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Badger State Fur: 1901

Badger State Fur: 1901

Milwaukee circa 1901. "The river from Sycamore Street." Lofty landmarks notwithstanding, our favorite building here bears the name of the Meinecke Toy Company. With Badger State Fur a close runner-up. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Photographic Co. View full size.


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Not 34th Street

If Gimbel's didn't have it, which way was Macy's?


Many moons ago, when a youngster, some old guy (meaning my age now) told me that the only person who could tell the correct time is the person with only one clock or watch.

Doesn't seem that this part of Milwaukee would have trouble with time even though you can see four clocks. Blowing the image up shows the two that I can read to be close enough to the same time that you can't tell the difference. Unless, of course, the clocks are broken and are just waiting for a lightning storm to come along and kick start them.


Gimbel Brothers, better known as Gimbels--obviously the apostrophe was dropped sometime after this photo was taken--was by 1930 the world's largest department store chain. (I remember a joke on "I Love Lucy" about the competition between Gimbels and Macy's.) In 1987, exactly a century after founding, all the Gimbels stores were gone. (But Saks Fifth Avenue started as a branch of the company.)

I recall very well the annual Gimbels Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia, which I took part in sometime in the mid 60's. Today that parade is named for Dunkin' Donuts.

The Milwaukee store building, just visible here, now houses an indoor mall with J.C. Penney as its anchor. Sic transit.

Your one-stop shop

H. H. West Company, Commercial Stationers, Office-Outfitters, Desks, Files, Cabinets
Sixth floor: book binders
Fifth floor: stationers
Fourth floor: H. H. West Co.
Third floor: Office Supplies
Second floor: Athletic Goods
Ground floor: School books
Wait a minute - - athletic goods??

R.I.P., Pabst Building

The Pabst Building (center) was replaced by the very forgettable Faison Building. Its crown retains a hint of the Pabst's Flemish Renaissance style, just to remind us what we lost.

Badger State Fur confuses me

As best I can calculate, this is the spot where the 1901 photo was taken. The bridge is now on East Wisconsin Avenue -- I found a reference that around 1930 many streets were renamed to make navigating the city easier. The building with the clock tower in the distance is Milwaukee City Hall, still at 200 East Wells Street. The lofty landmark in the foreground is, sadly, gone. The pedestrian bridge with the great silhouettes appears to have been replaced with a skywalk.

A state known for its fur trade, mostly beaver, adopts the nickname of a (really mean) fur-bearing animal that is not used for its fur but represents miners working underground. I'm confused.

If Sewickley is correct, then I'm one bridge too close. I should have been on the West Michigan Street Bridge. It makes little difference -- more modern buildings have either replaced the buildings in the 1901 photo, or block them from view.

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