By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Oct 16, 2023 at 12:02 PM

We recently received a question from reader Linda (who declined to share a surname, but did send the photos you see here), asking, “We have been trying to figure out the meanings of items that are bronzed on the RiverWalk map. This is the map by the Chase Bank. The items in question are a glove and a book.”


The map she’s talking about is ensconced in an informational kiosk in the plaza in front of Chase Tower, 111 E. Wisconsin Ave., just east of the Milwaukee River on the south side of Wisconsin Avenue.

I got a response from Alyssa Remington, Economic Development Specialist for City of Milwaukee’s Department of City Development.

“The kiosk is a product of The Design Office of Catherine and James Donnelly, and it features a map of landmarks along the RiverWalk, canopied with metal grapevines and colored glass,” Remington replied, quoting from a 1999 article by the late Journal Sentinel architecture critic Whitney Gould. “A leafy weather vane whirls on top.

“Look closely and you'll also see a cast bronze work glove on the ground below – a reminder, Catherine Donnelly says, ‘that this was built by working people, with their hands.’ And check out the little bronze law book off to the side: It pays homage to the Cook and Franke law firm, which helped fund the kiosk.”

The bronze pieces were cast for the Donnelly by Basco, Wisconsin-based artist Peter Flannery, Remington added.

In addition to also designing an information kiosk along the RiverWalk at Kilbourn Avenue, the Donnelly office also created the unique bus shelter on the southeast corner of Oakland and North Avenues in 2001.

Cook and Franke law firm – one of the state’s largest for a time – shut down in 2012.

Gould liked the work, writing in August 1999, “Of all the pedestrian-oriented gestures made or planned for Milwaukee's downtown streets, it's hard to imagine any that could be more witty or lovingly crafted than the kiosk in front of Bank One.


“In its inspired use of industrial materials, its attention to detail and sensitivity to local history, this is an amenity for the ages.”

However, not everyone agreed with this assessment and surely not Judith Ann Moriarty, a longtime Milwaukee artist, arts writer and activist.

“The kiosk is hideous and has little to do with the space surrounding it,” she wrote to the paper in response to Gould’s take. “The inclusion of a cast bronze work glove in the design is a direct rip-off from the far more successful homage to working people at Zeidler Park.

“In its efforts to incorporate a mass of historical references, the Design Office of Catherine and James Donnelly has, in fact, created an overwrought mess. And there it stands – cutesy forever.”

As for Linda?

“I like the design, she says, adding, “it needs to be kept updated and freshened up but I think they’re unique.”

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 has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.