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NETWORK: WUWM - Milwaukee's NPR What's got you scratching your head about the Milwaukee area? WUWM 89.7 FM - Milwaukee's NPR investigates listener questions.

NETWORK: WUWM - Milwaukee's NPR What's got you scratching your head about the Milwaukee area? WUWM 89.7 FM - Milwaukee's NPR investigates listener questions.
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NETWORK: WUWM - Milwaukee's NPR What's got you scratching your head about the Milwaukee area? WUWM 89.7 FM - Milwaukee's NPR investigates listener questions.








Next Time You're At Milwaukee's Airport, Look Down At The Intricate Mosaics At Your Feet

Imagine you’re rushing to catch a flight at Milwaukee County's General Mitchell International Airport — maybe for business or a long-anticipated vacation. What's on your mind? If you’re Dan Schley, you’re wondering: What’s the story behind the floor mosaics? "It caught my attention and I thought, 'I’m just going to ask this,' " the Bubbler Talk question asker says. Dan is talking about a massive piece of public art that spans the floor of Concourse C — the terminal that juts to the northeast...


The Ledge-Sit That Brought The Who To Milwaukee In 1982

How far would you go to get your favorite band to come play in your town? For Milwaukee radio personality Tim 'The Rock 'N' Roll Animal' it involved going out on a ledge. That ledge-endary sit sticks out in Mike Crowley's mind, so he wrote to Bubbler Talk to learn more about it: "How long did WQFM DJ Tim 'The Rock 'N' Roll Animal' camp outside of the studio in order to entice The Who to play Milwaukee in 1982?" Mike, the answer is: two weeks. Now let's tell the story. It was 1982, and the...


Remnants Of The Cold War, Some Milwaukee Fallout Shelters Remain

Cold War fallout shelters are still around the Milwaukee area. You can still find some if you look for the signs, but many have fallen out of use. Whitefish Bay resident Tom Fehring reached out to Bubbler Talk to learn more about these shelters: “There are at least three buildings in my neighborhood that host fallout shelters. Do these shelters have a functional purpose today?” First, a little Cold War history: fallout shelters were built roughly 50-65 years ago, as the post-World War II-era...


Is Milwaukee's Coffee Scene Unique?

If you take a look around Milwaukee and its surrounding communities, you may have noticed that coffee shops are kind of the new corner stores. From international chains like Starbucks to local roasters like Stone Creek, coffee seems to have taken over the city. But this didn't happen overnight. In fact, Milwaukee's coffee scene has been growing for decades to become the powerhouse it is today. But how did this happen? And is Milwaukee's coffee scene unique compared to similar-sized cities?...


How Did Milwaukee's Drinking Culture Start?

For some people, it's not an evening out in Milwaukee without a cocktail, a beer, or a glass of wine. But why does so much local social life revolve around alcohol? The city's known across the country for its drinking culture. "Milwaukee is the second-highest city in America per capita for bars. There's one bar per 1,800 people in Milwaukee. In America, there's one bar per 4,800 people. This is a bar town!" said the host of the Paramount Network show "Bar Rescue" when visiting Milwaukee....


Where Are Milwaukee's Pigeons?

Editor's note : This piece was originally published on April 21, 2017. Phil Lapayowker has noticed a distinct lack of what some people unkindly call "flying rats" in Milwaukee. "I was listening to a podcast and they were talking about animals in cities and stuff, and they ended with, 'Do you know what color a pigeon’s eyes are?' and I was like, I have no idea!" Phil says. "So, I’ll go look for one, or when I’m walking I’ll see one I’m sure. And I’ve never run into one in Milwaukee … I mean...


Milwaukee City Hall Square: A Postcard Reveals More Than 100 Years Of History

It might be difficult to picture City Hall in downtown Milwaukee more than 100 years ago. A lot has changed. But prepare yourself for a glimpse into the past. Before we step back in time, meet August Behrens. While researching some cool architecture in Milwaukee, he came across an old postcard that piqued his interest. So, he reached out to Bubbler Talk : What happened to City Hall Square and fountain that used to be there? In an old postcard from the early 20th century, it looks like...


How Do Historic Milwaukee Buildings Get That Designation?

Earlier this summer about a thousand Shorewood residents tried to protect a historic home from being torn down. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele bought the Eschweiler mansion last year and maintained that it had to be razed because of poor conditions. During the same time this was making headlines, a listener wrote in to Bubbler Talk with this question: How does a historic building get that designation? And when the buildings are privately owned, what can we do to protect them? In the...


Milwaukee 'Boat House' Has Been A Symbol Of Nonconformity For 100 Years

On the corner of Cambridge Avenue and Hampshire Avenue on Milwaukee’s east side, there’s a home that stands out. It’s not a bungalow or a duplex or a high-rise. It’s a boat. It looks like a 70-foot-long yacht, perched on a grassy lawn, facing the Milwaukee River. If that isn’t enough to catch your eye, there is a lighthouse replica on the front lawn. “It’s super fun to say to people, ‘You know, the boat house?’ ” says Nola Hitchcock Cross, a local attorney and the current owner of the...


