Graham Kilmer

Southside Bus Stops Get Nod to History

New paneling harkens back to when S. 27th Street was U.S. Highway 41.

By - Jan 22nd, 2021 04:21 pm
Historic U.S. Route 41 bus stop. Photo courtesy of MCTS.

Historic U.S. Route 41 bus stop. Photo courtesy of MCTS.

A series of bus stop shelters on S. 27th St. were redecorated with an eye to the street’s historic role.

The shelters were refitted with paneling remembering the historic U.S. Route 41.

Before Interstate 94, Route 41 was the major highway running north to south in Wisconsin connecting the metro areas of Chicago and Milwaukee. The designation dates back to 1926.

Even today, 27th Street is heavily used, and according to the Milwaukee County Transit System, it is one of the highest ridership corridors in the region.

One of the shelters is near the street’s intersection with W. Ohio Ave., the other two are at the intersection with W. Oklahoma Ave.

This small tribute to the transportation history of the region came together as a collaboration between the South 27th Street Business District Association, the Milwaukee County Transit System and a handful of south side electeds — Supervisor Jason Haas and Aldermen Scott Spiker and Mark Borkowski.

“We are delighted to deliver a fresh new beautification concept for bus shelters in the Historic Highway 41 business corridor,” said Tara Cavazos, executive director of the South 27th Street Business District Association, in a statement.

The new shelters were designed by local artist Ryan Laessig, owner of Milwaukee Alt and the co-founder of Bubbler Studios. The new panels are plexiglass and covered in a graffiti proof coating and they feature the highway shield of Route 41. Lake Auto Group, a business within the 27th Street corridor was the one to polish and graffiti-proof the panels.

Haas said the project was an “excellent example” of public-private partnerships and Spiker called it an “exciting illustration” of things that can happen in a community when everyone works together.

It builds on a program first introduced in 2018 to add art to the system’s shelters.

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4 thoughts on “Southside Bus Stops Get Nod to History”

  1. frank a schneiger says:

    A minor historic note. Highway 41 as 27th Street did not include the Layton Boulevard stretch, from which trucks were banned. This was good if you lived on Layton Boulevard, but bad if (as our family did), you lived on 26th Street, which became the truck route. In shaky cold water flats, like ours at 26th and Mineral, life’s difficulties were added to by semis rumbling by and rattling the windows at all hours of the night.

  2. just1paul says:

    Amazing that trucks were banned from the south end of the 27th st viaduct all the way to Lincoln Ave, which was designated as S Layton Blvd. Long way for a truck to run.

  3. frank a schneiger says:

    just1paul: You are right. That was a pretty long way, but it’s worth remembering that a “semi” trailer in those days was probably less than half the size of today’s monsters. One guy tried to pull a fast one and turn on Mineral to get back on 27th Street with one block of Layton Boulevard left. Probably a low-risk violation, but his truck and trailer tipped over when he made the turn. It was one of the most exciting events to occur on the South Side in many years. People came from as far away as 16th Street to view the spectacle.

  4. just1paul says:

    frank a schneiger : You painted a wonderful visual with your words. Thank you. I remember when things like that would bring out the neighborhood to watch. You’ve jogged my memory of the day of the semi trailer of before.

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