September 24, 2011

Doors Open, Milwaukee ... Day One

Posted by meli on Saturday, September 24, 2011 in , , | No comments

"With Doors Open, Milwaukee extends an invitation to visit, explore and enjoy our city's built environment. Milwaukee is packed with great buildings that reveal aspects of our history, economy, and culture. Doors Open presents an opportunity to peek inside and satisfy your curiosity about notable locations. Joins us to look at Milwaukee in an entirely new way." -Tom Barrett, Mayor of Milwaukee.

2 Days really wasn't enough to time do and see all that I wanted to; 2 days was enough to just get started. I wasn't able to attend any of the in-depth lectures that I was really eager to hear. Lectures on Indigenous Milwaukee, Revolution in Milwaukee, Building Milwaukee, Milwaukee's Public Art Controversy, Biking through Milwaukee History, Encyclopedia of Milwaukee ... I could go on, lol. Suffice it to say there was a lot of great history to see, feel, and experience during this event. And while I didn't get to do nearly as much as I hoped, we still had a great time. 

This was the first year Milwaukee "Opened it's Doors", and they are hoping to make an annual event out of it. I'm looking forward to see what the first year learning curve taught them, and what will be different next year. 

We toured the Milwaukee County Fleet Transit Maintenance Building. Learned how they put together, maintain, and repair Milwaukee city buses. It was pretty interesting.

Inside the painting room. 

They don't actually OWN any of the tires they put on their buses; they're all leased!
Interesting, right? 

Seeing how ginormous bus parts are compared to car.

Milwaukee County has a total of 416 buses running through the city every day (421 if you count the 5  that come and go between a neighboring county)

View from the Sailing Center. A newer building for Milwaukee, with a closed-loop geothermal system (14 wells that are 300 feet deep) the all heating and cooling needs. Pretty cool. 

The boys were SO excited to visit the US Bank building, lol. It's the states tallest building, so they see it jetting into the sky when we're in Milwaukee. They've talked about it since moving here, so when they learned it was part of Doors Open, they couldn't wait to go inside. And when I told them we were going all the way to the observation deck on the top floor - they were crazy excited. Ahhh, my kids, it doesn't take much to put smiles on their faces! The building was built in 1973, and the observation deck is usually closed to the public. We enjoyed the views! 

from the lobby, looking up through a sky light

talking about what it would have felt like to be another 69 floors up
(the US Bank has 41 floors; and the Twin Towers had 110. Quite a different experience, I'm sure.)

Such a pretty view of the lake (and veterans park)

Love my city.

Looking out to the Daniel Hoan Bridge; which was called the Harbor Bridge when I still lived here; but it will always be the "Mickey D's bridge to me ... a name I gave it when I was tiny because of the Golden Arches. The Summerfest Grounds are there to the left. 

Feeling on top of the world!

looking out to the Milwaukee river

Miller Park is in the upper right.


We toured the Jones Island Water Reclamation Facility. This was my favorite one! The land was initially settled by Kashubian and German immigrants in the 1870's. They were a fishing community. But since they never officially obtained a deed for the land most were were evicted in the 1920's to make room for a shipping port. The remaining settlers left in the 1940's, and the land is now strictly industrial; namely the Port of Milwaukee, as well as the primary wastewater treatment plant for Milwaukee. 

We toured the wastewater treatment plant; outside and in. Outside we learned the process they use to clean wastewater before sending it out into Lake Michigan. Super interesting, actually! Very little chemicals are used; it's pretty natural process. They pride themselves in mimicking a rivers ability to clean itself. And inside we learned how nothing in wastewater goes to waste, lol. By turning all the crud into Milorganite, which is a biosolid fertilizer. Again, super interesting! 

on the bus touring the outside of the treatment plant

the first station in a 4 station cleaning process ... the wastewater has a terrific view, lol.

Hard Hat Harry X 3

Walking in to see Milorganite production up close and personal.

Take 5 ... snack break time!
Anyone wanna guess what his favorite color is? lol

waiting for our elevator up, up, up

The Milorganite is being spread out to drain moisture. 

finding it fascinating that their poo is being used as fertilizer; "just like a farm" lol


Cheesy Boys

Lets all snuggle next to the irrigation sign, lol

The one and only smoke stack

Last tour for the day was Art Asia; a gallery and museum that boasts over 1000 antique Buddhas ... uhh, yes please! Swoon. It was GORGEOUS in there! I could have bought everything right there on the spot; seriously. Instead, I now have a list a mile long; and 10's of thousands of dollars deep. One day ;-) lol

holy buddha statues, batman! They were everywhere!

gorgeous prayer flags, necklaces, and wall art

I am so drawn to asian designs.
The rich colors. The details. The inviting essence. It's intoxicating. 

feeling the snakes fangs. 

big fangs!

Gorgeous Fabrics. I had to touch everything.
Everything! lol


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