History and Folklore!
Drive down Broad Street in Greendale during the summer and chances are you’ll see activity around the . You might see a wedding, a group taking pictures, a concert, a walking event, people enjoying lunch on the steps or visitors checking out the names on bricks on the floor. Newcomers to the Village and even those of us who are not, take for granted that the gazebo is there. Hard to believe it, but before 1995 Greendale Gazebo Park did not exist.
In 1989 Greendale Lion Robert ‘Bob’ Drews began to dream of a gazebo type bandstand on the site as a gathering place for the Village. The Lions started a feasibility study in November of 1992, but the real impetus came in the summer of 1993 when with the permission of Milwaukee County electricity was installed on the site by the Village and the Greendale Lions.
In December of 1993 Lions Robert Drews and James Clinton presented a proposal to the Village of Greendale to erect a gazebo-type bandstand in . Once the Village Board gave the go ahead, and Milwaukee County signaled that the land could be leased, Bob reached out to the community to get involved. In March of 1994 he sent a letter to 14 service clubs and six individuals in Greendale inviting them to the charter meeting of the Greendale Gazebo Commission.
The first meeting of the Greendale Gazebo commission was held on April 28, 1994. The VFW Auxiliary, Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the Library, Historical Society, Womens' Club, Greendale Civic Orchestra, Greendale Lions Club, Greendale Promotions Committee, American Legion, Golden Agers, and the Village all sent representatives to the meeting. Committees were formed for design, fundraising, and publicity.
There were a variety of ideas brought forth for fundraising, but starting in February of 1995 volunteers went about calling every residence in Greendale. For a donation of $25 or more a brick could be engraved with the family, business or individuals name. In all 1,584 bricks were sold.
You may think with modern technology you just type names into a computer, place bricks on a conveyor belt, and a laser beam etches the name onto them all in a matter of minutes. You would be wrong.
The art of ‘brickology’ is still not that sophisticated. The names do get typed into a computer, but then a stencil with the name outlined on it gets printed. This stencil is placed on top of the brick and the letters are carefully removed from the stencil. Each brick is then sand blasted which etches the name on it. Next black goo is spread over the brick creating the black color of the etched letters. When the goo dries the stencil is removed, and then it is ready for placement.
That is what a small crew had to do for not one, not one hundred, but one thousand five hundred and eighty-four bricks (1,584). Yikes. Believe it or not they said they had fun doing it, and also said they contributed a pile of black goo covered clothes to the garbage heap in the process. The brick crew consisted of volunteers Sally Chadwick, Elaine Rendleman and Doris Fischer along with the Wenta Monuments pros Bernie, Marybeth, Charles and Michael Schroedl.
With Milwaukee County Supervisor Dave Zepecki’s help, on January 1st, 1995 the county leased the land to the Village for $1 per year for 30 years, with the option to renew it twice for ten years. The list of attendees was a Who’s Who list of village and county officials, village organizations, businesses and individuals. From that day forward it was game on for the work crew. The goal was to finish the construction by Village Days, only three months away.
The crew worked seven days a week; most but not all of the construction crew from the Greendale Lions Club. Once outside construction started in Dale Creek Park, people would bring lawn chairs and watch the work.
The dedication of the Greendale Gazebo was held on the Sunday of Village Days in 1995. There is a plaque on the side of the Gazebo that reads:
THIS GAZEBO WAS BUILT THROUGH THE LEADERSHIP OF
THE SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS IN THE COMMUNITY AND
WITH THE PRIDE AND GENEROSITY OF THE PEOPLE OF THE
VILLAGE OF GREENDALE. DEDICATED AUGUST 13, 1995.
But did you know?
You can still be part of the Greendale Gazebo story, and pass down your legacy to future generations. The two walks leading to the Gazebo from the sidewalk along Broad Street were completed in 1996, and personalized bricks are still available for purchase. Your purchase of a brick will assist the Greendale Lions in continuing to maintain the Gazebo. This spring the Gazebo was spruced up with a fresh coat of paint and ceiling stain. So the Gazebo will be looking pretty for Greendale’s 75th Anniversary next year. You can find out how to purchase your brick by visiting the Greendale Lions Club website.