Motels On South 27th Street Are A Reminder Of Yesteryear

If you’ve ever driven down South 27 Street in Franklin, Wis., you know there are a lot of motels there. El Rancho, the Knotty Pine, Sunrise, Modern 41, Embassy, the Oakwood and the list goes on and on. My count: 10 within a 2-mile drive, which takes about three minutes. Over the years, lots of people have written to Bubbler Talk asking about those motels. The most recent question came from a guy named Don Gloo: “Hi Bubbler Talk! I was just wondering why are there so many mom and pop motels...


One Of Milwaukee's Last Movie Palaces Is Getting New Life

Like many cities, Milwaukee once was home to a number of "movie palaces" — places where the surroundings were nearly as much of a draw as what was playing on the screen. These were single-screen, sometimes luxurious venues built in the early days of cinema well before the proliferation of TVs and suburban multiplexes. They had special features like air conditioning and newsreels. Bubbler Talk received a question asking what happened to one of those theaters: the Grand, previously known as...


Were Visitors Really Allowed To Feed Polar Bears Marshmallows At The Milwaukee County Zoo?

Editor's note : This piece was originally published April 6, 2018. When was the last time you went to the Milwaukee County Zoo? Did you see the polar bear? You didn't feed it anything, right? Well, Bubbler Talk question-asker Jessica Ols has been wondering about her trips to the zoo in the early 1980s: "I have vague memories of when I was little that you can feed marshmallows to the polar bears at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Everybody I talk to says I'm insane," she laughs. "Because there's no...


Who Rides The Ferry Across Lake Michigan, And Why?

Bay View resident Stacy Dent often drives over the Hoan Bridge, looks down at the Lake Express ferry, and wonders... who rides that? "I’m very curious who these people are," she says. "Are they going for the day? Or are they moving? Or do they work across the lake?" So, Stacy reached out to Bubbler Talk — our series that answers your questions about Milwaukee and the region. If you aren't familiar with the Lake Express , it's a high speed ferry that travels between Milwaukee, Wis. and...


Before #FearTheDeer, What Was Pro Basketball Like In Milwaukee?

When you think of the NBA in Milwaukee - of course, the Milwaukee Bucks come to mind. We’ve got Giannis , a fiesty team, and a new arena . But what was pro basketball like here before the Bucks? That question is what lead Gary to reach out to Bubbler Talk . He wanted to know: "Who played on Milwaukee’s first professional basketball team? What happened to it? And what years were they in town?" Bubbler Talk: Send Us Your Questions About Milwaukee Well Gary, Milwaukee's first professional...


What's That Smell When You Drive Over Milwaukee's Hoan Bridge?

Editor's note: This piece was originally published on Nov. 3, 2017. Imagine you're driving into downtown Milwaukee over the Hoan Bridge. Lake Michigan glistens to the east, the city's skyline rises before you, and then WHAM! A smell infiltrates your car and overwhelms your senses. If you've experienced it, you know what we are referring to. If you haven't, some people describe the smell like this: Bubbler Talk question asker Terry wanted us to follow that scent: "What's that rotten egg...


Good Well Hunting: Bay View Watering Hole Last Of Its Kind

Editor's note : This post was originally published Feb. 17, 2017. For this week’s Bubbler Talk , we visit the Pryor Avenue Iron Well in Bay View. Listener Lisa asked: What can you tell me about the Bay View Spring on Pryor Avenue? Why and how did it start? It's still running; do people still drink from it? Built in 1882, the Pryor Avenue Iron Well is the only one that remains in the entire city of Milwaukee. In Bay View alone, there used to be six wells throughout the neighborhood for...


How The Orange, Sunburst Sculpture On Wisconsin Avenue Came To Be

Whether you’re driving or walking east on Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Milwaukee, as you approach the lake bluff, you'll see a bright orange sculpture. It’s hard to miss. It's made of steel beams that point in every direction, earning it the nickname the "sunburst sculpture." Maybe you've stopped and stared and wondered: What is this? Where did it come from? And why is it here? That’s what a few of our Bubbler Talk — our series that answers your questions about Milwaukee and the region —...


Milwaukee's Public Bubblers: As Common As They Used To Be?

It's fitting that Fox Point resident Trish Mousseau reached out to Bubbler Talk — our series that answers your questions about Milwaukee and the region — with a question about bubblers. No, her question wasn't about why Wisconsinites call bubblers, bubblers. ( That's the very first question Bubbler Talk ever answered .) LISTEN: Why Do Wisconsinites Call That A Bubbler, Anyway? What Trish wanted to know about is public drinking fountains in Milwaukee County. More specifically: "I'm wondering...


Shh, No Roaring! When A Lion Lived In The Downtown Milwaukee Library Building

In the file of "truth is stranger than fiction," the Milwaukee downtown library was once home to a lion cub. While it seems fantastical, he lived there back when the library shared a building with the Milwaukee Public Museum. And Heidi Havens heard about the big cat while working as a librarian elsewhere in the city. So, she wrote to Bubbler Talk — our series that answers your questions about Milwaukee’s people, places and culture — asking us to find out what happened to him. The story...


The 1861 Bank Riot That Rocked Milwaukee

The 1861 Milwaukee Bank Riot was one of those moments that people thought would never be forgotten. Now, there are few remaining articles and references to this flashpoint in city history. But Hugh Swofford wrote to Bubbler Talk — our series that answers your questions about Milwaukee and the region — to change that. The riot was about much more than that single day of chaos on June 24, 1861. To tell the full story, let's go back a few decades to the presidency of Andrew Jackson. In 1836...