Millie at the Juneau Restaurant in Milwaukee (1911)

When I bought this postcard, I assumed the Juneau Restaurant was in Juneau, Alaska.  Naturally, I was wrong.  The restaurant was attached to the Hotel Juneau in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The hotel was named for city founder Solomon Juneau, a French-Canadian fortune-seeker who arrived in the area in 1818.  (The state capital of Alaska is named after Solomon’s cousin, gold miner Joseph Juneau.)

The above photo was taken a year after the Hotel Juneau opened in 1910 in a five-story building constructed for apartments in the 1890s.  You can see images of the hotel in the 1920s and in 1947 in the collection of the Milwaukee Public Library.  The Hotel was demolished in 1964 to make room for the Juneau Square North Building.  In 2017 the Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons were built next door.  You can see the shiny new skyscraper in the foreground in this photo from the company’s website:

Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons

 

The postcard was sent by a woman named Millie to a woman in Switzerland whose name appears to be Rosa Tshamper-Binder.  On Ancestry, I found a Rosa Tschamper living in Aarau, the capital of the Swiss canton of Aargau.  The earliest record I found of her was from 1926, when she was working as a nanny (Kindermädchen).

Addressed to “Frau Tshamper-Binder in Strengelbach” (?):

Juneau Restaurant, Milwaukee 3

Other than L[iebe] Rosa, I can’t read Millie’s message below.  Maybe someone else will have better luck:

Juneau Restaurant, Milwaukee 4

 

Millie may be the woman marked with an X below, second from right.  I love the fact that the women on either side of her have notepads attached to their waist for taking down orders:

Juneau Restaurant, Milwaukee 2

 

They don’t look very pleased that their work was interrupted for a photograph.  On the other hand, Millie sent the picture to Rosa, so she must have been pleased with the way it turned out!

 

 

38 thoughts on “Millie at the Juneau Restaurant in Milwaukee (1911)

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    1. Thanks so much, Shayne! I bet there were a lot of other immigrants in the area, and she might have been able to speak other languages besides German. The four women do look hard-working, don’t they? I hope their work was rewarding, being in the heart of a growing, bustling city. They would have met some interesting people who were staying at the hotel. What would the women have thought of the gleaming skyscraper next door? I enjoyed connecting them to that new building which now defines the Milwaukee skyline.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi Brad, I think the ladies might faint if they saw that skyscraper! But seriously I agree with you that connecting a story and place from the past with what’s at the location presently is fascinating, not to mention a lot of fun!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. “Real Photo Postcards” were the social media of the time. You could “post” a photo of yourself–or your house or your cat–with a little note, and send it to a friend or relative. This photo of the restaurant was probably paid for by the owner, and he probably ordered a bunch to use as advertising and to show off the new restaurant. He probably gave each of the women a few copies. I haven’t seen another copy anywhere, though, so it’s impossible to say how many were made. Sometimes photographers would take pictures of businesses and then offer prints to the owners. Thanks for stopping by, Lin! 🙂

      Liked by 5 people

  1. Lovely photo – I love the understated advertising: “A good place to eat”.
    As for the postcard, this is probably doubly difficult to decipher for an English speaker as it is not only in German but written in the old style of German handwriting (known as Kurrent), where a lot of the letters look completely different to Latin script. It fell out of fashion in the 1940s. My mother, who started school after the war, wasn’t taught it anymore. It was however included in one of her first school books, and she learnt it for fun. And I learnt it from her, for fun (though it did come in handy later for my history studies). Which is lucky for you, as here is a transcript:
    “L. Rosa, Brief erhalten, es geht so ziemlich gut sonst nichts neues werde dir dann ein Brief schicken Grüße alle die deinen habe Jakob den ganzen Sommer nicht gesehen Es grüßt dich deine Millie”
    And here is the translation:
    “Dear Rosa, letter received, it’s going alright, nothing else new, will send you a letter, greetings to all of yours [i.e. family] haven’t seen Jakob all summer, greetings to you from Millie”

