Wednesday evening Ruth and I went down to Downer Avenue, to see an author speak at Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee's best bookshop. My brother, Daut, met us there as well. John Eastberg, senior historian at the Pabst Mansion, and author of the new book, The Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion: An Illustrated History, gave a talk on his book, and along the way, held forth on not only the Pabst Mansion itself, but also Captain Pabst, one of the great beer barons of nineteenth century Milwaukee, and on some of the interesting stories in the lives of those who lived in the mansion in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Once upon a time, Grand Avenue, what is now Wisconsin Avenue, was lined with dozens of mansions, from around 9th Street up to around 35th Street. That stretch of Wisconsin Avenue today is hardly a district of Milwaukee's high society, as any Milwaukean knows, but at the turn of the century it was a picture of Victorian luxury at its best. The Pabst Mansion is one of the few mansions of Grand Ave. built in that era which survive at all, and the only one left that is still preserved in its interior detail. It is one of Milwaukee's living treasures, a testament to Milwaukee's past, and indeed, to its present commitment to and pride in its beauty and cultural integrity. After his talk, Eastberg took some questions, and then sat for a book signing. My brother picked up a copy for his church's fundraiser "Sweetheart Auction." Incidentally, Mr. Eastberg not only signed the book for the auction, but also volunteered to give a few tickets for tours of the mansion to the auction as well. The book's price is a bit out of my league, but it is certainly on my reading list.
It is always good to spend an evening with an author, especially a local historian, like Mr. Eastberg. I very much appreciated his talk, for I learned much I did not know (not a big accomplishment in my case).
It was an evening fit for C-Span's Book TV. Many thanks to Daniel Goldin, proprietor of Boswell Book Company, for graciously hosting this event at his fine store.