I moved to Racine, Wisconsin in the summer of 1970 when I was six years old. We lived in a beautiful big white house on a brick street at 1405 College Avenue, and I lived there until I was eighteen years old. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t think of Racine, even though I now live far away. For some reason, Racine has a huge amount of history for such a small place, and I’ve enjoyed collecting lots of different history books, pictures, and stories. Now I’m putting as much as I can on the web in hopes of meeting other Racine historians.
Back in August of 1996 I was visiting Racine and was walking through the old downtown taking pictures. In the 300 block, I noticed a closed-up door with Leonard Studio set into the entrance way. Later on, I was looking through Ead’s Illustrated History of Racine and came across an advertisement for Leonard’s Studio at the same address. Apparently it was a well-established photo studio with “A Lady always in attendance” to put the women of 1884 at ease. On a hunch, I looked through my 1940 Racine phonebook and found, at the same location, a Harry J Leonard doing commercial photography — specializing in work “Out of Studio” for legal purposes. So, over at least a 52 year span, someone in the Leonard family was taking pictures in Racine.