Inspired by the German Turnverein associations of the early 19th century, the Milwaukee Turners first came together in the mid 1800s, gaining their charter from the Wisconsin State Legislature in 1855. In 1882, the group constructed Turner Hall, and the building has housed the organization and its stockpiles of sweatbands ever since. Over the decades, the hall has welcomed in visitors with a mission to help them create sound bodies and minds.
Though they derive their name from “Turnen,” the German word for gymnastics, the Milwaukee Turners teach visitors much more than just how to lasso a pommel horse. In addition to the gymnastic school, the organization schedules classes for fencing and yoga. Their rock-climbing wall's top ropes take climbers up 26 feet as they practice belaying techniques. To strengthen minds, the Turners lead meetings such as the 4th Street Forum, which discusses issues crucial to the community, and host concerts within the Turner Hall Ballroom.
Now a national landmark, Turner Hall echoes the organization's rich history. Sprung from the mind of famed architect Henry H. Koch, the building's design includes an Italianate façade crafted with Cream City brick and panoramic paintings that make visitors think they're trapped inside a cartoon. The hall boasts a full restaurant, beer hall, and two-story ballroom, making it an ideal locale for special occasions.
Founded in 2007 by certified master dog trainer Jaime Van Wye, Zoom Room fosters relationships between dogs and their owners through obedience and agility classes. Obstacles such as hurdles, hoops, and ramps populate the interactive indoor facility, helping energetic pups burn off steam, gain focus, and get in shape for roles summer stock productions of Homeward Bound. In addition to basic obedience courses, specialty classes for shy or overly rambunctious dogs build confidence through positive reinforcement and a controlled class environment. Dogs seeking less structured outings often romp through half-hour blocks of private gym time, working through the agility course at their own pace.
Will Allen has worn many hats in his lifetime. The son of a sharecropper, he founded his urban farming foundation Growing Power in 1993 after a brief career in professional basketball, going on to earn a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship and a spot on Time magazine's Top 100 of 2010 list. From Milwaukee to Chicago, his city farms thrive, tended by a volunteer team of all ages who gain the all-too-uncommon satisfaction of knowing the "who, when, where, and how" of their vegetables’ origins. Besides providing the seeds, tools, and educational resources to green the thumbs of any willing student, the farms also foster community bonds by filling the pantries of select local restaurants and locavore squirrels.
Due to their curious nature, dogs often come home dirty, whether from chasing squirrels through muddy fields or disassembling your car's transmission. Community Bark Dog Wash & Coffee Bar's dual locations provide specially designed stations for washing dogs of all sizes, whether for self-service sudsing or full-service washing by friendly groomers. The cleaners furnish all the tools needed to groom pups to perfection, including shampoos, conditioners, brushes, combs, and high-velocity hair dryers.
Whether returning from a walk or waiting for their pooch to dry, pet lovers can hang out in the dog-friendly Barker Lounge, where they can sip Alterra coffee and munch on pastries. The café also supplies treats for canine customers and free WiFi service for laptops and bark-activated phones.
The technicians at Natural Cleaners revivify garments while respecting the earth's delicate ecosystem, eschewing traditional petroleum-based solvents for GreenEarth, a nontoxic formula made of silicone derived naturally from sand. Five Milwaukee-area storefronts bustle free from fumes and pollutants as suits, dresses, and coats shake off dirt during dry or professional-grade wet cleanings. Wedding-dress cleaning and preservation primes gowns for years of heirloom storage or Miss Havisham costume contests, and an in-house seamstress alters hemlines and cuffs to create dashing silhouettes. Household textiles also kowtow to Natural Cleaners' expertise as draperies, bedspreads, and feather pillows return home spic and span.
Naked Furniture’s eco-friendly emporium boasts 17,000 square feet of heirloom-quality home fittings, carefully crafted from real wood rather than particleboard or tacky popsicle sticks. This month’s new products include a comfy eucalyptus adirondack chair ($215) from the Gardenwood Collection and a sturdy 29-inch entry table ($99), ideal for placing next to a bed to besiege a poorly defended pillow fort. The Bay Harbor Collection’s pine headboard ($199) fits any standard queen bedframe, and the solid pine single-door armoire ($559) lends a touch of elegance to otherwise drab spaceship sleep chambers. Naked Furniture’s artisans can outfit scholarly buyers with semi-custom bookcases in a variety of materials, sizes, and styles, or help customers choose from a vast selection of easy-to-use staining and finishing products while they inhale the store’s wholesome, woodsy aroma.