A Milwaukee icon is about to shine a little brighter on the Downtown skyline.
On Wednesday, Richard H. Driehaus and Chicago-based M & J Wilkow, Ltd., owners of the Milwaukee Gas Light Building, at 626 E. Wisconsin Ave., will flip the switch on a newly completed lighting upgrade that will cause the weather-forecasting flame atop the building to burn more brightly.
The 1930 Art Deco building was designed by Milwaukee’s Eschweiler & Eschweiler architectural firm, which had its offices around the corner on Mason Street, and also designed this warehouse that I featured in an Urban Spelunking story this morning.
According to a statement issued by Wangard Investment Real Estate, which manages the building, the owners, "have taken advantage of advances in LED technology and upgraded the ... flame-shaped light that crowns the 20-story building.
"Thanks to a more sophisticated LED system, significantly more dynamic lighting schemes will be projected on the building’s upper floors. The unlimited light colors and patterns include the option to animate the flame-shaped light so it appears lit by gas instead of LED lights. While the building will feature a new lighting pattern, the flame will continue as it has for generations to serve as a weather beacon indicating the forecast by its color and flicker."
The lighting project was undertaken by MainStage Theatrical, Visual Terrain and Faith Technologies.
Technology will allow the 21-foot flame – it was added to the top of the building in 1956 – to be controlled autonomously using data from 11 weather stations around the city, which will determine the color of the flame, according to the now age-old Milwaukee stanza:
When the flame is red, it's warm weather ahead.
When the flame is gold, watch out for cold.
When the flame is blue, there's no change in view.
When there's a flickering flame, expect snow or rain.
"The Gas Light building is a tremendous historic legacy," said Driehaus. "Old buildings tell us where we cam…Read more...