Lecture Series

At the Door Admission: $10 | Seniors/Students with IDs: $5 | Members: FREE

About the Speakers

Matthew Jarosz – Studies for the Lake Park Arch Bridge.

Matthew Jarosz is an Associate Adjunct Professor of Architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where he is the coordinator of the Certificate in Preservation Studies program. Jarosz also created and directs the Historic Preservation Institute and has a private practice called JaroszLynch Architects that specializes in historic preservation and restoration. He has been a Milwaukee Historic Preservation commissioner for 24 years.’  See Event Details



Chris Winters – The Story of Wisconsin’s Flagship.

The S/V Denis Sullivan.
Chris Winters is a lifelong student of Great Lakes maritime history. Currently, the staff photographer at Discovery World Museum he has been for twenty-five years the official unofficial photographer of Wisconsin’s Flagship, the S/V Denis Sullivan. His award-winning book “Centennial: Steaming Through the American Century,” chronicling life aboard the century-old lake steamer St. Marys Challenger, and “The Legend Lives On,” a definitive account of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald were published in 2008 and 2015, respectively.  See Event Details



Dr. Richard Boyd – Dan Seavey. Great Lakes Pirate.

Dr. Richard J. Boyd, Ph.D. in microbiology and oceanography, has 60 years of applied experience in underwater disciplines, including commercial diving and salvage, shipwreck research, nautical archeology, and life support system design. As a founding member of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI #13), he has certified hundreds of scuba divers, consulted on several History Channel productions, and published dozens of articles on diving technology and maritime history. Among his clientele are various universities and governmental agencies, including NASA, Sea Grant, the Secret Service, National Park Service, FBI, Air Force Rescue, and U.S. Navy and its Seal Teams. He recently retired from Global Mfg. Corp., a major producer of specialized underwater equipment.

In the maritime history of the Great Lakes, only one lake captain was ever arrested by federal authorities for ”piracy on the high seas.” That mariner was Captain Daniel W. Seavey, who wandered far and wide across Green Bay and Lake Michigan, where his raucous exploits and pugnacious nature became legendary. A heavy drinker with a short temper, he was feared and avoided in most saloons and ports around the Lakes. Seavey was a man of many lawful talents including sailor, fisherman, stunt man, lumberjack and even federal marshal, but his dark side embraced that of a prizefighter, ruffian, sneak thief, polygamist, and con man. In 1908, he stole the small schooner Nellie Johnson at Grand Haven, Michigan, and was soon pursued by the federal gunboat Tuscarora, which eventually captured him off Frankfort. Arrested for piracy and taken to Chicago, Captain Dan faced a federal grand jury that failed to indict him and all charges were dropped. Clearly guilty of this theft, how he avoided conviction remains a legal mystery to this very day. Nonetheless, after that event, Seavey was branded as the infamous, “Dan the Pirate.”  See Event Details



Michael Schumacher – The Edmund Fitzgerald

Kenosha’s own Michael Schumacher has compiled an impressive body of work since he published his first book, a revealing biography of the beat poet Allen Ginsberg Dharma Lion in 1991. The prolific local author’s titles include biographies of musicians Eric Clapton and folksinger Phil Ochs, cartoonists Will Eisner and Al Capp, as well as filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola. In recent years, he has turned his talents to historical accounts of storms and shipwrecks on the Great Lakes, in Mighty Fitz: The Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald; Wreck of the Carl D.: A True Story of Loss, Survival and Rescue at Sea; and November’s Fury: The Deadly Great Lakes Hurricane of 1913.  See Event Details



Meg Jones – World War II Milwaukee

Meg Jones is a Milwaukee author, journalist and combat correspondent. She has been a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for 24 years and traveled to Iraq four times as well as to Afghanistan four times as an embedded reporter with Wisconsin troops between 2003 and 2014. She’s the author of “World War II Milwaukee” published in 2015 by The History Press.

