Lights of the Lakes in Greendale

Greendale, WI Public Learning Center

This week brought this year’s third scheduled presentation of Lights of the Lakes at the Greendale, WI Community Learning Center, which houses the public library, parks and recreation department, and public health department facilities. The show was offered as a Lunch and Learn event on the Greendale Library’s video event calendar display. My name in lights again!

Greendale Library Video Event Calendar

The Lunch and Learn series requires advance reservations, and is limited to 20 people. This group enjoyed today’s Lights of the Lakes program.

Greendale Library Lunch and Learn Audience

Lights of the Lakes Shows – January

Park View Health Center – Oshkosh, WI

1/23 – Park View Health Center (Oshkosh)

The first Lights of the Lakes show of 2020 took me north to a large county-operated senior residence in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Parkview Health Center is a 168-bed county-operated facility. Thankfully, the travel was easy: dry roads and comfortable winter temperatures. About 40 seniors attended today’s program.

Park View Health Center Sign

Park View Health Center Sign

1/24 – Foresthill Highlands (Franklin)

The following day, I headed the opposite direction to Franklin, Wisconsin, a southern suburb of Milwaukee. I was concerned about travel today, because snow was forecast off and on during the day. As it turned out, however, driving was easy. Roads were clear, and the forecast kept some people off the roads.

Foresthill Highlands Main Entrance

Foresthill Highlands Main Entrance

Foresthill Highlands is an upscale senior apartment facility located in a semi-rural, wooded setting.

Foresthill Highlands Sign

Foresthill Highlands Sign

Today’s snowy weather limited turnout for today’s show to a small group of motivated seniors. They were very interested in the program, however, and afterwards asked good questions. It was fun presenting to them.

Foresthill Highlands Audience

Foresthill Highlands Audience


Lights of the Lakes at the Wisconsin Club

The final Lights of the Lakes show of 2019 was presented on December 5th at the Wisconsin Club in downtown Milwaukee. The program was sponsored by the Downtown Club, a men’s group that has been meeting at the Wisconsin Club since the 1920s. My presentation was given in the Deutscher Room, one of the private dining rooms there.

The Wisconsin Club

The Wisconsin Club downtown facility is described as follows on their web site:

The City Club

Breathtaking and beautiful, and located in the heart of downtown Milwaukee, the legendary, one-of-a-kind Mitchell Mansion has been home to our City Club since 1895.

The stunning mansion is an architectural jewel, complete with elaborate hand-carved mahogany woodwork, stained glass, parquet flooring, plaster and inlaid tile, and rich renovations to create a welcoming atmosphere that warmly greets you the moment you walk in the door. It all helps to bring exquisite beauty and an extraordinary social experience to life.

The Deutscher Room & Bar – This stunning setting features an old-world copper fireplace that’s over 100 years old, warm lighting, making it perfect for nearly any occasion.

The Deutscher Room

The Deutscher Room, decorated for the holidays, provided an intimate setting for today’s show.

Lights of the Lakes Shows – November

Cedarburg Cultural Center

11/4 – Ozaukee County Historical Society (Cedarburg)

The Cedarburg Cultural Center was the venue for one of the largest shows in the 30-year history of Lights of the Lakes. 115 people made up a very engaged, enthusiastic audience. Both they and I enjoyed sharing the lore of our fantastic Great Lakes lighthouses in my hour-long presentation.

Ozaukee County Historical Society Poster

The Ozaukee County Historical Society hosted tonight’s program at their quarterly meeting. Prior to the show, OCHS created the above poster. Over 35 copies were posted at various locations throughout the community. The promotion worked well, as the OCHS staff had to keep bringing in more chairs as the audience grew well beyond the 75 people expected to attend.

Lights of the Lakes Audience at the Cedarburg Cultural Center

Lights of the Lakes Audience at the Cedarburg Cultural Center

11/7 – Home & Community Education (West Bend)

The final scheduled performance of Lights of the Lakes in 2019 took place on November 7th in West Bend, WI.  Washington County Association for Home and Community Education (WAHCE) hosted the program. WAHCE is a nonprofit educational organization comprised of local women’s clubs in Washington County.

HCE Members awaiting the start of Lights of the Lakes

The group enjoyed the program and asked a lot of questions afterwards. Later, Janice Oestreich, HCE Chairperson wrote:

The “Lights of the Lakes” program is entertaining and educational.  The photography of the lighthouses and shipwrecks was outstanding.  Members came away with a better understanding of the treacherous hazards on the Great Lakes.  Phil is very knowledgeable and the proof is in his program and his photography.

Lights of the Lakes Shows – October

10/4 – Primrose Retirement Communities

Primrose Retirement Community - Entrance

Primrose Retirement Communities – Entrance

The first Lights of the Lakes presentation in October took place at Primrose Retirement Communities in Racine. I welcomed the opportunity to present here, as I don’t get that many bookings this far south in Wisconsin.

