Preserving History, and Making it Accessible for Future Generations

Our history story is authentic, and uniquely South Milwaukee’s. We as a city need to do a better job telling it.

That’s why I was excited to hear about a new public-private partnership the South Milwaukee Historical Society, South Milwaukee Library and a local business leader (Jay Benkowski and Benkowski Builders) — one that you can also help with.

From the society …

One hundred and twelve rolls of 35 mm microfilm covering South Milwaukee newspapers from 1892 to 2006 are currently unusable because of a microfilm reader/printer failure.

The South Milwaukee Historical Society and the South Milwaukee Library have begun a project to copy the film digitally that will make research of the newspaper files much easier.

A local businessman, Jay Benkowski and his firm Benkowski Properties have generously agreed to match all new donations toward this project dollar for dollar. We hope to reach a total of $15,000 dollars, which would allow completion of the project.

Newspapers are considered a primary source of historical information about people and events. Their preservation and access is very important to researchers both today and in the future. Please help in achieving our goal of making these papers easily researchable.

We are a 501(c)3 Organization. Donations over $250 will be acknowledged by letter.

Send checks to: South Milwaukee Historical Society, 717 Milwaukee Ave., South Milwaukee, WI 53172

Thanks, Jay, for stepping up to support this effort!


Filed under South Milwaukee

4 responses to “Preserving History, and Making it Accessible for Future Generations

  1. Major (Ret.) Cheri L. Rumler

    Are the rolls of film damaged or is it just that the microfilm reader/printer on the fritz? You didn’t identify where the microfilm reader/ printer was located; therefore, couldn’t they be taken to the Milwaukee Public Library downtown (uptown actually) and be transposed on one of their pieces of equipment? Just wondering. I’ve contributed to the S.M. Historical Society in the past, but I’m one of those cost conscious types when it comes to donating for causes, especially those involving considerable costs. Your response would be greatly appreciated. –
    🇺🇸 Major (Ret.) Cheri L. Rumler

  2. Frank Gratke

    I can add some info to this.I checked out one. The South Milwaukee Library microfilm reader is gone. It was beyond repair.Been gone for years. The micro film is not the best quality and is old itself. Have check it out and took it to the the Cudahy library. The micro film a took was from a 1890’s South Milwaukee newspaper It was wonderful reading,. It was a weekly paper that was more of a street watcher reporting what they viewed from in front of a store front.
    The problem is it was not moved over very well, the newspapers had gotten old. before the filming and the film has gotten old.The library has done a very good job in creating a list of the micro films.This is going to be a difficult task.What would be great would be some blog articles from the film. It may be very old news but very interesting.
    How the world has changed. They reported sports events being played but did not report the score.

  3. RocketMom

    This is a worthy effort. I personally have used the microfische reader about 20 years ago to do research on Lakeview Elementary School. How the referendum was passed, and what the building originally looked like. It was a fascinating, yet an extremely tedious project that took hours of time sitting at the library. The film was really fragile (even back then). I strongly support this digital project to be done before the film disintegrates.

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