After more than a quarter century spent out of commission, the illuminated letters that once graced the side of Milwaukee City Hall will be back on display.
The letters can be found on the south side of the Milwaukee County Historical Center beginning at night on Friday, Nov. 21, located at 910 N. Old World 3rd St., spelling out the word "J-O-Y" – a part of a campaign to find joy at the Milwaukee County Historical Society this holiday season.
First instituted in 1906, the letters spelled out little messages to Milwaukee citizens and visitors on the south side of Milwaukee City Hall. The letters are likely most famous for their role in the iconic opening credits for "Laverne & Shirley," welcoming visitors – and TV viewers – to Milwaukee. They were continually used on the side of City Hall until 1988, when then Mayor Norquist had them removed due to reasons of costly maintenance.
The glowing letters were passed onto the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, before then getting passed onto the Historical Society. Since then, only the letters "M-K-E" have been on display in the Society's atrium.
In addition to the first message of "J-O-Y," the Milwaukee County Historical Society will be restoring more letters one-by-one and will continue to spell out assorted messages to Milwaukeeans throughout the year.