By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Dec 22, 2012 at 10:11 AM

The other day, I accompanied Andy Tarnoff to the Milwaukee County Historical Society to check out the "Milwaukee in Miniature" exhibit which has Ferdinand Aumueller's tiny recreations of mostly disappeared Milwaukee landmarks.

Seeing the show reminded how much Milwaukee has changed in the nearly 30 years I've lived here; how the razing of some buildings and the construction of others has altered the cityscape.

But I also was reminded later that same day that change happens all the time and sometimes little things we see every day and take for granted can quietly flicker and go dark and often it takes a long time to realize; it can require waiting to see a cumulative effect.

That thought struck me as I drove west on I-794 through Downtown and I suggested that my older kid show the younger one what we used to call the "changing light tower," which referred to the modest light show that used to illuminate the tower atop 606 E. Wisconsin Ave.

As an aside, like most children, mine are very observant, and so we have lots of kid-generated names – some obvious and some less so – for Milwaukee landmarks, such as:

  • The old beer place = Pabst
  • The new beer place = Miller
  • TV tower = the tower atop the Downtown Hilton City Center
  • Light-up window place = Milwaukee County Historical Society
  • Lighthouse library = Central Library
  • Dinosaur museum = Milwaukee Public Museum

But, we couldn't find the changing light tower that used to be something that hypnotized my eldest in the past. The tower is still there, but it's unlit.

When did it go dark? Has it been days? Weeks? Months? Sure, it's a small facet of the night skyline Downtown, but it was one of ours. What else has changed right before our eyes that we haven't noticed yet?

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.