History of Gay and Lesbian Life in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Businesses - Bars and Clubs

Lost & Found Bar
Location: 618 N. 27th Street


late 1978
Sept. 1984

Male/ Female
Bar/ social



Lost & Found Bar was for a few years a popular bar on the outskirts of downtown, on North 27th Street just south of Wisconsin Avenue. Owned and managed by Karla Farr, it advertised as "Milwaukee's First Women's Disco" and later as "Wisconsin's Largest Women's Bar (where everyone is welcome)". (Another 'owner', Beverly, is named in a photo published in November 1980.)

The bar held various parties, including a regular summer corn roast, and hosted live entertainment at times. By 1981 the bar was hosting a women's softball team (the Honey Bees), to play in the SSBL (Saturday Softball Beer League). However, the bar never seemed to develop a "logo", as its various ads over the years never displayed one.

The Lost & Found was closed in Sept. 1984 (right around its 6th anniversary), and reopened (under new ownership) as the Music Box.


Recollections: The following are recollections of others who have been kind enough to submit their personal memories to the webmaster. You are welcome to do the same!

      The original 'Leaded Shade' was owned by Pete and Bev Nilsson who went on to open the Lost and Found (and later owned the bar on 1st and Washington). They were an interesting couple who loved the LGBT community. I know they were like parents to many including me, Michael Roberts, a drag queen 'Donny', and many more. Everyone called Bev, 'Ma'. She was a very funny woman. We all lived above the bar in the apartments. Once we heard her yelling from her apt. Here she was sitting on the toilet and the whole plaster ceiling had fallen on her head. Another time they had a BBQ and it rained. Some genius pulled the grill inside. She called me at my other job so I came "home" and the whole bar was full of smoke. Seriously silly times.They had a daughter, Karla and son, Mike. I was a bartender for them in 1977-78ish. Every night I closed L & F and Bev sent me to Webb's on Clybourn for burgers. Once on the way back, I got mugged of the burgers!

      -- Karen Elsby, via Facebook (2018)

Advertisement welcoming teams
for Softball World Series III
May 1979
Corn Roast & plant sale
August 1980
(Milw. Calendar vol. 3 issue 18)
Cover subject: Karla Farr, owner and manager of Lost & Found, with her dog Major
(see photo description on next page)
September 1980
(Milw. Calendar vol. 3 issue 20)
Diane Gregory, "Leggs", performing
at Lost & Founds' first show
September 1980
(Milw. Calendar vol. 3 issue 20)
"This Is Entertainment" show at Lost & Found
September 1980
(Milw. Calendar vol. 3 issue 20)
October-Nov 1980
(Milw. Calendar vol. 3 issue 22+24)
Miss Gay Wisconsin Patsy Parks sings to Beverly "owner of Lost & Found" at a special dinner show
November 1980
(Milw. Calendar vol. 3 issue 26)
Valentines Day Advertisement
February 1981
(Gay Milw. vol. 4 issue 2)
Advertis: welcome "new manager Sandy";
Honey Bees softball team benefit cookout
April 1981
(Gay Milw. vol. 4 issue 6)
Grace Muro, a bartender and member of
Honey Bees softball team of SSBL league
April 1981
(Gay Milw. vol. 4 issue 7)
Many members of Honey Bees softball
team gather for team photo
April 1981
(Gay Milw. vol. 4 issue 7)
Ad: Easter Party & Baseball night
April 1981
(Gay Milw. vol. 4 issue 7
Ad: New Wave Wednesdays
May 1981
(Gay Milw. vol. 4 issue 10)
Ad: Corn Roast, and photo of
"Eclipse" musical group performing
September 1983
(Ragg, Sept. 9, 1983)

Advertisement: Gong Show,
Valentines Day
February 1979
(Milw. Calendar vol. 2 issue 26)

Closed, approx. Sept. 1984
'Steppin Out' news: (lower right of page)
(InStep vol 1 issue 12)

Lost & Found becomes Music Box
September 1984
(In Step vol. 1 issue 12)

Credits: contents, design and arrangement by Don Schwamb.
Contributors via "History of Gay Milwaukee" Facebook group and Jamie Taylor.
Last updated: September-2018.

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