Bus Stop Coffee Shop
Legal Description: E Reichertz' Subd in NE 1/4 Sec
23-7-21 Block 1 Lot 7
The Bus Stop Coffee shop got its name from a bus stop on Route 57, which is part of the Milwaukee County Transit System. In the 1920s, Lisbon Avenue was developing rapidly as the city of Milwaukee was expanding its borders. In 1920, at the height of this boom, Emil Doubek obtained his plumbing license. Eight years later, he started his own plumbing business. He lived above his store and made extra money by renting out apartment and business space, a typical economic strategy practiced by many Washington Park residents.
Doubek employed architect Paul Bennett, who designed the Times Cinema and Tosa Theater (now the Rosebud Cinema), to design and construct his residential and commercial space on Lisbon Avenue. The original design included two storefronts on the first floor and two apartments on the second floor. A flight of stairs to the second floor apartments was built in the middle bay of the building, separating the store and apartment unit on either side. Such a layout allowed property owners to rent out apartments and stores to multiple renters. Doubek lived right above his store. He rented out the other apartment to retirees and skilled workers. A garage was installed in the back of the building. Bennett built exterior brick walls and topped the building off with a flat roof. Construction was completed in 1929 at a cost of approximately $16,600.
By 1930, for unknown reasons, Doubek closed his store but continued to live in his home. As industrial workers moved into the area, businesses that served their needs started to be in demand. Doubek rented out his former business space to Peggy O'Neill, who started a beauty shop. Doubek rented out the other business space to The American Auto Cleaning Supply Company. In 1940 and 1950, real estate businesses occupied one or both spaces. Ten years later, Florence E. Giguere, a housekeeper, owned the building and lived above one of the storefronts. Windshield and window maintenance shops and a photofinishing store occupied the retail spaces in later years.
The property was in disarray when Pat and Jeanette Gleason bought it in 2011. The exterior retained most of its original design but most of the interior was gutted as the Gleasons renovated the building. The niched storefront entrances were removed and the two retail spaces united into one —a hallway connects the Bus Stop Coffee Shop and Pat Gleason's other venture, the Midwest School of Photography. The whole second floor is now the Gleason residence. The Gleasons connected the stores to their upstairs residence internally. A long hallway stretches from the front living room to the back kitchen area upstairs. Beyond the kitchen is the open space which is the roof of the garage. The Gleasons provide this space as an exercise area for their dogs. The building has served the community and provided living space since its construction. The public stops in and "hangs out" at the Bus Stop Coffee Shop for coffee, food, and laughter.
Paul Bennett, Original Floor Plans, City Hall, Milwaukee.
City of Milwaukee: Department of Neighborhood Services, Premises Record, Development Center, Milwaukee.
City of Milwaukee-Assessor's Office, PRC Summary Report-Public.
"Plumbers' Examination in Wisconsin," Metal Worker, Plumber and Steam Fitter, 94 (1), p. 291.
Milwaukee (Wisconsin) City Treasurer, "Tax Roll, Real Estate and Personal Property," 1960, Reel 24; Ibid., 1970, Reel 200, Ibid., 1980, Reel 298.
Milwaukee City Directories, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1940, 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980.
This excerpt taken from the FINAL HISTORIC DESIGNATION STUDY REPORT 47th STREET BUNGALOW HISTORIC DISTRICT describes architect Paul Bennett:
Paul Bennett is one of a host of little-known, little-researched architects who worked in Milwaukee in the early 20th century. From city directory listings it appears that Bennett had already been trained as an architect when he arrived in Milwaukee in 1915. He first lived at 676 3rd Avenue (today’s 1720 South 8th Street) with a Walter S. Bennett, the proprietor of Koehler’s Automatic Base Ball Co.. This business was located at or near the corner of Second and Wisconsin Avenue. Neither Walter nor his business appears in the later city directories. Paul Bennett’s first job appears to have been with the George W. Adams Building Company, located in the Caswell Building at 152 W. Wisconsin Avenue. This business handled real estate, loans, investments and home building. Walter F. Neumann was the company’s resident architect as well as vice-president and Bennett probably worked under his direction. Between 1917 and 1919 no specific employer is listed for Bennett but he most likely continued working for the Adams Building Company. In 1920 Bennett worked for “Mil ER & Co”. By 1923 Bennett was employed as an architect for Robert L. Reisinger & Co., a general contracting and concrete construction firm located at 2344 N. Oakland Avenue. The company’s add stated it handled promotion, designing, financing and construction of buildings and engineering projects. Bennett subsequently opened his own architectural practice at 1132 W. North Avenue in 1925. He moved this office to 1934 W. North Ave. in 1932. The downturn in the economy during the Great Depression forced many architects like Bennett to scale back their activities and in 1933 Bennett started working out of his home at 2409 North 11th St. where he had been living since around 1923. Bennett and his wife Cora moved again, in 1936, to 3425 North 14th St. Apparently in need of a job, Bennett worked briefly as an inspector and then resumed his architectural practice. City directory listings indicate that Bennett had a daughter, Virginia, and a son, Richard P., living with them. The directory’s street guide for the family shows five occupants at their house. There may have been a younger child with the family or else another relative or in-law. ... Many of Bennett’s projects would have most likely been designed for west side neighborhoods like Washington Heights and Sherman Park and suburban communities like Shorewood, Whitefish Bay and Elm Grove. Bennett designed the Lippold House at 2531 N. 47th Street, an English style Bungalow with a prominent half-timbered front gable.