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Bronze Optical Building is Featured in a New LGBTQ+ Walking Tour App

Before Bronze Optical ever moved into 1568 N. Farwell Avenue, the building was home to a groundbreaking gay rights group. That’s a bit of Milwaukee history that many will learn about for the first time thanks to a new venture called LGBT milWALKee.

That second “L” in “Milwalkee” isn’t a typo. LGBT milWALKee is a mobile app offering guided, interactive and multimedia walking tours through generations of local LGBTQ+ history. Open the app, and you’ll find 25 sites – including 1568 N. Farwell Avenue, listed as the Farwell Center. The app uses your phone’s navigation tool to help you find each site and a video describes the significance of each in images, words and sound.

The organizers behind the app hope to keep adding more sites and more videos.

As the video details, Bronze Optical is located in a space once known as the Farwell Center, described as one of the first LGBTQ+ community centers in the nation. It was opened in 1975 by the Gay People’s Union or GPU, which got its start as a student organization at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. For five years, the Farwell Center was an important home base supporting the LGBTQ+ community and advocating for their rights.

Bronze Optical is supporting LGBT milWALKee as a sponsor. “It’s only fitting, since our location was so important to the early days of gay rights in Wisconsin, and even the country,” said Bronze Optical owner Tim Moss. “I hope this app builds awareness about parts of Milwaukee’s history that deserve to be remembered.”

Read more about the Farwell Center, the app, and the people both here.