We all have moments from our past that we are not proud of. But sometimes that’s the stuff that makes for great stories. Hear historian and author Matthew J. Prigge dish all the juicy, salacious bits of Milwaukee’s hidden past while cruising down the Milwaukee River.
The Mondo Milwaukee Boat Tour on Thursday, June 27 will reveal true stories about the old downtown vice and brothel districts, deadly natural disasters, infectious disease outbreaks, mafia madness and a mass grave on the lakefront. Sounds like fun, huh? Hop aboard at 101 W. Michigan St. and enjoy a full cash bar, brats and snacks.
Prigge is a PhD student in the history program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has spent the last three summers leading tours of the city for the Milwaukee Boat Line. He got the name “Mondo Milwaukee” from the cult films of the ‘60s that showed short vignettes of weird stories. That’s what the tour will be like – weird, unbelievable bits of our city’s past.
“Seeing everything from the boat makes it a little more exiting and you get a really good view of the areas where these things happened,” insists Prigge.
Prigge had been researching movie theaters in Milwaukee and learned that a lot of them became X-rated movie houses and adult bookstores. This sparked his interest and because no one had really written about it, he began to dig deeper. Prigge’s own research and published writing about offbeat topics of local history include pornographic theatres, UFO sightings, Depression-era terrorism and early-1900s transvestism. Intriguing and surprising, to say the least.
“Mondo Milwaukee will give a history of the city that often goes untold. We’ll see infamous sites and hear bawdy tales of Milwaukee’s past,” reveals Prigge. “This is something that has never been attempted before and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The Mondo Milwaukee Boat Tour takes place from 9-11 p.m. and is for adults only. Purchase $15 tickets online or dockside the night of the tour. For more information and updates on the event, check the Mondo Milwaukee Facebook page.
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Images courtesy of Milwaukee Boat Line and Monda Milwaukee Boat Tour.