chris O’Dowd’s goofy portrayal of one of his officers in the
recent "Bridesmaids." In that flick, heroine Annie, played
by Kristen Wiig, is supposedly a Milwaukeean who falls for the sweet
guy. Just forget his brogue and drinking on duty. Concentrate on the
street scenes shot downtown and in Bay View.
is no loyalty to locale in the film world. "The reality is, we
use what we have," agrees Dave Fantle, deputy secretary of the
Department of Tourism and former head of Film Wisconsin. "We don’t
have mountains in this state."
City of Festivals
Milwaukee’s entertainment scene changed forever. Mayor Henry Maier’s
dream to revitalize Milwaukee’s downtown and bring the community
together came to life. The first-ever Summerfest took place at 35
separate locations around the city, including a six-acre site on the
lakefront, Milwaukee County Stadium, Pere Marquette Park and
Washington Park. There were concerts, film screenings, an air show and
even a Miss Milwaukee pageant. Sure, Milwaukee had concerts, but it
had never seen a festival of this kind with such a broad range of
entertainment spanning several days.
Summerfest shifted to a permanent, centralized location at the
lakefront (taking over what was an abandoned 15-acre Nike missile
site) and charged $1.50 for admission (kids were 50 cents!) Now known
as Henry W. Maier Festival Park, the Summerfest grounds housed only
tents, wooden slabs for stages and port-a-potties. Summerfest got its
smile that year, too, thanks to local artists Noel Spangler and
Richard D. Grant. After all, every great brand needs an icon.
By its 10-year
anniversary, the event’s attendance grew to 25,000 and the
first ethnic festivals — Festa Italiana and Mexican Fiesta — sprung
up at the Henry W. Maier Festival Park. Then, one ethnicity at a
time, the "City of Festivals" Milwaukee became. Now there
is: German, Polish, Irish, Asian Moon, Indian Summer, Pridefest,
Arabic Fest and more, occupying each weekend in the summer.
In 1999, the
Guinness Book of World Records officially named Summerfest the
"World’s Largest Music Festival." Fast forward to 2012 and
Summerfest is celebrating 45 years of live music with an 11-day
festival, 11 stages and more than 700 acts on its 75-acre site.
Throughout its 42-year run, Summerfest has featured popular and
emerging local, national and international acts.
Festival Inc., the nonprofit organization created to run the festival,
is in the middle of a two-phase $35 million renovation project to
redesigned several stages, box offices, bathrooms and food/beverage
building. Phase two will also add a new covered stage.
These days you
can’t say Milwaukee without a reference to beer, Brewers or
Summerfest. Henry Maier undoubtedly left a legacy for Milwaukeeans and
visitors alike. Now millions of people flock from near and far to
experience Summerfest and the many other festivals held throughout the
summer that celebrates our city’s diversity and heritage.
quickly became a household name in Milwaukee as the beloved and
successful head coach of Marquette University’s men’s basketball
team from 1964-1977. In his final year as coach, he led the Warriors
(now Golden Eagles) to the NCAA basketball championship.
As a way to give
back to the community, McGuire founded Al’s Run in 1985 to raise
money for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. He enlisted the help of
media partner Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to get the word out and
participated in the run himself for 15 years. McGuire died in 2001 of
leukemia and his race bib number (No. 1) has since been retired.
run and 3.5-mile walk still take place every year in mid-September,
beginning on the Marquette campus, following the lakefront and ending
at the Summerfest grounds. When it began, the idea of a charity race
was practically nonexistent. Now, you’d be hard-pressed to find a
weekend in summer and fall when there isn’t a charity run/walk at
the lakefront or in another part of the city.
continues today under the title Brigg’s & Al’s Run & Walk
for Children’s Hospital, to recognize sponsor Briggs & Stratton
Corp., who stepped up to sponsor in 2005. The event attracts up to
16,000 people each year. Along with the Susan G. Komen Race for a
Cure, Brigg’s & Al’s Run is one of the largest events in the
Midwest. More impressively, during the past 35 years, the event has
raised more the $13 million for Children’s Hospital.
Course; Bud Brings Brewers to Town
While the rest
of Milwaukee frolicked with the arrival of warm weather, County
Stadium was a silent witness to Brew City’s signature season for
four consecutive summers, sitting empty and motionless (a handful of
White Sox "home games" notwithstanding) after the Braves
left town in 1965.
tireless efforts of a local car dealer, Allan "Bud" Selig,
Milwaukee positioned itself to be awarded a Major League expansion
franchise in 1968 only to be passed over as MLB planted its flag in
Kansas City, Seattle, San Diego and Montreal.
