Todd and Jason Wallace

Todd and Jason Wallace in the driveway of 1405 College

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.



Here is a nice postcard from 1914 of the lighthouse at the entrance to the harbor. I especially like how beaten up the boards are on the boardwalk level. I’m guessing that the upper walkway has cast iron frames with a wooden walkway up top. Why have two levels? Because the waves are so high at times?

A real photo postcard from E. A. Bishop of Monument Square dated 1906. I don’t remember seeing that many of these photos with the electrical wires going across, but I know there were a lot of wires for a long time. Here are the signs I can see on the stores from left to right: Clifford Dentist, something Shoe Store, 528 Page’s Cigars, Hahn’s something, Kearney and Thompson Law Offices.

Monument Square, 1952. Looking south.

Hotel Racine, 1905

Hotel Racine, 1905

Christiansen family, ca. 1920, "Dalmatian dog"

Christiansen family, ca. 1920, “Dalmatian dog”

Father Matthew's Hall, 1906. Postcard by E. A. Bishop.

Father Matthew’s Hall, 1906. Postcard by E. A. Bishop.

Train arrival postcard, 1907

Train arrival postcard, 1907

Fishing schooner in Lake Michigan, 1911

Fishing schooner in Lake Michigan, 1911


Winslow School, 1910

Winslow School, 1910


1920s snow scene in Racine

1920s snow scene in Racine. The car’s hood ornament has an M on it — could that be a Mitchell Motor Car?


Two young ladies in their buggy, Horlick Springs, Racine, Wisconsin, 1908

Two young ladies in their buggy, Horlick Springs, Racine, Wisconsin, 1908


Northwestern Railway Station on State Street, 1913

Northwestern Railway Station on State Street, 1913

Swedish Carpenters, 15th & College, Racine, WI

Swedish Carpenters, 15th & College, Racine, WI

Looking west past the chapel on your right

At Racine College (Dekoven Foundation) looking west past St. John’s Chapel on your right

Beautiful picture of Sixth Street by Racine History reader @jentorres

Map of the Village of Racine, 1843, from Racine, The Belle City by Alice Sankey. Notice that “Fulton Market” appears to be where D. P. Wigley is now — seems like a good place for a big market building, doesn’t it?


Featured photo:

Leonard’s Studio advertisements and entryway

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.

1974 picture taken on front porch of 1405 College Avenue. Back row: Terry Peterson (neighbor from across the street), unknown. Middle row: Chris Harris (my best elementary school friend), Jason Wallace (my brother) Front row: Wrye Martin, Todd Wallace, unknown. I think we were supposed to be pretending that we were cold.

83 thoughts on “Home

  1. I am looking for archival information of Racine Kiwanis Youth Symphony. We are celebrating our 60th anniversary this year.

    • Hi, I noticed your last name is Baran. That was my maiden name. My grandparents Stanley and Clara Baran owned the Baran’s Club 1800 on the corner of 1800 Mead St. It was a family type of bar that served sandwiches along with drinks, and had a pool table and a jute box.They had four boys – Marty, Stanley (my dad), Mel and Benny. Just wondering if by chance we are related?

  2. I just found your site and it is great. I have many vintage photos from Racine in the late 1800s through WWI and beyond. I would be happy to share them electronically if I can do so. I just recently retired and am committing a good deal of time to this project. Is there a way for me to send you photos for posting and sharing with others?

        • Hi Todd, my name is Dan Vine lived on Wisconsin avenue 1400 block from about 72 to 77, My best friend lived on that corner house. I don’t know the address and then they were the spring horns that lived on the west side. I don’t remember the address. Maybe about 1407

    • Do you have any of college ave. We live in 1702 built by Jonathan T Wentworth 1881
      We have lots of Racine post cards and others as well.

      • Well, I grew up in 1405 College Ave., and I have several postcards of College Ave. 1702 sounds interesting. Do you know more of its history?

        • My grandmother did domestic work and I remember a family she worked for in the 13 or 1400 block of College Avenue in the 50’s. Their last name was Leach. They had a son named Peter. For some reason, I think Mr. Leach worked for the gas and electric company.