Primrose Retirement Communities - Sign

Primrose Retirement Communities – Sign

Primrose is located slightly north of Racine, in the Wind Point area. Wind Point is home to one of the largest lighthouses in Wisconsin, Wind Point Lighthouse. Being in proximity to this lighthouse gave me the opportunity to stop by and photograph it while I was in the area.

Wind Point Lighthouse

Wind Point Lighthouse

Today’s Lights of the Lakes show at Primrose attracted an all-female audience of 23 residents.

Primrose Retirement Communities - Audience

Primrose Retirement Communities – Audience

10/17 – Brown Deer Historical Society

The second Lights of the Lakes show this month was presented to the members of the Brown Deer Historical Society in Brown Deer, WI. The venue  was the Lois & Tom Dolan Community Center.


10/18 – Forest Ridge Senior Community

The final Lights of the Lakes show in October was presented to the residents of the Forest Ridge Senior Community in Hales Corners, WI. Forest Ridge is a large independent living senior living facility with over 250 apartments.

Forest Ridge Senior Community Painting

Forest Ridge Senior Community Painting

Forest Ridge Senior Community Entrance

Forest Ridge Senior Community Entrance

Approximately 45 Forest Ridge residents enjoyed today’s Lights of the Lakes program.

Forest Ridge Senior Community Audience

Forest Ridge Senior Community Audience

Lights of the Lakes Shows – September

9/7 – Meadowmere Northshore (Mequon)

Meadowmere Northshore Entrance

Meadowmere Northshore, a senior community in the Milwaukee North Shore suburb of Mequon, was the venue for the latest Lights of the Lakes program. This was my third presentation at a Meadowmere location, preceded by shows in Oak Creek and Jackson. It’s always gratifying to be invited back by prior sponsors!

Meadowmere Northshore Flyer

Prior to the show, Meadowmere Northshore produced a promotional flyer, shown above, to advertise the program to residents.

Meadowmere Northshore Sign

About a dozen Meadowmere residents enjoyed today’s presentation of Lights of the Lakes.

Meadowmere Northshore Audience

9/24 – Ellen’s Home South (Germantown)

Ellen's Home South - Germantown, WI

Ellen’s Home South – Germantown, WI

September’s second show was presented at Ellen’s Home South, an assisted living community in Germantown, WI.

Ellen’s Home South Audience

Lights of the Lakes Shows – June

6/4 – South Shore Yacht Club (Milwaukee)

South Shore Yacht Club Entrance

The first Lights of the Lakes show in June took me back to a familiar venue: the South Shore Yacht Club (SSYC) in Milwaukee. Founded in 1913, SSYC has played a prominent role in the Southeast Wisconsin maritime scene for well over a century. Tonight’s show was a repeat engagement for me, as I’ve done the show at SSYC three times previously. Tonight, the SSYC Auxiliary hosted the program.

South Shore Yacht Club Sign

Entering SSYC, you step over this cast emblem commemorating the first one hundred years of the club’s existence.

SSYC Centennial Emblem

South Shore Yacht Club has a large marina with slips that accommodate hundreds of sail and power boats.

SSYC Marina, looking south

In the above photo, the Lake Express high speed car ferry can be seen approaching its dock just north of SSYC. The Lake Express celebrates 15 years of service this year. A catamaran hull powered by twin jet turbines, this modern car ferry crosses Lake Michigan in two-and-a-half hours, reaching speeds of 40 miles per hour.  The ship docks at Muskegon on the Michigan side. In the photo below, the Lake Express is seen approaching its Milwaukee terminal at the end of its latest trip across Lake Michigan.

Lake Express Car Ferry

Forty-eight members of the South Shore Yacht Club enjoyed tonight’s presentation of Lights of the Lakes. Several other club members and employees joined them, resulting in an audience of about fifty-five people for tonight’s show.

South Shore Yacht Club Auxiliary Audience

6/18 – Ozaukee County Senior Conference (Grafton)

Ozaukee County Senior Conference Logo

Just because Ozaukee County is the geographically-smallest county in Wisconsin, that doesn’t mean it has little to offer its residents, including Seniors. Several local communities operate senior centers, offering meals, hospitality, and special events to members. Once a year, Ozaukee County also sponsors a public Senior Conference. This year’s 17th Anniversary program featured speakers on various topics of interest and importance to seniors. The conference drew hundreds of area Seniors. For the first time ever, a presentation of Lights of the Lakes was included. The venue was Grafton High School.

Grafton High School Lobby

Also for the first time, yours truly presented in a high school classroom. The audience sat at student desks, probably for the first time in many decades for most of them.

Lights of the Lakes was a big hit. About 40 seniors crowded into a classroom with only 35 seats. For the first time in memory, the show played to a standing-room-only audience. I really enjoyed presenting to this group, because they were very attentive and responsive. That always brings out the best in me as a presenter.

