4930 W. LOOMIS RD.
A new South Division High building opened September 7, 1977, three blocks from the old school. Almost nothing was brought over from the old building, but the crowning copper dome, "a South Side landmark since it was built in the 1890s" was preserved when the building was demolished in 1978. Efforts to bring it "back home" to be incorporated into the new building failed; and it was sold to a local antique dealer.
In 1998 the Bluemel family had an opportunity to purchase the dome from the antique dealer. Even though the dome had drastically deteriorated over the years, they saw great potential for this dome at their place of business. There was also a sentimental connection given that one of the original owners of Bluemel's; Gladys Bluemel, was an alumni of South Division. Many ideas were considered including making it into a gazebo, but when the Bluemel's decided to construct a new shopping and office facility, it was decided unanimously that making the dome the central focal point of the new building was the obvious choice. Preparations to completely refurbish the dome began immediately following this exciting decision. This task was a challenging and difficult one to complete, but was considered a must.
There was a quite a buzz in the community the day the dome was lifted onto the new facility. Local news stations, publications, and dignitaries came to witness the resurrection that was precisely executed with the help of experience crews and engineers, large cranes as well as other industrial equipment. Of course Bluemel's did not forget the "roots" of the dome when they held their grand opening of their new facility. In fact, Bluemel's was host to a South Division reunion party with upwards of 500 alumni in attendance to officially welcome the dome to it's final resting place.
U Rah Rah!
SHOULDER TO SHOULDER
The refurbished dome once again stands proudly as it crowns our main entrance returning to its former glory for all to enjoy and admire. Gawkers from all around (including out of state) regularly visit Bluemel's just to see this historic treasure as well as view the hundreds of donated South Division memorabilia pieces that include an extensive collection of old yearbooks, photos, sports uniforms, and even a class ring just to name a few of the items. Many alumni stop by just to see if their names (that they deviously snuck up into the dome to sign) are still visible!
Today, the dome represents so many different things to so many different people. Many see it as their very own shrine so-to-speak, a symbol of all of the great memories they had while attending South Division back in the day. Some, especially the younger generation, see the dome as a staple of the community having seen it from driving down Loomis Road many times over the past decade. For us, we see it as an example of what we're all about- uniqueness, one-of-a-kind, and rich with history. We invite you to stop by and view this south side gem for yourself. Come see why this historic piece of Milwaukee history means so much to so many people- still continuing to amaze afetr all of these years!