        • I was born in Racine and lived at 1619 College Ave. and went to Winslow School. Does anyone remember Paul’s Grocery store in 17th Street? Went there for 10cent popsicles every day in the summers!

      • I grew up at 1705 Wisconsin Ave. 1701 College was the home of a gentleman last name of Strom who was associated with Nelson Brothers and Strom, a Racine manufacturing outfit. I believe the company is still in business. In 1970 the kids of the neighborhood called this elderly gentleman “grampa.” He allowed us to hang out in the second floor of his garage. In his basement was a workshop full of wonders including a large working lightbulb he made himself.

    • I was born in Racine, and would love any history and pictures of my hometown. Mom and Dad were both born there as were my older sister and brother. Thank you.

  3. I am looking into the history of Racine from 1930-1950 on behalf of my late step-father, Robert B Clouse (Denison IA, 1928) His mother Hazel married to Byron Clouse, worked at Horlick’s after Byron’s untimely death in ~1944. Bob died in 2007 and I am writing his biography. Bob directed “Enter The Dragon”, released in 1973 – a Bruce Lee film that brought him brief fame and fortune. Any help would be appreciated. Celeste

  4. My grandfather Joseph Denman worked 50 years with Horlick Malted Milk Co. starting in England and relocating to Racine with the Co. He also played on the Horlick Soccer of which I have a picture which even includes Mr. Horlick. I also remember Horlick driving his electric car down Carlisie Ave. past my house.

    • My great-grandfather was Mr. Horlicks personal chauffeur. My grandma has pictures of those two leaning on the car drinking whiskey together. I will try to find them to post along with other 1930/40s era pictures

  5. The City Bus Lines in the 40’s were : #1Washington- Douglas #2 Taylor -North Main #3 Grand & State #4 West 6th.- Geneva #5 Oak Park

  6. I.m looking for info from Racine My Great Grandfather owned Luedtke Bros Garage. If any body has pics please post

  7. Hello-I am trying to locate any information on Alfred C.Barry-He is my GG Grandfather-Do you happen to have information about him? He was the head of the State Education dept. in the 1850’s, Civil War Vet-Chaplain and Minister. Would you know his address when He lived there? Later in life he went on to live in Lodi, Wisconsin where he passed in 1888. Any information would be appreciated-Thank You (Any pictures of course would be great)

  8. Hi Todd

    I, too, think of Racine almost every day. I was born there in 1945, and lived there for most of my life. I now live in NM, but Racine still holds my heart. I have been working on my ancestry for several years now, and have been going through my family pictures. If I find any that might interest you I’ll scan and email them to you. I recently saw a picture of the interior of a restaurant called Hanseh’s Restaurant. I’d like to know where it was. At first I thought it might have been a spelling error, and should have been Hansche’s Restaurant…but I really doubt that that’s the case. Does it sound familiar to you? Also, I have a friend named Penny Grill who lived at 1511 College Ave…still does, for that matter. Her father was an artist…so is she. Big age difference between you and us, but thought you might have heard the name of Andre Joseph Grill.

    • Donna, it was located in the Savoy Hotel on 1937, on Main St. Haven’t determined whether it was 100 or 200 block. Think it was 100 block

    • Dear Donna Knudsen Jurva,
      It is Sept.14, 2019 now. I read your entry of July 21, 2014. I too have wonderful memories of good times in Racine.
      When my son Todd, I and our family lived at 1405 College in the 1970s & 80s, I recognized Andre Grill when he passed me working in my garden and we always spoke. I knew he was an artist, had a wife and daughter. I think at that time Penny was in NYC. In the late 80s I became better acquainted with Mrs. Grill.
      She was at then a widow and very kind & helpful to me.
      I would love to see paintings by both Mr. Grill and Penny. Is there a website?
      Sincerely, Mary Anne Wallace Hoadley

  9. Interesting. I have in the past worked with some of Jeanette Schroeder ‘s diplomas and certifications at The Racine Heritage Museum. Un fortunetly at this time, a (very long running list) of these Very Oversized Objects must first be typed up and added to a log before these documents can be viewed. I hope that the people of Racine will get to see them sometime in this decade……

  10. Does anybody know a gentleman by the name of Floyd that was employed at the Clark gas station on 14th st in the 70’s? I am 36 yrs old and just found out that he may possibly be my father’s biological father. Floyd has passed away but in not sure when and my father has passed away as well. Any information would be great.