But when the
Seattle Pilots ran into financial trouble in their inaugural season in
1969, Selig and his associates saw another opportunity and made their
pitch. The fate of the franchise was still undecided as spring
training concluded in March 1970 in Arizona. Would the squad head back
to the Pacific Northwest or to Wisconsin? Manager Dave Bristol was
reported to have told the pilot of the team plane, "When we get
to Salt Lake City, ask me whether to turn right or left."
That plane took
a hard right and flew directly into the hearts of an adoring throng of
baseball-starved fans, as Selig, who grew up watching the minor league
Milwaukee Brewers at old Borchert Field, brought "The Show"
back to his hometown.
was alive again with the crack of the bat and the roar of the crowd,
albeit not many victories for the home side in the 1970s. But the club
built itself into a contender in the early ’80s, bringing a World
Series to Milwaukee in 1982.
Selig is baseball commissioner and the Crew plays at Miller Park,
still one of the circuit’s gems asit approaches its 12th season
after drawing more than 3 million fans in 2011 when the Brewers won
the N.L. Central and made the playoffs for the second time in four
The pilot of the
team plane has no doubts about where to go when the Brewers break
spring camp this year, back to a city where it would be impossible to
imagine a summer without tailgating, the sausage race and Bernie
Brewer’s triumphant home run slide.
Route of the Great Circus Parade
Hold yer hosses!
The elephants are coming ... and coming ... and coming again! The
Great Circus Parade was the most dazzling, fantastic, magical
presentation of old-time fun and frivolity ever to grace downtown
Milwaukee. The parades were held first in the city from 1963 to 1973,
and then moved between Baraboo, Chicago and Milwaukee from 1980 to
2005. In 2009, it made a glorious one-time return to the city,
bringing to life again those marvelous pageants of days gone past.
Museum founder Charles (Chappie) Fox teamed with marketing whiz Ben
Barkin and Schlitz Brewery chief Bob Uihlein to pull together the
first parades. The museum, a state historical site located in Baraboo
and the former winter quarters of the old Ringling Bros. circus,
provided wagons, costumes and other memorabilia for this Grand
Cavalcade of Wonderment.
economic impact study in the 1990s showed that visitors from outside
the four-county area brought $25 million into the greater Milwaukee
area for circus week, according to Bill Fox, longtime parade co-chair.
More than 1,000 circus fans and horse lovers worked on setup and tear
down. They assisted during the parade and on the train that hauled the
historic paraphernalia from the museum on its route to Milwaukee,
through the state, into Illinois and back again — to the delight of
crowds along the way. All three national networks and PBS televised
the parade, and stations across the country picked up on the
excitement. The parade was also covered internationally in newspapers
reported that 300,000 to 500,000 viewers lined the curbs for the
parade on any given year and additional thousands flocked to the
lakefront showgrounds to marvel at the assembled wagons and applaud
the many circus acts. Parade wagons appeared in the Macy and Rose Bowl
parades after 1985, as well as in films such the recent "Water
for Elephants." Entertainment celebrities such as actors Ernest
Borgnine and Leslie Nielson also appeared in the parade.
organizers never forgot to bring in the clowns.
Leads MU to Final Four
In the 2001-2002
season, the Marquette men’s basketball team went 26-7, winning at
least 20 games for the first time since 1997. It was no coincidence
that Dwyane Wade made his Golden Eagle debut that year.
season, with Wade returning along with sophomore guard Travis Diener
from Fond du Lac, junior center Scott Merritt from Wauwatosa East,
power forward Robert Jackson, a Milwaukee native who transferred from
Mississippi State and an incoming freshman sharpshooter, Steve Novak
from Brown Deer High School, the Golden Eagles had high expectations.
I don’t know
if we said we’re a Final Four team but we knew we could be a pretty
good team," Wade says. "We lost some seniors. We had some
transfers but we had some talented guys back so we knew we could be
wind up in the Final Four, their first appearance at college
basketball’s most desired destination since 1977.
at the right time," Wade says. "We knew what worked for us
and we played it to the best of our ability. But that team, man, we
worked hard. We weren’t a team you could easily beat. We would make
it hard on you because of our coach Tom Crean’s DNA. We were tough
averaging 21.5 points per game and Jackson, Diener and Merritt also
averaging double figures, Marquette ripped through the Conference USA
schedule with a 14-2 league record, winning 15 of its last 16 games
overall. But in the first round of the conference tournament, the
Eagles were stunned by UAB.
my fault," Wade recalls. "I let my team down. I wasn’t a
leader in that game. I think I had like 10 turnovers (of MU’s 30). I
said I’d be better next time. That shook us a little, but our
confidence was there. We had to go back and do a lot of practicing to
get us back."
seeded third in the NCAA Midwest Regional and won close games over
Holy Cross, Missouri (in overtime) and second seed Pitt to reach the
regional final against top seed and heavily favored Kentucky.
