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New Book Documents Fading Advertisments Across Milwaukee

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Credit Adam Levin
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This wool ad can be found on Fon Du Lac Ave, between Oak & Meinecke.

Advertisements are part of our everyday lives – from billboards, to pop up ads and other commercials. But when was the last time you noticed one of Milwaukee’s fading ads on its buildings?

Vintage signs that are hand-painted, manufactured, or done in neon lights can be found all over Milwaukee neighborhoods.

For Adam Levin, creator of the Old Milwaukee Facebook page, capturing these signs before they become extinct is one of passions. Now, he’s turned that passion into a new book called, Fading Ads of Milwaukee.

From drugstores to beer to service stations signs, Levin’s book captures an underappreciated aspect of Milwaukee’s landscape. Levin explains what draws him to these ads.

“I started appreciating [the ads] six or seven years ago and I started taking photos of them just from my own curiosity,” says Levin. “By looking at these signs I can imagine what things were like [when these signs were new] and the hard work that people put into these hand painted signs.”

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Audrey is a producer, host and reporter for Lake Effect. She is involved with every aspect of the show — from conducting interviews, editing audio, posting web stories and mixing the show together.
Jack Hurbanis started as the WUWM Digital Intern in January 2020, transitioning to Assistant Digital Producer in July.