The 1930’s Milwaukee Race Scene

by admin on April 30, 2012

Last week we were paid a visit by Bill Wischer, who, through the cool bikes and photos he showed us, opened us up to a whole new world of Milwaukee-based racing and bike building. The race scene centered around builder Grover Horn.

Grover was a promoter who ran the South Milwaukee Motor Speedway during the late 20’s and into the Great Depression. By 1934, he was promoting midget car racing at what became the Milwaukee Mile. In 1936, he caught the bicycling fever, starting his shop on the northwest side of Milwaukee, around the corner from Ware’s old shop (Ware’s subsequently moved to West Allis).

Unlike many framebuilders, Grover never lost his promotional touch. In the late 30’s, he organized the dominant race team in the city with 75 members.

Among the members were Bob Wischer and his wife to be, Dolly Becker, shown her on a trip to the races in Buffalo, NY. Both of them won state championships (Dolly was the Wisconsin State Champ 1937-39) and competed nationally.

Grover’s framebuilding and bike racing program continued until World War II, which halted all bike racing. Though he may have tried to crank up his team and building after the war, bike racing fell into decline. He passed away in 1956.

Dolly Wischer is still alive and taking the time to maintain some of this history. Here’s a link to a numbers of photos of her bike. The set includes photos of the track in Kenosha as well as at Chicago’s Humboldt Park.

Thanks again to Bill Wischer for this terrific piece of cycling history!

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