In Milwaukee History

WasteCap currently has some architectural details for sale from this former tied house on 17th and Wright. (PHOTO: Google Maps/WasteCap)

Get Your Ass in Here: WasteCap Resource Solutions

A few years ago I did a story about the great salvage and reuse work being done by WasteCap Resource Solutions, 2123 W. Michigan St., near the Marquette campus. Lately, it's received some pretty great items you can buy.

For example, I recently saw that WasteCap has the distinctive upstairs "barn" doors from the old Usinger's stables, demolished for the construction of the new area. And yes, the elf sticker is still there ...

WasteCap also currently has some architectural details for sale from a former tied house on 17th and Wright, which was demolished in November ...

These tin cornice pieces (WasteCap has six segments of varying sizes) are from the old tap at 1635 W. Wright St., which thanks to a little quick digging, I learned used to serve up the sea foods, including a 15-cent fish fry, back in 1939 when it was called Old Heidelberg Cafe ...

It's unclear whether or not Peter Schmidt's Wright Street place was affiliated with McCarthy's Old Heidelberg Cafe on 31st and Meinecke, or the more famous Downtown restaurant of the same name on Mason Street, owned by and later named for Karl Ratzsch. You know, the one where the Lions Club would hold its annual "whoopee party" and which got busted in 1931 for selling booze during Prohibition.

I'm guessing not, but this neighborhood pub had issues of its own.

Just ask Walter Schneider, who in 1944 was arrested as drunk and disorderly after he walloped MPD patrolman Alex Palluck there. Or tavernkeeper Stephen Yurmanovich, who was busted in '51 for allowing minors (a 14-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy) to "loiter" – that is, drink a Coke and lean on the jukebox – for 10 minutes while waiting to use the occupied restroom.

Things took a much darker, more tragic turn there in '65 when it was called Willa & Stumps Tavern and run by Albert Knox. A man walked in and asked his wife, who was working at the bar, if he could buy her a drink. "She refused and they exchanged harsh words," according to a newspaper account.

The woman, a 28-year-old waitress, took her purse containing a .25 caliber automatic pistol from behind the bar and went to the rest room, where she put the gun in her dress pocket, the paper wrote. When she returned to the bar, her husband allegedly grabbed and slapped her. She shot once and as her husband headed out the door, she shot twice more, and he collapsed in the alley and later died, the Journal wrote.

Nine years later, John Harris, publican at what was then called John's Tap, suffered a loss of $2,000 plus some payroll checks, when burglars broke in and, as the daily paper reported, "took the loot from cigar boxes."

Sadly, another fatal shooting occurred at John's Tap in 1986.

Take a look at the photo at the top and you can see the cornice when it was in situ. If that tin could talk ...


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