Walking through the parking lot after a trip to Summerfest, I looked up and got a terrific view of the Daniel Hoan Bridge.
That bridge, to me, is one of the ways I identify Milwaukee; if I close my eyes, I have a few instant images and the Hoan -- named after former mayor Daniel Hoan -- is pretty close to the top of the list.
On my ride home, I thought of other landmarks that, when I see them, I'm automatically reminded of my hometown. In no particular order, here are my favorite Milwaukee landmarks:
City Hall -- When I think of Milwaukee, I think of City Hall. I kept a picture of this beautiful building on my wall during my various stops around the Midwest. To me, it means "home." When recent renovations were completed, I was lucky enough to climb up the tower for a stunning view of my most favorite building in the world.
Wisconsin Gas Building Flame -- Red, yellow, blue flashing ... The flame atop the Wisconsin Gas Building has been fascinating to me since I was a kid. I still know the goofy poem that went along with it and I still check the flame at night when I'm curious about the weather.
"The Calling" -- This is one of those landmarks that many people just can't stand, especially with the Milwaukee Art Museum sitting directly behind it. No offense to Santiago Calatrava, but he's got nothing on Mark Di Suvero's big, orange piece at the eastern edge of Wisconsin Avenue. Like City Hall, a picture of "The Calling" has gone on my wall.
Gertie the Duck -- My friends like to tease me about what I call an "immense dislike" and what they call a fear of ducks. No such angst, though, comes from Gertie, who watches over the Milwaukee River from her perch on the Wisconsin Avenue bridge. The sculpture is based on a real-life duck that inhabited the bridge during World War II. Statues of her little ducklings line the Riverwalk. If you're coming to visit me, chance are you will be introduced to Gertie.