After the program, I received a thank-you note, which read,

Thank you for helping to educate the Seniors of our County.
The Ozaukee County Senior Conference Committee.



Lights of the Lakes Shows – May

5/14 – Young at Heart (Hales Corners)

My first Lights of the Lakes show in May was presented to Young At Heart, a senior fellowship group affiliated with the St. Mary Catholic Faith Community in Hales Corners, WI. According to the Young at Heart web page,

The St. Mary’s Young at Heart group was created in 1995 to provide social and educational opportunities for mature adults, enhance member health and wellness, and promote activities which may result in earnings for the group and our Faith Community.

Activities are defined in a quarterly newsletter, and include day trips, picnics, plays, concerts, dinners, etc.

The venue for the program was Clifford’s Supper Club, a popular gathering place in Hales Corners.

Clifford’s Supper Club

About 50 seniors enjoyed the show, which was featured following their monthly luncheon at Clifford’s.

Young At Heart Audience

5/15 – Meadowmere Assisted Living (Oak Creek)

The second scheduled Lights of the Lake program this month was held at Meadowmere Assisted Living, a senior community in Oak Creek, WI.

Meadowmere Oak Creek Sign

The Meadowmere facility is located on the east side of Oak Creek, WI. The entrance is shown in the photo at the top of this blog post.

About 30 seniors enjoyed today’s presentation of Lights of the Lakes.

Meadowmere Oak Creek Audience


5/22 – Jackson Crossings (Jackson)

The third Lights of the Lake show in May took place at Jackson Crossings, an independent and assisted living senior community in Jackson, WI. When I arrived, I discovered a nice promotional flyer posted on the premises.

Flyer Promoting Lights of the Lakes at Jackson Crossings

Jackson Crossings is a modern retirement community situated on the banks of a nearby lake.

Jackson Crossings Entrance

Jackson Crossings Grounds and Lake

The show was well-attended. While today’s audience was not large, the attendees were appreciative of the beauty and historical significance of our Great Lakes lighthouses. They also learned about the importance of the lakes for shipping bulk cargoes to market.

Jackson Crossings Audience


5/22 – Nicolet Highlands (DePere)

This month’s final Lights of the Lakes show  took place at Nicolet Highlands Senior Apartments in DePere, Wisconsin. DePere is a suburb of Green Bay.

Nicolet Highlands Senior Apartments – DePere, WI

The residents of independent living senior communities often make up some of the best audiences I get for the Lights of the Lakes programs I present to seniors. Today was no exception. About 25 retirees enjoyed today’s show at Nicolet Highlands.

Nicolet Highlands Audience


Lights of the Lakes Shows – April

Evergreen Retirement Community Entrance

Evergreen Retirement Community Entrance

4/15 – Evergreen Retirement Community (Oshkosh)

The third Lights of the Lakes show of 2019 took me back to Evergreen Retirement Community in Oshkosh, WI. This show was a reprise of a January 2018 program at the same facility.

This year, the program was presented in a different room. We used their one-year-old Worship and Performing Arts Center, which is one of the finest rooms I’ve ever presented in. The over-20-foot (diagonal) screen was one of my largest ever. A big screen really enhances the audience experience!

Evergreen Worship & Performing Arts Center

Evergreen Worship & Performing Arts Center

This wonderful facility featured state-of-the art technology, including floor-mounted cable inputs, a great projector, computerized controls, and a wireless microphone.

Cable Inputs

Cable Inputs



Control Panel

Control Panel

Around 45 seniors enjoyed today’s presentation of Lights of the Lakes.

Evergreen Retirement Community Audience

Evergreen Retirement Community Audience


4/27 – West Allis Public Library

Cover promo in West Allis Library Spring 2019 newsletter

Cover promo in West Allis Library Spring 2019 newsletter


Saturday morning, April 27th dawned calmly, but by mid-day an approaching cold front was forecast to bring first rain, then heavy snow to Southeast Wisconsin. Driving to the West Allis Library to present this show, even the overhead signs on the freeway screamed,

10 AM TO 10 PM

The threatening weather forecast had been saturation-bombed on local TV and radio for the past day and night. That was sufficient to scare off at least half of the expected audience for today’s show. The fifteen brave souls who ventured out were treated to an enjoyable “Lights of the Lake” presentation. Unlike the promise made in the headline of the promo, these folks got to see lighthouses on two Great Lakes, not just one. Lights of the Lakes features over sixty lighthouses on Lakes Superior and Michigan.

Those who stayed home, afraid to go out in bad weather, missed out. As it turned out, the snowfall in our area was zero inches. Our neighbors to the south in Illinois got dumped on, however, with over six inches of snow in areas. I’m grateful that the storm tracked further south than forecast, making today’s travel easy in Wisconsin.