Put a ring on it? How about a lock?
Love Locks, which have appeared all over the world from European bridges to a chain at Grant Park in South Milwaukee, are a collection of padlocks symbolically locked to a bridge, fence, chain or other public monument to represent a couple’s unbreakable bond. Sometimes couples carve their initials into the lock and then toss the key in a nearby body of water to further symbolize their everlasting love.
According to Cheryl Prondzinski, a group of students from South Milwaukee High School, including her daughter, started the local love lock chain circa 2014 after returning from a school trip to Paris where they first saw love locks.
"Over time, more and more started popping up in Grant Park. It’s just one of those word of mouth things that locals have known about for a while," says Prondzinski.
There is also a collection of Love Locks in De Pere, Wisconsin, along the cabling at Sunset Point on the Riverwalk.
Although the love locks are a positive symbol, they are not always appreciated and sometimes do harm to the original structure. Thousands of locks have been removed from bridges and public monuments in Australia, France, Germany, Italy and Ireland because they were scratching, weighing down or obstructing the aesthetic of the architecture.
The Grant Park chain of love locks appears harmless, but a recent thread on the Bay View Town Hall Facebook page included comments that it was an act of vandalism and could cost tax payers money if they need to be removed. There is also concern over the health ramifications of throwing keys into the lake after placing the lock.
"It’s a nice idea, but it could do more harm than good," says Michael, a South Milwaukee resident who wished to withhold his last name. "There's a line between art and vandalism, and you know it's been crossed when you see it."
What say you Milwaukee: Is this an act of art, love, vandalism or all of the above?
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.