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Old Wausau East High School tile subject from Milwaukee teacher's book

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WAUSAU – From 1936 to 2004, thousands of students passed the artistic tiles built into the walls of the old Wausau East High School on Fulton Street.

The tiles were painted with quirky animal pictures, which brought the school to life. Even after the school closed in 2004, the tiles remain part of the architecture of what is now East His High Apartments.

Tiles have been a part of everyday life for so many people.

But they are special and worthy of recognition, say the Milwaukee art teacher, tile artist and historian. His 33-year-old Ben He Tjeski, who teaches at Garland Elementary School in Milwaukee, became obsessed with tiles and wrote a book about them.