Old photos from the early 1940's and on a farm in Newton, Wisconsin
Old photos from the early 1950's and 1960's
Carl & Doris new Wheels
Please overlook the quality of the pictures as they are older than dirt. I will work on improving them when I have more time.
Dick Hirschmann, Rudy Hamann,Tommy Martin, and I were regulars at the old Riverview Roller Rink. I worked as a bartender at Riverview for a while. Tended bar on skates. I would skate behind the bar and serve drinks. The manager, Joe, (and I apologixe for not remembering his last name) would skate backwards during the free skates and keep order. When it was time for the dances he would get behind the bar and I would skate the dance session. Back then we did the Carnival Tango, the Waltz, and the Highland Shotish. I also worked at a few other bars in Milwaukee that had live western music. One place I did not work at but did frequent quite a bit was the Peanut Shack. They had hot salted in the shell peanuts and most of the costomers played some type of string instrument. There was a jam session every night. Eat Peanuts, drink beer and listen to good music. What a great memory. When my Mother and Dad bought their bar I also worked there on party nights. One thing about the roller rink, The stage had a Wurlitzer
Organ on one side and a Hammond Organ on the other side.The Organist was an older gentleman that had played in Milwaukee theaters for silent films. He would use one for dances and the other for free skates. Because I worked there I had a chance to go behind the walls on the end of the building. The pipes for the Wurlitzer were about two stories high and put out some beautiful music.
I am the only one left from this group. When I visited Rudy Hamann in Florida a few years ago he gave me these old pictures from when we were young. Rudy succumbed to pancreatic cancer September 5, 2003 and I want to dedicate this site to him. He was the friend I would wish every young boy had. I was the Nerd with thick glasses but he became a friend. He taught me to drive, both a car and Harley, and helped me get my first car. He took me hunting and fishing. Showed me how to set up a primitive campsite and live in the woods. We rebuilt motors together, traveled the state together, and shared many adventures. I am going to post more pictures and try to bring some of your memories back. No matter how young or old you are try to preserve your memories as time keeps moving faster as you age and some things are lost. Here's to you Rudy, with a paper cup of Berrycup Wine. (Which we would lay on the beach and drink at night.)
In 1948 I was a 10th Grade student at Rufus King High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I did not have many friends as I was small, scrawny, and wore thick glasses. Kids can be cruel with the name calling and I stayed to myself when I was not working in my father's printing shop. I started working there in 1942 when most able bodied men were drafted for the war effort. I started going to the Rivervier Roller Rink when I had off and found I liked skating and was good at it. A few of the girls would actually skate with me because I was able to do the dances. I always took the streetcar and then the bus to get to the rink and home again. One night I started to talk to a skater I met, (I do not remember how we met or if we were introduced by a mutual friend.) He was several years older than I and we just seemed to hit it off with mutual likes. This was Rudy Hamann.
One night he gave me a ride home as it was one of the bitterly cold Wisconsin storms. He had a hunting trip planned and asked me if I wanted to go along. My Father had a bird dog and did some hunting with his friends but I was never invited. I told him I had no equipment but was told he had all the camp stuff and I would not need anything. This was the start of many trips to hunt and fish. Rudy overlooked the fact that I was did not know anything about camping, hunting, or fishing. He was a patient teacher and showed me how to set up a camp. Then he taught me about using a gun. (He had an extra I could use until I got my own years later). It was the same with fishing. We went to Door County when the Smelt were running and then did the same in Milwaukee at the Government Pier. Then we went to Hurley and Plum Lake and hunted. Rudy worked at Evinrude Motors and when he was working on his outboard motor or his 1937 Ford he always took the time to fill me in on what we were doing. Years later he and I rented a
vacant 5 car garage building and set up shop as auto repair experts. He was the expert and I was the helper. I have seen him paddle the boat to a deserted dock when there was motor trouble and set the motor on the dock, take it apart, fix the problem and resume our fishing.
