Bertha Zamudio

by Jackie Reid-Dettloff, photograph by Melody R. Carranza “The Mexican on Pierce Street.” Bertha Zamudio smiles at the title her friends gave her when she first moved to Riverwest.

From grade school in Mexico City to high school in Chicago to college in Racine to community organizing on Milwaukee’s south side, Bertha moved steadily northward for the first 23 years of her life. But when her first child was born, Bertha stopped moving. She settled in a little house on the 2900 block of North Pierce in 1976 and she has been here ever since.

…….Continue Reading Edwin Bandurski

Edwin Bandurski

by Ellen C.Warren, photograph by Melody R. Carranza

Some people just like it where they are.

“I was born October 14, 1921 downstairs, in the bedroom,” Edwin Bandurski reports with a little chuckle. This month he will celebrate his 85th birthday upstairs from the Polish flat where he first entered this life in the house built by his maternal grandfather, Vincent Lassa, in 1907. “It will be one hundred years old next year!” he proudly notes.

…….Continue Reading Mark Caldwell

Mark Caldwell

by Ellen C.Warren, photograph by Melody R. Carranza

Mark Caldwell looks like an ordinary guy. A Riverwest ordinary guy, that is. Dred-locked and fresh-faced, with a pleasant demeanor, you probably wouldn’t really notice him until he opened his mouth. Then you’d quickly discover that the word ordinary would probably never land in the same sentence with his name.

…….Continue Reading Jim Albrecht

Jim Albrecht

by Ellen C.Warren, photograph by Kurt Johnson

If Riverwest ever starts its own historical society, they may find Jim Albrecht’s memory to be their greatest asset. Talking with him is like taking several giant steps back into a time when life was simpler, but brimming over. The streets of his youth were lined with flourishing factories, shops, lumber yards, and lots and lots of railroad tracks. Everyone had jobs because everything was right here in their own backyards.

…….Continue Reading