Long before Japanese bombs rained down on Pearl Harbor, Milwaukee was the “Machine Shop to the World.” Thanks to the city’s large industrial base, factories quickly retooled and mobilized for wartime production. Harley-Davidson produced thousands of military motorbikes, and Falk Corporation churned out gears that turned the propellers on hundreds of ships. Locals sacrificed their lives for the cause—Mayor Carl Zeidler went missing at sea, USS Arizona captain Franklin Van Valkenburgh refused to leave the bridge of his burning battleship and Mildred Harnack joined the Nazi resistance movement and was executed on direct orders from Hitler. Embedded with German and American troops, Milwaukee journalists H.V. Kaltenborn, Louis Lochner and Dickey Chapelle sent dispatches from the front lines. Through past interviews and archival materials, author Meg Jones reveals these and other patriotic stories.  See Event Details



Brian Fette – Herman Buemming, Architect

New York Talent, Milwaukee Showcase
Herman Buemming was a Milwaukee native, educated at New York’s Columbia University, who worked for two leading New York architects. He was trained by the founder of the first architectural studies program in the United States. He studied architecture during the Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893 and was employed by no less than three members of its Board of Architects.

He refined his interior design skills by designing homes whose interiors were the work of George Mann Niedecken, whose local factory supplied the furniture for many homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

While his area homes demonstrate a fluency in every style of design, each bears the marks of a perfect sense of proportion honed in his curriculum of classical architecture. Buemming’s peak years were from 1896 to 1945. While he could have succeeded anywhere in the U.S., he chose to work in his native Milwaukee and to live in the home he designed on Newberry Boulevard.

Fette’s interest in Milwaukee architecture and history grew out of researching neighborhoods, homes and commercial buildings for Historic Milwaukee, Inc. This includes the 2016 tour of the Historic Water Tower Neighborhood known as Spaces & Traces as well as every year of Doors Open Milwaukee. Other neighborhoods researched include Concordia, Washington Heights, Riverwest, Brewer’s Hill, Shorewood, Layton Boulevard and this year, Glendale.

Originally a native of southeastern Michigan, he attended the University of Leuven, Belgium and is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University with post-graduate studies at Michigan State University. He moved to Milwaukee in 1987 to work in international business for area manufacturers. Brian, now retired, spent a career in product development and was director of strategic planning for a global manufacturer based in his native Michigan.  See Event Details



Matthew Prigge – Milwaukee Mayhem

Matthew J. Prigge is a freelance author and historian from Milwaukee. He is the author of four books, including the forthcoming Damn The Old Tinderbox: The Gilded Age Fire that Shocked America. He writes two weekly blogs for expressmilwaukee.com and hosts the weekly radio segment What Made Milwaukee Famous on WMSE radio 91.7. Prigge is currently working on his fifth book and engaging in a series of cozy events to promote Milwaukee Mayhem: Murder and Mystery in the Cream City’s First Century and Outlaws, Rebels, & Vixens: Motion Picture Censorship in Milwaukee, 1914-1971.

From murder and matchstick men to all-consuming fires, painted women, and Great Lakes disasters–and the wide-eyed public who could not help but gawk at it all–“Milwaukee Mayhem” uncovers the little-remembered and rarely told the history of the underbelly of a Midwestern metropolis. “Milwaukee Mayhem” offers a new perspective on Milwaukee’s early years, forgoing the major historical signposts found in traditional histories and focusing instead on the strange and brutal tales of mystery, vice, murder, and disaster that were born of the city’s transformation from lakeside settlement to American metropolis. Author Matthew J. Prigge presents these stories as they were recounted to the public in the newspapers of the era, using the vivid and often grim language of the times to create an engaging and occasionally chilling narrative of a forgotten Milwaukee.

Through his thoughtful introduction, Prigge gives the work context, eschewing assumptions about “simpler times” and highlighting the mayhem that the growth and rise of a city can bring about. These stories are the orphans of Milwaukee’s history, too unusual to register in broad historic narratives, too strange to qualify as nostalgia, but nevertheless essential to our understanding of this American city.  See Event Details



Carl Baehr – Milwaukee Street names and their origins.

Carl Baehr, a Milwaukee native, is the author of Milwaukee Streets: The Stories Behind their Names, and writes the City Streets column for Urban Milwaukee. He has written articles on other local history topics and has done extensive research for his upcoming book, Dreams and Disasters: A History of the Irish in Milwaukee. Baehr, a professional genealogist and historical researcher with an MLIS from UWM’s School of Information Science, gives talks on these subjects, particularly on the Lady Elgin Disaster, the Newhall House Fire and the Third Ward Fire; three events that helped shape the lives of the city’s Irish.  See Event Details