We took one trip down the Flam-beau River or Flow-age in a canoe. We parked one car (Rudy had two 1937 Fords) downstream and had his brother takes us up river with the canoe and supplies. We spent three days on the river and set up camp on the bank at night. One day we were on the bank cooking when we heard shouting. Someone had tipped over and was in the river. We went out and got him and salvaged what we could find of his supplies. He dried at our fire and was thankful that some one else was on the river. We also saw a Log lodge and about 6 cabins on the bank. They were deserted and overgrown with weeds. I did not think of taking a picture of them and do not know if we even had a camera back then. They looked like a beautiful place when it has first built and cleaned up. Later we found out that the State DNR purchased the place and shut it down so that the area would remain a wilderness. It probably became Flam-beau State Park. On the subject of deserted places, Rudy found a deserted mansion on Lake
Michigan. It was on the north side of Milwaukee and we went in one night to look at it. It was a very large 3 story house and had a pool next to it. The pool had weeds growing in the cracks in the bottom. On the lakeside there was a stair way in the landscaping that went down to the lake front and beach. Next to the beach was a house that was probably used to change or dry off. I have wondered many times as to what the story was behind this mansion. Why was is deserted? Who left to just go to ruin?
We traveled to motorcycle rallies that Harley-Davidson had in Wisconsin on Rudy's Harley. Back then the rallies were just starting and probably drew 100 riders. On warm summer nights the bike riders would gather on the park side on Lincoln Memorial Drive and lay on the grass or cross the street to swim in Lake Michigan. Then all the bikes would crank up and go out of the city limits to the Milwaukee County beer joints. Eventually Rudy helped me get my own Harley as he did my first car. That car was a 1933 Model B Ford with a Rumble Seat. Just the thing for Wisconsin Cold Winters. Later I found a 1937 Ford that would hardly run. Rudy looked at it and told me to go ahead and buy it. I think it was $65.00. When we got it to his house he pulled the intake manifold off and found 2 broken valve stems. He replaced them with some parts he had in his garage and it ran like a top.
A friend of mine, Jimmy Martin, was a Rodeo Clown for Lee Serkowski. Lee hired me to haul tractor trailer loads of hay from Wisconsin to south Illinois and Tennessee. I would haul horses and mules back on the return trip. In the summer Lee would put on Rodeos at small mid-western fairs. Jimmy would work as a clown and also put on an act during the breaks. He got where he was very good with a Bull-Whip. He would cut cigarettes from my mouth (you are dumb when you are young) and pieces of paper from my hands. I would ride in the opening parade and fill in on saddle and bare-back bronc riding if they needed another body. I also did some bull dogging (Steer Wrestling) and road the shovel for entertainment. I was not very good but did what I could. Jimmy made enough to keep us in hamburgers and beer and it was two great summers.
MORE TO COME
While looking through old photos we found these. It brought back a lot of memories. Hopefully it will do the same for you. Save your photos and mark information on the back.Someday you will thank me for that advice. I have a shoe box full of photos that were my Dad's from his tavern. I recognize some of the subjects but wish he had marked them. Please click on the Thumbnails to see enlarged photos.
Camping at the mouth of the Brule River at Lake Superior. We stayed for 10 days. Had a kerosene heater in the tent. We fished, hunted, explored, and just had a great time
Another view of our camp at Lake Superior. when we returned to this spot 3 years later the county had bulldozed a road to it and it was covered up with people having picnics and family outings. When we first came in there was no road and we had to cut a few trees to get the 1937 Ford in.
Another improvised Deer Hunting Camp. This was the quick camp. Just open the doors and set the cots up. Then drape a canvas over the opening to keep the rain out.
Fishing with a Bow in the Horicon Marsh. We would tape a spinning reel to the front of a bow and shave an arrow thinner on the end so that when it hit something the shaft would float free of the tip.
A Ranger station at Pembine, Wisconsin after a bear hunt. This was a state sponsored bear hunt.I think they were so prevalent that they were becoming a nuisance.
A bow hunting club during deer season in Wisconsin. All there were at that time were wooden long bows. I never heard of a compound bow until years later.
One of our Bikes back then. Remember that Harleys had the shift next to the gas tank. In the evening about 50-100 bikes would gather on Memorial Drive which was between the city and Lake Michigan. There were beaches along the east side and grassy picnic areas on the other side. After a while they all would start and head for the Beer Joints on the edge of Milwaukee.