The city clerk’s office is still located in City Hall but looks a bit different from this 1915 picture. Nearly everything in the room would be an antique hunter’s delight now - from the lighting fixture to the strategically placed spittoon. Peter F. Leuch was city clerk then - the 20th to hold the position in the city’s history - and in 1916 “manual of the Common Council and of the municipal government” complied under his direction, a good profile of the city was drawn. It included the usual biographies, also information on the schools offering “penny lunches” and a list of license rates. The rates ranged from $10 annually for a double bowling alley ($5 for a single); $5 for “circuses, dog or pony shows’; $200 for a retail liquor license; $50 for a tally-ho or Columbian horses, $5 for, “carriage, drawn by 2 horses” and the same amount for an automobile for hire. (Photo courtesy of Theresa Stoecker and information from the Milwaukee Public Library local history collection.)
N. Water and E. Wells Sts. formed a busy intersection in the early 1900s. The Blatz Hotel was on the southwest corner. Across the street was the Pabst Theater and next to the theater was a popular café. However, a statue of Henry Bergh, founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, was the real focal point of City Hall Square. The statue, showing Bergh with a dog, was dedicated in 1891 and had a watering trough for horses beneath it. It was common to see a horse and wagon stopped there, as in this photograph. The trough was in use until about 1940 when it was converted to a flower bed. Photograph and information courtesy of the Milwaukee Public Library local history collection.
One man and two women buying from a flower peddler from his cart as a dog crosses the street behind them. The peddler would sell flowers as well as seeds, fruits, vegetables, and gardening supplies. Description courtesy Milwaukee Public Library.
A view of a man and his dog walking near the streetcar tracks that run along North Downer Avenue and continue to Capitol Drive. People can be seen golfing in the background at the Milwaukee Country Club. Caption courtesy of Milwaukee Public Library.
Herman Weiss operated his meat market virtually in the shadow of Milwaukee’s Exposition Building (seen in background). The store’s awning reads “C. Weiss” because the market was in his mother Caroline’s name. Gloria Wetzel of Cedarburg tells us that her grandfather’s store was at 502 Wells, on what is now the northwest corner of 5th and Wells. Gloria’s mother, now Mrs. Alma Wetzel, was born in the living quarters above the market in 1893 and might be the child in the baby buggy here. Herman Weiss is the man on the left. He operated the store there until 1895, then moved to the 2500 block of State St. until 1910. The ornate brick and glass Exposition Building was completed in 1881 on the site of what is now the Milwaukee Auditorium. The building burned June 4, 1905, but it transformed Milwaukee into a convention city before then - 21 industrial expositions were held there over the years, as well as many musical events, charity balls and international bazaars. Photo and information courtesy of Alma and Gloria Wetzel and the Milwaukee Public Library.
A group of men and one child pose outside the entrance to John Fogg’s Saloon on Jones Island. The tavern was one of many among the fishing village establishment on the island. (Caption courtesy of MPL)
As the home of melodrama in Milwaukee, the Bijou Opera House was where the villain was regularly hissed. “In Old Kentucky” was performed annually during State Fair Week at the Bijou. The theater was located on 2nd St., between Wisconsin Ave. and Michigan St. It was one of a chain of theaters owned by Jacob Litt, a “powerful magnate in the affairs of the American theater.” According to one Milwaukee history, this impresario endorsed the theory that city dwellers as well as visitors to the city “expect more or less in the line of amusements” and he undertook to provide for every level of the urban society. Besides the Bijou and the Academy of Music, Litt also operated the Dime Museum, which offered such curiosities as the Frog Child, Burt Barton the Human Salamander and Dr. Casanovia - Who Cuts Up a Man Before the Audience. The Bijou opened in 1891 and continued to entertain Milwaukeeans until 1912. Photograph and information from the Milwaukee Public Library local history collection.