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Visiting Milwaukee Alano Club, an East Side haven for those in recovery

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 The interior of a historic mansion with warm wood floors and an ascending staircase with winding handrail.
Bobby Tanzilo

Every week on Urban Spelunking, Radio Milwaukee’s Nate Imig and OnMilwaukee’s Bobby Tanzilo dig into the buildings and architectural features that help retain the city’s sense of history while it builds for the future.

For more than 70 years, an East Side mansion has welcomed people of all ages on their path to healing from addiction. Milwaukee Alano Club, 1521 N. Prospect Ave., began its work in 1946, making it one of the longest-running Alano Clubs in the country.

"This is a good place to come so that you can figure out what you're going to do with your time," says Dave F., a board member. "Play cards, look for a job, build a resume for yourself, and try to get your life back together. Then have other sober people around you to give you ideas, to encourage you, to help you get going on that."

The mansion itself was originally built as opulent residence for maltster Fred Kraus, but his untimely death in 1903 never allowed him to live there. Bobby and I toured the club together, marveled at the craftsmanship, and found many original details such as fireplaces and leaded glass windows, plus a hand-painted mural depicting the 12 steps by artist JBird.

We also talked more with Paul F., who filled us in about the mission of the Alano Club and how it has helped those with addictions find community and friendship. Listen to the podcast episode above, and visit OnMilwaukee for more about the mansion's history.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee