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The Future of Milwaukee’s Past

All that is old is new again is a long-standing saying for a reason.  Two months into 2016, it is rather amusing to find out what 1916 had in store for Milwaukee and the world.

In Milwaukee, Dan Hoan, of the socialist party, was elected mayor of Milwaukee, a seat he kept until 1940.  He worked diligently with the new Sewerage Commission of Milwaukee to build better drains, contain water and encouraged the production of a new product:  Milorganite which was first bagged in 1916 but not sold as fertilizer until the early 1920’s.

The elegant Pabst tradition of hand-tying blue silk ribbons on the bottle necks of its famous beer came to a halt because of a global shortage of silk.

The very first PGA Championship was held at Siwanay Country Club, New York.  While 2016 doesn’t have any major golf events in line for Milwaukee or Wisconsin, 2017 does when Erin Hills hosts their first US Open in June and Whistling Straits prepares for the Ryder Cup event in 2020.

Boeing took off for the very first time in 1916.   The list of companies not only based in Milwaukee but all over Wisconsin who have made pieces and parts for Boeing for the last 100 years is many, many pages long.

The very first supermarket opened in 1916, Piggly Wiggly, in Memphis TN.  In 2016 Milwaukee will see Kroeger enter the market as its purchase of  Roundy’s Supermarkets is completed.

Coca-Cola was distributed nationally for the very first time in 1916 and is still going strong.

Boy Scouts of America formed as a result of an ongoing national campaign to ensure America always be ready.  And, they continue to always be prepared.

An Arab revolt led by the radical Sherif Hussein occurred, undermining the Turkish Empire.  And, they are still fighting.

Wrigley Field in Chicago made its debut as home of the Chicago Cubs.  While it may seem like it should be the oldest MLB park, Fenway actually has them beat by 2 years.

Enrico Caruso recorded ‘O Sole Mio” for Victor Talking Machine Company.  Will 2016 be the year of the “Driverless Car”?  Will 2016 be the year that Wisconsin is completely Wi-Fi enabled?   Will your Amazon package drop out of the sky onto your doorstep?

“Don’t Waste it, Save it” was a national campaign aimed at reducing waste and reining in what was called “rampant consumerism”.  Yes, that was in 1916.  One of the outcomes of this effort were war gardens, later called Victory Gardens.  Milwaukee’s efforts at bringing back urban community gardens are worth many cheers.  Victory Gardens of Milwaukee, Alice’s Garden, Will Allen’s Growing Power and so many other organizations work tirelessly and passionately to reclaim the soil and offer healthy treats for those who catch gardening fever.  And, many of them are growing species of hops not grown in Wisconsin since the blight of the 1840’s knocked them out.

As we move forward in 2016, let us remember the words of Captain Pabst, “All’s well and the goose hangs high!”

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