    • Yes, both my husband and I remember Floyd. I was born in 1947 at St. Mary’s. My husband and I married in 1966 in college. My husband was in there all the time because he bought a Peugeot 1960. Nobody would fix it in Racine. Someone told him to go ask for this guy named Floyd. He seemed old as we were in our early 20’s.
      He took the car in and Floyd looked at it. After a lot of “hemming and hawing” about this strange French car, he said he thought he could do it. In a few days it was done to our amazement. My husband began work as a chemist at S.C. Johnson in 1967. He went back to Floyd often just to talk cars. We moved to Ft.Worth in 1979 for a job offer at General Dynamics ( now Lockheed Martin). Racine is a huge part of my family. I have traced both sides of my family. Everything on my mother’s side is Racine. My husband was born in Hillsdale, MI but moved to Racine at 1 year of age. His father who had been in the Navy WWII was a Linotype operator at the Racine Journal Times.
      My husband remembers Floyd well but they didn’t talk family. It was all cars old and new. I know this does not reconcile your question but take heart that there was a man name Floyd who at the time was older than our parents and dared to fix a French Foreign Car.

    • If the Clark station you are referring to is the one that used to be just north of Johnson Wax. It’s a good maybe. My uncle Cesseros’ younger brothers owned a liquor a block or two east of the station right next to Bernhards bar. Johnson Wax tore down everything the whole neighborhood. Floyd was always a very hard worker. W hat I remember most is that he had bowed legs and turned in absolutely terrible feet. He always looked like he was in a lot of pain; but that did not stop him from hard work. I grew up on the 1700 block of Park Ave. Good luck Mike

      • I remember that liquor store, and Bernhart’s and Kay’s Book store and Muchado’s mexican restaurant were all on that same block of 14th street. I also lived on 17th and Park ave. in the 70’s.

  11. I had a relative that belonged to the Racine Camera Club and we still have boxes full of very old pictures from Racine. Most are of relatives. But, I do have many firsthand historical items that are significant.

    • David Browne — I would love to do a page for the Racine Camera Club. Can you start me off with a couple of scans of your relative’s pictures? Then we can fill in the info about the club and your relative. Thanks!

  12. Oscar Jacobson was my Grandma’s first cousin and I have a book written exclusively about him. I’m a big Racine buff and I find it amazing how interconnected it was.

  13. I am looking for family to Peter C Sorensen (birth around 1889) who according to my information arrived New York July 14th 1911 with the ship Lusitania from Liverpool. He came from Denmark.
    He should apparently have been living in Racine in 1920, working for a spring factory.

    Any information about the person or a spring factory located in Racine in the period wiill be very welcome.

    • Do you have any idea of the name of the town your Peter Sorensen came from in Denmark? If it was Hjorring, we may be related…

  14. I grew up in Racine and attended Gilbert Knapp Elementary. The principal told me it was being torn down and a new one will be built. I would love to see the inside of it one more time. Mostly the hallways, art room, office, gym, and the library. Do the rooms still have radiators and fireplaces? Also where they buried the time capsule. It was to be opened on the 100th birthday. The principal told me they will open it when they have the new school built. I remember putting in the capsule a phone book and a Coca Cola can. Please help me! Thank you!

  15. I am looking to purchase photos of Racine, Wisconsin for my son. Is it possible to purchase copies of your photos of early Racine from you? Please advise, and thank you for your time.

    Elizabeth Sustachek

    • Hello Elizabeth:
      I don’t sell photos of early Racine, but there is an easy way to get them — buy old postcards from Ebay. Most sell for $5 or less. I have several framed postcards and I really like the way they look.

