(actually "Mom" is home,
"Hello from Milwaukee"
(did you listen to the audio entries I made during
our flight to Milwaukee?)
5 October 2005
I've written the chronology of our trip. Who did what and when. I thought it would be interesting to write some additional thoughts about the area. For so many years, Ellen has been saying that there really wasn't much to see in Milwaukee and that we'd probably enjoy Chicago more. (Kind of what I would say about the Davis-Sacramento area, now that I think about it).
But contrary to press, it was a delightful town. The two overwhelming first impressions that I received were (a) very clean, and (b) more laid back than, say, San Francisco. Perhaps we hit it at a quiet time.
This is also a town where it pays to look up because of all the frou-frou on the tops of the buildings.
There is a strong Christian presence here, based on the number of church steeples that I counted (most of which I did not have an opportunity to photograph.
(I kind of liked this Lady Bug building in downtown Milwaukee. Apparently the lady bugs preceded the current incarnation as a dance club.)
The city's German and Germanic heritage and influence are very much felt, in both the sturdy, practical structure of so many of the older buildings, and also in the remnants of the old brewing industry (the city once had the title of "beer capital of the world"). Miller is still brewed in Milwaukee, but the old beers--Pabst, Schlitz, Blatz can still be found in the old breweries, now condos or office buildings, though neon signs for the old beers can still be found hanging from older saloons.
The yeast, once the staple of the brewing industry, is now packaged for bread baking. The smell of yeast fills the air as much as I remember the smell of chocolate emanating from the Ghirardelli factory when I was growing up. (Somehow I think chocolate is preferable, even though I love the smell of yeast!)
When European settlers began to move in, there was already a thriving community of Native Americans--the Sac, Fox, Chippewa, Ottawa, Winnebago, Menomonee and Potawatomi tribes, and names which survive today in places like the Menomonee and Kinnickinnic rivers, Waukesha, Wauwatosa, and of course the Potawatomi gaming casino.
I loved it that the city has a monument to Gertie...
...a duck who hatched her eggs on a bridge piling in 1945. The event was such a nice relief from the daily war news that it became an international human interest story and in 1959, two English women who had read about Gertie in the Armed Forces newsletter wrote a children's book named "Gertie the Duck," which has been translated into at least six different languages.
When we were traveling around with Mary, we saw different parts of the city than we had seen with Ellen. For one thing, we drove past the Mitchell Park Conservatory, with its three domes, where one can experience plants of an arid environment, one of a tropical environment, and a "floral show dome."
We also kind of whizzed by the Brewers Stadium...
...where three construction workers were killed when a huge crane (the largest in the world) lifting a 400 ton section of the retractible roof bent in half and collapsed. There is apparently a memorial to the three workers who were killed inside the stadium.
We got the most out of our brief time in Milwaukee. What's nice is that it whetted our appetite to see more, so who knows? Maybe we'll be back there again some day.
We have to go back--we never got to the zoo!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Mary found the perfect cookie cutter