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This rare photo set shows 1920s MATC, downtown Milwaukee

On this week's episode of Urban Spelunking, OnMilwaukee's Bobby Tanzilo and I stumble upon an impressive collection of archive photos of Milwaukee Area Technical College, dating back to the 1920s.

Photo courtesy of Adam Levin, via OnMilwaukee / Bobby Tanzilo

The photos were digitized by Adam Levin, a Milwaukee history enthusiast, archivist, sign collector and occasional guest of the podcast. He purchased them at the estate sale of former MATC President John R. Birkholz, who retired in 2001 and passed away last year.

The beautifully preserved photos, taken by G.S. Carney Photographic Studio, show both exterior and interior views of MATC's main building, inside classrooms, hallways and in the auditorium.

Below, you can see a moment inside a masonry classroom where students are putting the finishing touches on project fireplaces.

In another photo, inside an automotive lab, a row of early cars are shown in various stages of assembly, their frames supported by wooden sawhorses, while students work in groups under their hoods.

The set also shows the later construction of the present-day adjacent "M" building. They offer unexpected glimpses of downtown Milwaukee, including homes and buildings no longer there.

Listen to this week's podcast below for much more history, and visit to view the complete set.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee