For the third weekend in September, the City of Milwaukee has played host in the past for a couple of years in an event called Doors Open Milwaukee. Now, check this. This is the event where many Milwaukeeans go behind the scenes at Milwaukee’s well known buildings, arenas, structures and most of all, landmarks that we drive, play, work, and also socialize each day. No question, this was an open house in a unique type of way to have the city to “open up” and discover the side of Milwaukee that should be explored.

This year, it was my first opportunity to explore. In the past, I’ve read about it, seen the pictures and heard the stories. But now, I get my chance to explore, and re-explore 3 different sites that I highlighted.

The first was the Sherman Park Senior Living Center. For those that forgotten, this in the past was Peckham Middle School, and later on it was my former Middle School of Jackie Robinson. For the record, I was a student at Jackie Robinson back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. And graduated back in 1991. And plus I used to called it the “Lion’s Den” due to the fact that Robinson’s mascot was the Lions. And the colors were Blue and Yellow, and the school used to have different “families” according to each homeroom and floor. For you old Robinson Lions out there: FAMILY 3!!!!!!

The school turned structure was completely different than my days at Robinson. But the corridors I used to walk through remained the same. The areas where I toured was full of short apartments for seniors. Nothing but washers/dryers, combined bedrooms, living spaces, fitness rooms and a media center that used to be one of the boiler rooms. There were also items encased in glass ranged from office signs, a huge bill board of the area when the school was built, projectors, a big artwork of Barack Obama, an office for Gorman Construction, pictures from events via the archives, and other useful artwork. The Library where I used to have my books on, is still intact, but it was converted to a short lounge. The Auditorium in the facility was the still the same when I left in 1991, but aged overtime. The former cafeteria is now a hallway that houses more visual memorabilia of the school plus an elevator. Back in my day, there was no elevator! And the Gym where I had my recess stuff, it now houses salons, and barber shops for the residents. Talk about total change! And I also heard that most of the senior residents that live in the new area, used to be students at Robinson/Peckham during it’s hey day.

The second site of my first time visitation: The U.S. Bank Building. Now I’m assuming that everyone knows about this structure. It was built back in the 1970’s and had gone through name changes of First Wisconsin, Firstar, and now, U.S. Bank. And still remains the tallest building in the city and state. Still, the iconic building continues to attract both locally and nationally. For this occasion, the one true thing about this area: is the observation deck. For many years, the deck was closed off to the public due to business, but during this event, it gives an open view for the city residnets to see all of Milwaukee from the four areas: The Lake Shore, The South, The Downtown area, and the North Side. I was in amazement and blessed (yes BLESSED) to get my photograph skills on to take pictures and have them on storage. This was, to me one of my must do lists that I had to do while staying and living in the Milwaukee Area. And of course it was long line to wait, and going up an freight elevator up 41 flights. And just for those who want to know and should know, the U.S Bank Center does not have a 13th floor! Just to be clear!

Finally, after church, I visited a church. One of the oldest United Methodist Churches in the city, Summerfield was my final stop of my first time of doing the Doors Open Milwaukee. The church itself still has it’s old school surroundings dating back to the 1900’s. But also the church goes back to the late 1890’s during it’s founding. During my visit, the best view was the sanctuary that had the old structures, and it had some new digs. The windows are a classic that fit the mold of the structure, and overview. Plus with me being part of the UMC, I had to drop by and show them some love and support. But mostly, we networked as United Methodists!

Overall, I have enjoyed the overall structure and behind the scenes looks of this event. And mostly it’s just the new beginning for at least “something to do” in a city that leans identity. But it’s the Brew City and even in an event like this, makes you realize that there is more than meets the eye of exploration.


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