History of Gay and Lesbian Life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Organizations - Activist & Political - CCF

- At A Glance -

Opened 1988, Closed 1991?



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The Foundation Community Center was opened early in 1988 to fill a badly needed resource in the Milwaukee LGBT community: a place for groups to meet on a regular basis at little or no cost. Althoguh such a center had existed at one time, operated by the Gay Peoples Union (GPU), it had been some years since the GPU had ceased to operate such a center, and in the meantime gay/lesbian groups were forced to meet in libraries, the back rooms of bars or other friendly businesses, or the homes of volunteers. All of these had their drawbacks, and a place where groups could hold regularly scheduled meetings was seen as critical to the cointinued development of the LGBT community.

The Foundation Community Center was located at 225 S. 2nd Street- a building between the popular Club 219 and C'est La Vie. (In fact, the owner of Cest La Vie, Clarence Germershausen (better known as John Clayton), was also the owner of the Center building, and provided great support to the effort.) The facility inclued three rooms: while all of them were available for meetings of various sizes, one was primarily set up as an office (used by the CCF and some other groups, with a shared computer and other office equipment); one was a conference room (the Peter Johnson Memorial Conference Room); plus a larger room which could be set up for social gatherings or larger group meetings.

The Foundation Community Center was used by numerous organizations for meetings and events. Larger gatherings included a Candidate Forum for the 5th District sponsored by the Lambda Rights Network in Sept 1988, and the Mid-West Gathering of Oberons weekend. Regular meetings were held there by Saturday Softball League, Dignity, New Hope MCC Church, and Pride Celebration.

The Foundation Community Center also hosted a milestone meeting with the newly elected Mayor of Milwauee, John Norquist, in May of 1989.

(The Sept. 1988 CCF Update newsletter has extensive articles about the Foundation Community Center.)

After about a year in this location, the other side of the building was leased by the In Step newspaper, which shared some of the operation of the center. The Foundation relocated its offices to the ?? in ??, at which time the Community Center was closed. Although the CCF continued to make available its reduced rooms for meetings of other groups, the need for more accomodation of more groups was evident- and the community began to take steps to create an all-purpose LGBT Community Center.


Community Center introduced on Tri-Cable Tonight Signage on Center at opening Storefront of Community Center The building circa 2006
New Mayor Norquist addresses attendees at meeting in the Center, May 1989 View of Center at Norquist meeting Mayor Norquist meeting Mayor Norquist meeting

Whos' Who at the Mayor Norquist meeting?-
Click on the photo for a special view: point to a person to see their name.

Credits: design and arrangement by Don Schwamb,
with materials contributed by CCF and Don Schwamb.
Last updated: January-2021.

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