Archives for March 2013

East Library Relocating to Temporary Site This Summer, Holding Public Meeting on Design in April

The Milwaukee Public Library distributed the following news release on March 26 about the library’s temporary relocation and an April 10 meeting at which the public can give input in the design of the new library:


MPL’s East Library Will Relocate to Temporary Facility This Summer and Hold Public Meeting on Design in April

Library Will Use Temporary Site During Construction of East Branch
MILWAUKEE – Milwaukee Public Library’s (MPL) East Library will be relocated during the construction phase of the new East Branch at 1910 East North Avenue. The library will move to a temporary site located at 2430 North Murray Avenue this summer.

East Branch is part of a multi-use development featuring 99 apartments, a 16,000 square-foot library and retail space on the first floor and underground and surface parking. The new branch will have dedicated surface parking. The development project, headed by HSI Properties, LLC, is targeted for completion in late 2014.

“Our libraries provide a vital link to technology, lifelong learning and community,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “We look forward to offering a new branch that meets the needs of patrons today and well into the future.”

The temporary library site will include the basic services valued by patrons: onsite parking, ADA accessibility, laptop computers, a collection of popular materials for check-out, hold pick-ups and an external book drop. There will be limited service interruptions during the move. Dates for closure of the current library site and opening of the temporary site will be announced later this spring.

Community input will be sought on design concepts for the new library at a public meeting on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 6:00 pm at East Library. The architectural firm Hammel Green & Abrahamson Inc. (HGA) was selected by the Board of Trustees to design the new library space.

“We are excited to share some of the new design concepts with the public in April,” said Library Director Paula Kiely. “Following the success of the new Villard Square Branch, we will have a library that encourages a sense of community and incorporates the natural features around it.”

“Since the beginning, we have committed to making this an open and informed process by gathering public input,” said Library Board Trustee and Alderman of the third district, Nik Kovac. “We want residents to feel a sense of ownership and pride that translates to greater use of their new library.”

Updates on the East Library project can be found on the library’s website Updates will also be available on the MPL Facebook page and twitter feed @MilPubLib.


Current East Library


Architectural rendering of future East Library

UWM Libraries: From Normal School library to region’s largest academic research library

Milwaukee Normal School library, housed from 1909 to 1954 in Old Main (now UWM's Mitchell Hall)

Milwaukee State Normal School’s library from 1909 to 1954 was in Old Main (now UWM’s Mitchell Hall). Golda Meir probably studied here.

UWM's Mitchell Hall, 3203 North Downer Ave.

UWM’s Mitchell Hall, 3203 North Downer Ave.











 ******* Learn more about the UWM Libraries at HWTN’s 7 p.m. April 3 meeting. Click here for details. ******

Before there was a UWM Golda Meir Library, or even a UWM,  the East Side’s collegiate library was part of the Milwaukee State Normal School.

The Milwaukee State Normal School relocated from Downtown to a new East Side Campus on Kenwood Boulevard  in 1909. That  year the new Normal School library took up shop on the campus in what was known as Old Main, now Mitchell Hall. The building was the first and initially only one constructed on the new Normal School campus (although the Milwaukee-Downer College just to the north predated the Normal School).

Golda Meir, the future namesake of the modern UWM library (and future Prime Minister of Israel), attended the Milwaukee State Normal School in 1916 and probably part of 1917. She likely studied in the library in Old Main pictured above. The library was housed in Old Main until 1954.

According to a UWM history of the Old Main / Mitchell Hall building:

“The north wing was added in 1912 to house the campus school and the new art school… The building was named by UWM in 1964 for the Mitchell family, whose outstanding members were Alexander (1811-1887), a successful Wisconsin banker, politician, and Congressman; John (1842-1904), Alexander’s son and a businessman, philanthropist, Congressman and U.S. Senator; and William (Billy), John’s son and an army general who was a pioneer in recognizing the potential of military air power in the United States.”

