An East Side mansion with a secret

An East Side mansion with a secret

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88Nine Radio Milwaukee
Go into the basement of the Becker-Fitch House

An East Side Milwaukee mansion has a secret in the basement.  Read on to find out.

The Becker-Fitch mansion sits atop a bluff, where Back Bay Rd. ends, overlooking Lake Michigan.  If you’ve seen it, it has probably been from underside, looking up from Lincoln Memorial Drive.

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The five-story house is carved into the side of the bluff — three stories above ground and two beneath — and in its heyday, featured an impressive turret pointed skyward and a beautiful gable addition.

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But in the basement, there’s a secret, a remnant from prohibition.

The socialite family who lived there decided to build in a two-level tavern, made to look like a Old World Irish Tavern.

Heavy wooden beams and delicate plaster adorn the two-story entertainment space, with a balcony overlooking the room from above.  In fact, the space is so secret that the only way to get there is to descend a spiral staircase hidden behind a wall panel upstairs.

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Who put on these lavish parties?  How did they sneak in the booze during prohibition?  

Click the podcast player above to hear our interview with OnMilwaukee’s Bobby Tanzilo, and check out his complete column here.