  16. My father Wm. Allen Gifford had the Progressive Dairy Products Company on Lathrop Ave. Jeannette Pugh was my mother. Gittings was my Grandmother’s name. These names are listed at the Racine Historical Society, I am sure. Great uncle John Jones owned Moher Jones hardware. Gifford school, Gifford Acres and Gifford Park named after Gifford. Al Gifford was president of many things in Racine and always led the 4th of July parade on his white horse. Millard W. Johnson owned Johnson Hendrickson Construction Co. , father of my husband Professor Millard W. Johnson Jr. We were all members of the First Presbyterian Church in Racine. Gifford’s are English. – Pugh’s are Welsh.

    • I grew up in Mr Gifford’s farm house on Dunkelow Rd & Hwy 38. Our family purchased the house from his family in 1963. We uncovered many treasures from the dairy left behind in the barns and on the property. That place holds some of my fondest childhood memories

    • For several years in the late 50s and 60s, I “helped” Mr Gifford with the parade. The two of us led the parade together. I was just a young kid and I was just so thrilled that he had asked me to ride with him. I rode a super big Chestnut Saddlebred. I still have the western saddle my m ruined, when she glues gold glitter all over it for the parade. Mr Gifford was just a gem…a very nice gentleman.

  17. Very interesting website! I am an amateur genealogist, whose mother was born in Racine in 1925. My great grand aunt taught in the public schools, and my grandparents and great grandparents lived there from about about 1890 to about 1960. I have a JPEG image of an old photograph, showing a police patrol wagon pulled by two horses, and the inscription states, “No. 52. Wright Photo. Part of the Parade, Racine, Wis. July 4th 06.” I would be happy to share this image, and would hope that maybe someone can identify the site and the people in the picture.

    • Hi Jim
      I too was born in 125 in Racine and lived there until I went into the Navy in 1943 after graduating from the then new Mitchell Juinior High and Washington Park High Schools. We lived on Deane Boulevard and seventeenth street. As a 5 year old kindergartner I “supervised” the paving of seventeenth street on my way to Knapp school.

      My grandfather was Charles Brietzke (he had the first garage in southeastern Wisconsin and in fact built a car from scratch which was steered with a lever not a streering wheel.

  18. I am researching the murder of a childhood friend. I was 7 or 8 years old when the murder happened around Easter of 1977 or 1978, I believe. She was about the same age and disappeared on her way home from St. John Nepomucene School on Green Street. My parents no longer remember any other details. Would you have access to any more information on this murder?

  19. Have you any information/photos of Wind Point or the lighthouse there? Spencer grandparents lived there in the20’s or 30’s TY

  20. in the late 60’s and early 70’s I remember a mini golf course across the street from the Dairy Queen on Douglas Ave, I can’t remember the name but it is now a parking lot for a church on the corner of Douglas and South St. Any information on this place ?

  21. hi
    just found your website im from racine but live elsewhere now very good haven’t looked at everything yet. I grew up on the northside of town

  22. I was trying to remember the name of a soda fountain type of place located somewhere near the square. Timeline of the 50’s & 60’s. Thank you

  23. I am researching the life of Geoffrey Simpson who was at Washington Park High School in the late 1940s and graduated in probably 1950. Any information would be gratefully received.

  24. Does anyone know where I can find history of Riverview Manor? it is now apartments located at 1403 W. Sixth St in Racine, WI.

  25. I was born in Racine, and would love any history and pictures of my hometown. Mom and Dad were both born there as were my older sister and brother. I was born in 1959, and we moved from there 5 weeks later.
    Thank you.

  26. My Paternal grandmother, Lila Alice Carre, was born in Racine on Jan 16, 1881. She worked at a lace factory there as a seamstress. She later met and married my grandfather (Louis Maybee), in Racine in 1889, then moved to Fresno, CA I would love to connect with anyone who may be related or have knowledge of her family as I know nothing about her side.