“The building houses the Graduate School; Departments of Art and Design, Africology, Art History and Film; faculty offices for dance; and academic and administrative support offices. It also includes rehearsal spaces for theatre and dance, as well as Studio 254, a 100-seat intimate performance space that doubles as a dance teaching and rehearsal studio.”

“It is also the home to The New Dancemakers’ Series. Mitchell additionally includes at least six skylight-illuminated painting and drawing studio spaces.”

Steve Burnham, senior editor at UWM Libraries, picks up the library angle with a history leading to today’s UWM Libraries:

“The university library was formed by the combination of the libraries of the Milwaukee Extension and the Milwaukee State Teachers College after the creation of UWM in 1956. In the early years of the university, the main campus library was the Kenwood Library, housed in what became Mellencamp Hall. As early as 1958, Donald Woods, director of the library, and the Library Committee foresaw the need for expanding the physical facilities of the library and suggested the site of Baker Field House. Although Kenwood Library underwent remodeling in the early 1960s, the need for additional space remained unsolved as the student population of UWM continued to grow. A new library building was planned and constructed in the mid 1960s and the library materials were moved to the new facility in February 1967. Stage II of the library, completed in 1974, and Stage III, completed in 1987, were constructed to provide additional facilities. The library was renamed the Golda Meir Library in 1979. In 2002, the administrative name of the library as a unit was changed to UWM Libraries.”

roof4Today, the UWM Libraries are considered Wisconsin’s largest academic research library, offering services and resources to the UWM academic community and to the general public.

While academics and students prize the library’s collections and services inside the buildings, another valuable asset lies outside. Actually, it lies above. The library sports a 50,000-square-foot green roof that saves energy by reducing AC use, helps with storm water management and reduces airborne pollutants.

– Jeff Bentoff

Lakefront improvements hit front page – more than century ago

The front-page drawing in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this week depicts new plans to improve roadways along the city’s cherished lakefront. Yet it was — a mere — 117 years ago that the front page of the Milwaukee Sentinel carried a drawing of a different lakefront roadway plan. Both plans shared the same goals: improving transportation along the shore and offering the public better scenic views.

The articles below report on the 1895 plan — which called for two new bridges to cross the ravines near the lighthouse in Lake Park. As we know, the distinctive bridges were later built and are popularly known as the “lion bridges.” According to the Lake Park Friends website:

“The two Lion Bridges span the two lighthouse ravines. The bridges designed by Oscar Sanne were constructed in 1896-97. The oft-photographed lions, sculpted out of sandstone by Paul Kupper, were donated by Henry Clay Payne, then manager of the Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company. In 1964, the bridges were narrowed and closed to vehicles.”

An historically appropriate restoration and upgrading of the bridges was completed last year. And fortunately, the original concrete lions still stand sentry over the beautiful spans.

Click on the two articles below to read how the bridge plans were described in 1895. (Clippings downloaded from Milwaukee Public Library’s “19th Century U.S. Newspapers” database.)\

– Jeff Bentoff

The Milwaukee Sentinel; July 7, 1895


The Milwaukee Journal; February 22, 1895

More celebrity sightings take wing in HWTN

You never know when you’ll see a colorful celebrity walking down the street, strutting across your backyard, snacking under your bird feeder.

The East Side Turkey strutting along N. Lake Dr. as "shot" by an HWTN paparazzi (Note: No animals were harmed in the making of this photo)

Yes, HWTN residents have been reporting more celebrity sightings of the legendary East Side Turkey. Many questions abound. Gobbler or hen? One or many? Where is its home? Who is it dating?

The Turkey has become so famous that it now has its own Facebook page (of course, under Facebook’s “Public Figure” category). We recommend that you “like” the Turkey’s Facebook page and share sightings and photos on that page.

This just goes to show that the HWTN is a neighborhood that attracts birds of all feathers…



Join HWTN & North Point Lighthouse For Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 23

Be sure to join your Historic Water Tower Neighborhood friends and their kids at the annual Easter Egg Hunt at The North Point Lighthouse on Saturday, March 23, 2013, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. See below for more details. See you there!