Urban Livery Stable

On a chilly Saturday night outside of the Pfister Hotel, I met Nick, a grey Percheron carriage horse. He stood patiently across the street from the hotel’s valets, ears curiously perked. He was kind and had dark brown eyes. Nick’s driver handed me a tub of cookies, and I couldn’t hand them to Nick fast enough. He shook his head up and down and searched my gloved hands for the very last crumbs. As his driver led him away for a picturesque stroll downtown, I vowed to visit him when he wasn’t on the clock.     Grant Chromy, owner…

Doors Open Milwaukee

Doors Open Milwaukee provides an outlet for the inquisitive Sept. 20-21. No longer will you have to stand with your face pressed to windows, wondering what’s inside. It also means you won’t have to concoct a ruse – like  walking innocently past security guards in staged business attire and heels, acting like you know exactly where you’re going while frantically searching for the elevator – just to take a look around the place. Flashback – Oklahoma City Petroleum Club in 2010 (a successful masquerade). Doors Open Milwaukee offers more than 150 buildings, bars and parks for the public to tour…

Wrecked Vessel in Walkers Point

Scientists determined the remains of a vessel that were found 20 feet below ground during the construction of New York’s One World Trade Center predated the American Revolution. The wood from the ship’s frame likely came from a Philadelphia-area forest, dating back to 1773. Here in Milwaukee, situated under the 1873-built Nazro Hardware Building at 170 S. Second St., lies a similar story. “Erected on land redeemed from the deep marsh, 20 feet below the floor of the basement lies buried, where it sunk, the hull of a wrecked vessel,” states Milwaukee of Today: The Cream City of the Lakes,…

Paranormal Activity at Pabst?

Photo by Mark Wahl A videographer contacted me and said because I was a historical “dork” like himself, he had something I might be interested in. I graciously accepted the compliment. Michael Brown has spent two years compiling scenes for a historical/haunted documentary called Haunted State: Whispers from History Past. He, along with a group of intrepid ghost busters, visited the old Pabst executive office here in Milwaukee and caught some startlingly ambiguous footage on camera. A few weeks later, he was ready to show the evidence to Pabst’s Best Place owner, Jim Haertel, so I tagged along. Jim told…

Moore Strong

I called Moore home last year, May 20. It was hard to focus on anything but the sky that day. It was pitch black even before noon, with only lightning flashes to interrupt the day-become-night. Tornado sirens alarmed at work, and the shelter was soon packed. The room was alive with chatter until the projector started up and Oklahoma City’s News 4 came on the screen. Intermittently between power outages, the screen showed an F-5 tornado ripping everything apart. Debris flew, and if it weren’t for the weatherman’s updates, we wouldn’t have recognized its location. The screen zoomed in on 149th and…