'ELYSIAN FIELDS' - WISCONSIN

Some of these Wisconsin vehicles outlasted the weather and ravages of time to become daily drivers. Others found their Elysian Fields, which is where heroes went after their deaths in Greek mythology.

A broke-down automobile can sometimes have the look of a fallen hero. 

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Ken Kornacki is a State Guide to Wisconsin. Follow him on Tumblr at aurum-design or on his website, aurum-design.com.

LIVING LINES - MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN

Milwaukee resident Kenneth Kornacki sends along this photo dispatch sketching the lines of where the city lives - windows, homes, rooflines.

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Ken Kornacki is a State Guide to Wisconsin. Follow him on Tumblr at aurum-design or on his website, aurum-design.com.

CREAM CITY - MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN

Builders soon began to make use of the brick clay beds found in many parts of the state. … Along the east coast cream-colored brick was popular, especially in Milwaukee, which came to be known as the Cream City. For some decades cream brick was a common material for churches, homes, office buildings, breweries, and factories. 

Wisconsin, A Guide To the Badger State (WPA, 1941)

Ken Kornacki, your Guide to Milwaukee, tags in to American Guide Week with this image for Field Assignment #6 - Architecture.

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Ken Kornacki is a State Guide to Wisconsin. Follow him on Tumblr at aurum-design or on his website, aurum-design.com.

SHADOW PEOPLE - MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN

…a nocturnal quiet…often produces the waggish comment, “You could fire a cannon down Wisconsin Avenue at midnight and never hit a soul!”

Wisconsin, A Guide To the Badger State (WPA, 1941) 

Milwaukee is a city of almost 600,000 people. It’s impossible to know them all and sometimes they all seem like strangers. Depending on the time of day, it seems like only a single person might walk down the street. There is a sort of hide-and-seek nature of encountering strangers in Milwaukee.

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Ken Kornacki is a State Guide to Wisconsin. Follow him on Tumblr at aurum-design or on his website, aurum-design.com.

FOURTH OF JULY, USA

The village…has not forgotten how to celebrate the Fourth of July in the old-time way. Early on the morning of the holiday, a crowd gathers from the hills as if by magic: old folk who remember when the big lumber mills operated and there was an abundance of money; young people who know only that the land has been washing away ever since the mills “cut out,” and that the crops are poor; and, of course, a speaker who addresses the milling crowd from a flag-draped platform. The speaker knows that his listeners believe emphatically, as did their fathers before them, in democracy and individualism, and it is of these he talks. After the speech, there is a barbecue, at which everyone helps himself to anything he wants. The women visit, discussing rural news or exchanging recipes, and the men engage in hog-calling contests and horse-shoe tournaments. The boys try to win the admiration of the girls by climbing a larded pole or catching a greased pig.

Missouri, A Guide To the Show Me State (WPA, 1941)

In the afterglow of the fireworks, we here at A/G HQ are wiping our hands from the larded pole and greased pig contests and wanted to share a big thanks to all the folks who are our Guides to the US of A. We are constantly amazed, astounded, and awestricken by their work and feel privileged to be able to share it with our audience. (Audience, we hope you’re following each and every one of their respective Tumblrs. Seriously, get on that.)

Above—Independence Day through the lenses of some of our A/G guides (from top to bottom, left to right):

Tammy Mercure 

Amadee Ricketts 

Jon Creamer 

Brandon Getty

Stephen Dyer

Tara Wray

James Orndorf

KC O’Connor

Jordan Smith

Ken Kornacki

You can find the rest of our unbelievably fantastic Guides and their respective Tumblrs, Flickr pages and various other websites on our Guides pageLearn how to be a guide yourself here.

NATURAL SETTING: WATER - WISCONSIN

20 percent of all the fresh water on Earth is contained in the Great Lakes. Wisconsin has more than 800 miles of Great Lakes coastline, more than 15,000 lakes and 13,500 miles of navigable streams and rivers. Water is omnipresent. In late spring, the drawbridges reopen and the tour boats make their way down the Milwaukee River to Lake Michigan. In the suburbs, the creeks flow quietly until the summer storms fill them to capacity. Foggy mornings give way to sunny days and occasional rains. Water is also the birthplace and home of Wisconsin’s state bird, the mosquito.

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Ken Kornacki is a State Guide to Wisconsin. Follow him on Tumblr at aurum-design or on his website, aurum-design.com.

CITY COLORS - MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN

While nature may have the best spring colors, they aren’t the only colors in town. Now that the cold rains have ended, everything seems electric. The energy has returned to the area and the sidewalk cafes are filling up.

The 3rd Ward in Milwaukee is home to many art galleries and artist’s studios. On these bright, warm days the neighborhood is alive with people.

The cold, wet spring is just a fading memory now.

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Ken Kornacki is a State Guide to Wisconsin. Follow him on Tumblr at aurum-design or on his website, aurum-design.com.

SIGNS OF LIFE - MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN 

In the built environment, signs are ubiquitous and mostly spell out the names of products or the places where products can be purchased.

There was a time when actual human names were permanently displayed upon the facades of buildings. There was an optimism in these named buildings and they were built by craftsmen to last throughout the ages.

While some of these buildings survive, others have been destroyed to make way for more temporary structures without names. Perhaps part of the effort to preserve old buildings is because they have names like ours. They remind us of the human effort and pride that went into their construction.

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Ken Kornacki is a State Guide to Wisconsin. Follow him on Tumblr at aurum-design or on his website, aurum-design.com.