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Fantastic, thank you so much!! I wondered why I could never make out the handwriting on German postcards! English script can also be difficult, depending on the writer, because of the differences in the way cursive writing has been taught at various times. Millie doesn’t say anything, really, except that she hasn’t seen Jakob all summer. I wonder if Jakob was a relative of Rosa’s? On Ancestry, I found a Jacob Binder, born in 1867 in Switzerland, immigrated to the USA in 1884, living in Milwaukee by 1888 and still there in 1920. His occupation is “painter” in the “painting Cr” industry, which is probably painting contracting (house painting). In 1895 and 1905 he’s living in rooming houses with a lot of people with German names. Here are some, just for fun: Baumgartner, Wrobell, Pagenkoff, Grapeithin, Stange, Tetslaff, Graven, Seligman, Staub, Vennuth, Ehlers, Risch, Weisell, Rummel, Greis, Gruetner, Garl, Stowasser, Grier, Nanz, Rorpp, Manhardt, Groehl, Helperchen, Schwenck, Malusch, Ehlpet, Borenstein, Hsecklin, Luschstachel, Dieffenbach, Meyerhoffer, Bruckhansen, Lenz, Rheinganz. In 1920 he’s still unmarried, living with a married couple, Peter and Anna Kirsch, and their two children. Peter and Anna were both born in Wisconsin in 1885 but their parents were born in France, Germany and Luxembourg.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Brilliant, the whole story is coming together! Yes, that is the reason why handwritten German stuff from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries can be difficult to decipher. By the way, the address on the postcard is written in Latin script, so the American post office can read it.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. The script is lovely. I’m fascinated at the way they used to turn the cards sideways to write their note rather than the same direction as the address. It makes me smile that the restaurant made note to the public that it is “for ladies and gentlemen”, an interesting invite. I also wonder what “chicken Spanish” would be, perhaps a dish. I wonder what Spanish food in Wisconsin would have tasted like at that time. Great photo as always
    Brad!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The fancy lettering of “Juneau Restaurant” drew my eye to this card in the first place. Beyond that, the slogans could use a little work! 😀 With so many immigrants from central and northern Europe in the area, I was a little surprised by “Chicken Spanish.” Thank you, Suzanne!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Happy thanksgiving Brad! I hope it’s been a nice one for you. It was just quiet enough here, which is a good thing and I baked an apple crisp shortbread, also a good thing! 😊🍁

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Mmm, apple crisp shortbread sounds delicious! The crust is key to the success of apple pie. My mother made a pecan pie, and my sister made a coconut creme pie, which were both heavenly. Why don’t we do these things more often? (Notice the “royal” we, haha.) 😊

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Such beautiful handwriting on this postcard. Handwriting is something I’ve been noticing lately because mine is becoming increasingly sloppy!

    Also, the Hotel Juneau looks like it was THE place to stay in the 1920s and 1940s, judging by the archive photos.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Maybe the hotel had a speakeasy in the basement? 😀 I bet there were several movie theaters in town, and probably a musical theater or two, where traveling vaudeville acts could perform. The population was 374,000 in 1910, which is big enough to be a happening place!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I wonder if there is indeed a dish called Chicken Spanish in Spain, I said that because some dishes are named after a country or place and it makes you think it is an actual dish from that country but it actually isn’t, and I often find that amusing.🐔

    Liked by 2 people

      1. You too, that’s why I dropped in to see if I’ve missed any updates. 🙂
        One example I was thinking of is fortune cookies. When I was a child, I read or heard about it in books and movies, I was told it’s a Chinese food but I’ve never eaten or come across one in my life! It’s an American food 😂

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Haha, yes, it’s true! The concept originated in Japan, but became associated with Chinese restaurants in America. I think someone tried to introduce them into China from here but they didn’t catch on. 😄 You must not have ever visited the United States, or you would have seen one. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

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