Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sydney Hih...

It's character remains hidden inside...

This montage was made from Images of posters inside Sydney Hih when it was open to the public during the last week in August, 2009. Neil Gasparka prepared several rooms in Sydney Hih as an information center and museum of the Park East public art exhibit, which was funded by the Milwaukee Arts Board and arts group IN:SITE. I'm happy that I had the opportunity to take interior photos of this Milwaukee landmark.

The original building was the first brick commercial building in Milwaukee, built in 1876 by a pioneering surgeon, Nicholas Senn.

In 1971, the Cream City brick building was purchased by Sydney Eisenberg and painted its (locally) famous multi-colored patchwork. But Sydney Hih’s real value is not in its architecture — it’s in the fantastic cultural scene that lasted for decades.

It’s a place of legend for local artists and musicians, many of whom lived in makeshift apartments and shared bathrooms to get by. Nirvana, Soundgarden and The Smashing Pumpkins played the Unicorn before hitting it big. Theatre X had some of its earliest rehearsals in the building. Artists like Prophet Blackmon made and sold his art there, too.

(Information from JS Online articles by Mary Louise Schumacher.)

At this time, Sydney Hih still stands and the Palomar is no more. Across the street, the planned 30 floor Moderne is working out a deal with the City of Milwaukee to complete its financing. Sydney Hih remains empty, void of any sustainable infrastructure - an enigma in the Park East Corridor.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now that the Sydney Hih has been given historic preservation status, what do you think would be an appropriate use for it? Should the era of Dr. Senn or that of the counter culture be emphasized?

Alex