I was in Milwaukee yesterday for the announcement of the 2011 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. We had a terrific event with our local partners, pointing out the threat to a real national treasure: the National Soldiers Home Historic District. One of three homes built for Civil War veterans after Abraham Lincoln authorized them as one of the last acts of his presidency, the Milwaukee Soldiers Home is the only one to maintain the context of the historic buildings and landscape. One of the veterans who spoke at our event said that this place was critical to his recovery from PTSD, noting that the two words most associated with the site by veterans were “peace” and “serenity.” To lose such a place of healing would be a travesty.
On this trip my colleague Genell introduced me to another national treasure (though not endangered): Leon’s World Famous Frozen Custard. My, my! What a wonderful frozen custard. It was great to watch the employees pour a large bucket of milk into the machine to make the custard right on site. The result was beyond delicious. As the Wikipedia entry notes, Leon’s IS a Milwaukee landmark.
So on a day of celebrating a Civil War-era historic place, it is nice to remember that 1942 landmarks can be important as well.
More to come…