A few weeks ago I visited the Milwaukee Public Library and found they had a variety of “fire insurance” maps going back to the 1880′s. These maps were produced by the Sanborn Company in order to provide insurance underwriters detailed information relative to the construction and fire risks of buildings in designated areas.
The maps are too large to makes copies, but I did snap some pictures with my iPhone. The picture below shows an overlay of my great great grandparent’s block in 1894 on top of the current view taken from Google Earth. The large building is the Bradley Center, home of the Milwaukee Bucks. I wonder if Milwaukeeans have a feel for how much their city has changed over time. I’m not a Luddite, but I’ve seen pictures of Milwaukee’s second ward from the late 1800′s and I don’t know that we’ve improved the city by tearing those buildings down only to replace them with parking structures.
Within a two block radius, the only remaining buildings from their era are Turner Hall and some buildings on Old World 3rd Street.
I wonder what Fritz & Dora would think about seeing the Bucks and Metallica.