Wade brought the
mighty Wildcats to their knees scoring 29 points with 11 rebounds, 11
assists and four blocked shots in an astonishing 83-69 victory earning
a ticket to New Orleans for the Final Four.
"It was one
of my best individual performances, but I didn’t know it. I was just
playing, trying to do whatever I could to help my team win. Because I
knew what was on the cusp for us. I knew we were close and we could
win. As a team, we were amazing. I didn’t find out I had a triple
double until after the game. I was like, ‘what?’ Because I was
just in that mode of doing whatever it takes to win the game."
Eagles lost to Kansas in the national semifinals but had made their
mark in Milwaukee sports history. "It was amazing," Wade
says. "For coming into Marquette two years before that and
basketball not being on the tip of everybody’s tongue. And two years
later to have the whole city behind us. It was special."
In the late
1990s, when the trend in urban living began to pick up, developers
tested the waters with downtown apartments. Soon people began moving
downtown, followed by restaurants and retail shops — and downtown
residential construction quickly shifted to a steady stream of condo
From 1996 to
2006, condo developments sprang up along the Beerline on the north
side, to Library Hill on the west end, to the Third and Fifth wards on
the south side, ranging in price from $150,000 to $4 million. The
downtown skyline quickly filled with luxury condominiums like the
University Club Tower, a $60 million, 52-unit project on Prospect
Avenue, the 74-unit Kilbourn Tower at the intersection of Prospect and
Kilbourn, and The Flatiron, a $10 million geometric-looking
development with 38 units that holds the distinction of being the
first condo project in the Park East Corridor.
In the early
years of the Milwaukee condo boom, demand was so high, projects often
sold out before developers could break ground. But over-eagerness to
meet that demand ultimately led to an oversupply of condos that for a
time languished on the downtown market.
By 2006, nearly
3,000 condominiums had been built in downtown Milwaukee, adding more
than $1.4 billion in tax base and generating more than $34 million in
annual property taxes, according to data from the Department of City
But the collapse
of the national housing market in late 2006, followed by the recession
and the financial industry crisis, led to the swift demise of the
Milwaukee condo market. Condo sales throughout southeast Wisconsin
slowed dramatically, dropping from 3,780 units in 2006 to 1,569
through September 2010, according to the Metro MLS Inc.
downturn has resulted in the elimination of several proposed projects
like the Palomar, a boutique hotel and luxury condominium development
originally planned for the Park East Corridor. Other residential
projects have been retooled, like The Moderne, a 30-story high rise at
the southwest corner of Old World Third Street and Juneau Avenue,
which shifted its focus from luxury condos to upscale rental units.
Harley-Davidson motorcycle company began in Milwaukee in 1903. Through
the Great Depression in the 1930s, stiff competition from Japanese
motorcycle manufacturers in the 1970s, and declining market share,
Harley emerged stronger, still producing its original product and
creating a big impact on Milwaukee’s culture and economy. The
company’s pivotal point came in 1981, when 13 Harley-Davidson senior
executives signed a letter of intent to purchase Harley-Davidson Motor
Co. from American Machine and Foundry Com., a longtime producer of
leisure products. By mid-June, the buyback was official, and the
phrase "The Eagle Soars Alone" becomes a rallying cry. While
Harley has established manufacturing plants outside of Wisconsin, it
still employs hundreds of people here. And, beginning with its 90th
anniversary in 1993 through the 105th in 2008, and the opening of the
Harley-Davidson Museum in the Menomonee Valley, Harley enthusiasts
have come in the hundreds of thousands to Milwaukee to celebrate the
iconic motorcycle and the company that makes it. m
happens while I’m traveling in another state, sometimes even another
As an Illinois
transplant, I have no family members in Wisconsin. Yet, new
acquaintances will ask if I know "The Fonz?" How about
No, no and no. I
nod my head, shamefully. What kind of Wisconsinite am I, really? I
have never seen an episode of "Happy Days" (1974-1984, and
the No. 1 show in 1976), nor have I tuned in to "Laverne &
Shirley" (1976-1983). However, my passing knowledge is enough to
determine that the picture they painted of Milwaukee is that of a
working-class city, where people are humble, real and funny. It’s no
Hollywood or New York. This is the real deal, where people work in
factories or breweries, and shovel the front walk some mornings.
Apparently American viewers loved every minute.
last summer I hurried along the Riverwalk en route to The Pabst
Theater to purchase tickets for an upcoming concert. A bronze mass
glittered in front of me, the late-afternoon sun bouncing off of the
metal. I pulled my sunglasses down onto my nose to investigate. It was
the life-sized Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli statue, giving
me his trademark two-thumbs up. Now that’s nostalgia.