  27. My father’s family on Jacobson‘s department store on 16th St. I remember going to a bar at lunchtime with my dad to get a terrific beef sandwich… Does anybody remember the name of that bar? They had side family entrances I think. That was popular at that time, also there was a restaurant in somebody’s house where you went for breakfast or an early dinner I believe on Sunday and she had all her homemade pies on the kitchen counter does anybody remember what that was where that was who that was?. And I have not read anything about western publishing. When did it close? And the The president of western publishing I believe was Paul Lyle any history on the Laura family? I grew up on On main street and then move to Carlton Drive for my high school years at Horlick… We always passed a grocery store called Sam’s anybody know what happened to that? Thanks for this terrific site. I too miss the simple life in Racine. I live in Washington DC now which is not the ideal place to have brought up my children. It would have been much better to have brought them up walking through the zoo to go to school.

    A few of my classmates from 1964 graduation from Horlick are loooking at real estate in Racine on the water. We would love to come back… so consequently we are following all the goings-on in that wonderful little town. It seems like some of it has been frozen in time.. which is just what we’re looking for… Thank you for your information keep up the good work

  28. About USAAF Sgt. (Radio Operator) Kenneth LeRoy Petersen (‘Pete’) – from Racine city, Wisconsin (USA) – killed 3rd Febr. 1945 in Holland

    – We’re doing research about 9 airmen of 334th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), 95th ‘Red Feather’ Bomb Group (of 2nd A.D., 8th A.F. ‘Eightballs’), serving at US air station 119 Horham, in Suffolk (Britain), since Dec. 1944. This bomber team, flying in B-17F ‘Flying Fortress’ #42-102951 (call sign BG-‘Q’), made a successful emergency landing in the North Sea, off Texel island, in the Netherlands (NW Europe), after their 3rd operational flight over Nazi-Germany, and while their ‘ship’ was hit / damaged earlier by German flak over Berlin city. At least 7 men of the 9 crew climbed as survivors (!) on the wings of the slowly sinking bomber; hoewever, they all came under deadly gunfire of local stationed German navy soldiers (coastguards) in their ‘Atlantikwall’ defense line. One by one the US airmen were hit then, wounded of killed right away, slipping away in the cold waters of the North Sea, about 250 meters in front of the beach, nearby shore marker 26 km. (which nearby the ‘Slufter’ natural reserve area todat). Later most dead bodies were found washed up at the island beach, after the first high tide; and those men were buried later in the General Cemetery of Den Burg village, on Texel island (the Netherlands). One of them was the Radio Operator of the airplane, 24 year old Kenneth LeRoy Petersen (nicknamed ‘Pete’ by the other members). He came from Racine city, on Lake Michigan, in Wisconsin (USA), lived ever at 1834 Blake Avenue (and earlier at Ward 15 ?). He was a graduate of William Horlick High School (June 1941) and later, till his enlistment etc., he was employed at ‘Eisendrath Tanning Company’, in Racine too. He was a son of Simon Petersen (1891-1951) and of Alma J. Petersen (1893-1988), and he was a brother of Lester S. Petersen (1912-1937) and of Virginia L. Petersen (1918-1999); most of them rests today in the Graceland Cemetery (Section 10) in Racine city. And last of all: ‘Pete’ was engaged to be married with a local woman, named Ann Parish.
    – Today we’re are looking for next of kin, descendants of his nearest family members ever, and as named before in this text, and/or for local people, who are able to tell us more about him, maybe as a school boy, a sports club member, a ‘swimming mate’, or whatever. Because, maybe we can share (much more) information, images, etc., via email exchange.
    – Please, if is known more about him via your address, let is know (!). Give us at least an reply, via this medium (our own email address can not be published here, alas). We have collected many maps, pictures, images, texts, and even war diary fragments, all related to this story !

    Regards, greetings from Friesland / NL, Willem de Jong (volunteer WW2 air combat research).

    • Hello Willem:
      I’m sure we can find the information you’re looking for. I’m going to post this over on my Racine History group on Facebook. We have several experts there who can help with the research.

  29. Grew Up in Racine Wisconsin. I’ve lived on State St. My Grandmother and dad owned Peter Hansen’s Tavern is there anybody still around who remembers coming there

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *