Great lakes

Jones-island-rail_fullsize_story1

On this day in 1953, the railroad finally arrived on Jones Island

Published Feb. 5, 2020

On this Feb. 5, 1953, a Milwaukee Road locomotive pulled a short train across Chicago & Northwestern tracks and onto Jones Island. For the city of Milwaukee, this concluded a 26-year struggle "to open the harbor to all shippers and carriers on equal terms."

Great-lakes-tin-stackers_fullsize_story1

Remember when "tin stackers" wintered in Milwaukee?

Published Jan. 24, 2020

Each year, the Soo Locks are scheduled to close between Jan. 15 and March 25. Ice typically makes the passage impassable and the Corps of Engineers needs time to perform annual maintenance. For the most part, this brings an end to the shipping season and transportation companies must find a place to park their boats.

Honest-john-schlosser-spelunking_fullsize_story1

Urban Spelunking: "Honest John" Schlosser chandlery / Reginald Baylor Studio

Published Jan. 2, 2019

Artist Reginald Baylor recently opened his new studio at 211 W. Florida St. in Walker's Point in a low-slung, two-story building that actually carries three addresses: 211, 215 and 219. But more importantly, that rather unassuming-looking building, also carries a lot of years and some really interesting history, too.

Gurda-fourth-edition_fullsize_story1

Gurda's landmark "The Making of Milwaukee" gets another update

Published Dec. 13, 2018

As we reach the holiday season, it seems like the perfect time to catch up with John Gurda. He is the Milwaukeean that is to us history-lovers something of a beard-less and more svelte Santa Claus of our own, bringing both longed-for and unexpected treasures, in the form of books, articles, talks and television appearances.

Racine-spelunking-wind-point-lighthouse_fullsize_story1

Urban Spelunking: Wind Point Lighthouse

Published Nov. 6, 2018

Today, even after many Lake Michigan lighthouses have gone dark, the need for Wind Point Lighthouse's glow remains important. We stopped in for a tour to get a look at the history, and to climb the 144 cast-iron steps to the top, of this 1880 Racine County landmark.

Lake-michigan-is-deadliest-great-lake_fullsize_story1

Our dear Lake Michigan is the deadliest of the Great Lakes

Published Sept. 20, 2017

We're lucky to live on the scenic shores of Lake Michigan, soaked with all the picturesque beauty and recreation opportunities we could want. But our beloved body of water has a dark, dangerous secret: It's the deadliest of the Great Lakes, and it's not even close.

Wi-marine-historical-society_fullsize_story1

Wisconsin Marine Historical Society keeps Great Lakes history afloat

Published Sept. 20, 2017

Tucked into the Frank P. Zeidler Humanities Room at the Central Library is a trove of data, photographs and objects detailing the maritime history of the Great Lakes. It is administered by the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society and it's there for you to explore.

Lafargecementship_fullsize_story1

Urban Spelunking: A Lafarge cement ship

Published Sept. 19, 2017

We took to the drink for a tour of a Lafarge cement ship docked at Jones Island in the Port of Milwaukee to unload "powder" from Lafarge's cement operation in Alpena Mich., before heading out onto the lake for a stop at Grand Haven on its way back up to Alpena.

Spelunking-northpoint-lighthouse_fullsize_story1

Urban Spelunking: North Point Lighthouse

Published Sept. 19, 2017

Long before there was an East Side, there was a North Point Lighthouse. Today the beacon tower sits surrounded by trees in Lake Park, where it is open as a museum, as well as enduring Milwaukee landmark. Let's go inside.

Novembersfury_fullsize_story1

1913 hurricane laid a trail of destruction across the Great Lakes

Published Sept. 18, 2017

Though we all remember the 2010 "once in a lifetime" storm that caused terrible flooding around the Milwaukee area, few of us have seen anything like the dramatic 1913 Great Lakes hurricane, which toppled ships, killed hundreds sailors - and folks on shore, too - from Lake Superior and Lake Michigan to Lake Huron.

Lakeexpressvideo_fullsize_story1

Video: A Lake Express Ferry journey

Published Sept. 18, 2017

Our first stop on a long road trip east? A 15-minute drive to Bay View to board the Lake Express Ferry. The two-and-half-hour trip not only saved us navigating Chicago on a Friday morning, but was also great fun in itself. And there's definitely something to be said for arriving in Michigan ready to go with a full tank of gas.