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The maritime history inside Reginald Baylor's new Milwaukee art studio

A complete makeover at one Walker's Point building led us to discover a century of history at 2nd and Florida.

The space, now occupied by prominent Milwaukee artist Reginald Baylor, was once home to a chandlery.

So, what's a chandlery? Find out in this week's Urban Spelunking below.

(Hint: it has to do with ships and bread.)


When artist Reggie Baylor got the keys to his new studio, he has his work cut our for him.

The building, most recently an exotic fish store, wasn't particularly well cared for. There was a ton of cleanup to do. It needed new windows, doors, floors, and there were even structural concerns.

Fast forward to today - the building has been completely rehabbed, a creative space fit for an artist.

But what came before the fish store -- that part of the story is particularly interesting.

A Prussian immigrant, whose sterling reputation earned him the nickname "Honest John" Schlosser, ran a successful grocery business in that very building.

He was a chandler, which meant he supplied ships that passed through Milwaukee with essential goods for their journey. When ships would dock, he'd hop in his own boat and row out to the ship, providing bread, dairy, meat and hard goods.

Honest John ran the business for almost 70 years -- success by any measure, during any time period.

And it's yet another reminder that every building has a story.

Listen to our complete conversation above, and make sure to read Bobby Tanzilo's complete story at


Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee