There are lots of changes in Milwaukee’s landscape this week. Here are a few of them ... along with one thing that hasn't changed much in more than a century.
For example, yesterday I tweeted about Milwaukee Public Museum’s project, which begins this week, to replace the reportedly unstable marble south facade on its eight-story tower with 234 solar panels.
The work will take about five months and will require the temporary closing of the butterfly wing during the removal work, which will last about a month.
Surely the change will alter the look of the main facade of the museum, which was completed in 1962. According to communications director Carrie Becker, the bird sculpture currently on the tower will be saved and mounted on the wall to the right of the main entrance.
The solar panels will generate an estimate 77,533 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. According to a press release, that’s enough to power 442 60-watt light bulbs for eight hours a day for a year.
Today is the day that the city will officially break ground on The Standard @ East Library project.
Mayor Tom Barrett, third district Ald. Nik Kovac, Milwaukee Public Library Director Paula Kiely, and Brett Haney and Ryan Schultz, owners of developer HSI Properties, will put ceremonial shovels to soil today at 1910 E. North Ave., at 1:30 p.m.
The multi-use development, slated for completion late next year, will house a new 16,000-square foot East Library, along with 99 apartments and parking.
Of more immediate value to me on a daily basis is the opening of the Pleasant Street Bridge. While the official ribbon cutting takes place on Thursday at 4 p.m., with a bash to follow at nearby Wolf Peach, I spied on Twitter this morning that the bridge was open to traffic and so I reverted to my old route to see for myself.
The new bridge is wide and smooth, with brightly painted bike lanes and crosswalks. It’s too bad the bridge house on the nearby Cherry Street Bridge wasn’t viewed as a challenge to be bettered. The one here is pretty unassuming.
Meanwhile, 31st Street School, designed by Van Ryn and DeGelleke and built in 1895, has gotten a new paint job this summer. Like Eighth Street School, the building – which now houses Westside Academy – has a multi-colored facade. But, then, it has had a variegated aspect for a while now.
The new version is mostly white, with details painted in the shade of crimson that was formerly the main color. Back then, the details were a pinkish, almost peach color. The green highlights from the previous paint scheme have been maintained.
The effect is a much airier, brighter and welcoming look. But we'll see how it looks in a couple years. The white paint that used to cover many vintage schoolhouses looked pretty ratty once it lost its sheen and started to peel.
And, finally, as a reminder that while something is always changing, there are many other things that stay the same.
Though I see the two-story cream city brick house at 1324 N. Marshall St. that is home to St. Paul's Thrift Shop, almost daily, I never before noticed the flower motifs on the lintels. Some are losing their definition but others are much sharper. I’ve included a photo above for your enjoyment.
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 OnMilwaukee.com 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.