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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.








A Matter Of Political Will: High-Speed Rails In Wisconsin

Why isn’t there a high-speed rail line connecting Milwaukee with other cities in Wisconsin and the region? This question has been on the minds of many in the area for decades, including one person who wrote to Bubbler Talk — our series that allows you to ask questions about Milwaukee. The answer is complicated, but simply put: there was a plan for a higher -speed rail line, but Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was against it. “I don’t just want jobs that are created short-term based upon a...


How Were Germans Treated In Milwaukee During The World Wars?

Wisconsin boasts one of the largest German populations in the country, and in the early 1900s , Milwaukee was considered one of the most German cities in America. "Milwaukee was known as the Midwest Munich," Steve Schaffer says. "It was, ya know, a German town." This week’s Bubbler Talk question comes from listener Bruce Campbell, who wanted to know: How were Germans treated in Milwaukee during World War II? Schaffer, Milwaukee County Historical Society 's assistant archivist, estimates that...


A Deeper Look At Milwaukee's South Side 'Mural Of Peace'

If you’ve driven northbound on Interstate 43 toward Milwaukee’s downtown, chances are, you’ve noticed a gigantic mural. That colorful mural has caught the eye of Tim Brever, of Greendale, since he was a kid. He wanted to learn more about it, so he reached out to Bubbler Talk — our series where you ask, we investigate and together we unveil the answers: What is the story behind the mural located on the side of a building, coming north into Milwaukee featuring an eagle with a rainbow behind...


Tailgating's Unusual Origin Story

Tens of thousands of people in the United States enjoy tailgate parties before football and baseball games. In fact, the parties themselves have become an event, helping to draw people to stadiums, even when teams aren't having the greatest season. Over the years, some of those parties have gotten pretty big. And at places like Lambeau Field — known as one of the best tailgating stadiums — authorities have had to step in to maintain control. Five years ago, the grills, tables, chairs and...


Why Milwaukee Loves Church Festivals

For this week’s Bubbler Talk — our series where you ask, we investigate and together we unveil the answers — we look at church festivals in Milwaukee and why we love them. This all started with a question from curious community member Miguel Rivera. “Are church festivals (mostly Catholic) only popular in Milwaukee? People from out of state always seem surprised by them.” He’s been going to Catholic church festivals in Milwaukee since he was a kid. He recalls looking forward every year to the...


Racine County's Seven Mile Road Is 7 Miles From Where, Exactly?

There are three types of people in this world: Those who notice nothing. Those who notice but don’t care to question. And then there are those who ask why. David Wagner is the last one. David reached out to Bubbler Talk — our series where you ask, we investigate, and together we unveil the answers — to learn about a road he often passes. What is Seven Mile Road 7 miles from? First, we consulted Google. To be honest, Google was only good for letting us know the answer is not Lake Michigan....


WWII, Gertrude Stein & Poetry: The History Of The Bookstore At General Mitchell Airport

Walk into the public area of Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport, and you’ll see traditional airport sights: monitors for departures, places to grab coffee and food. But you’ll also see a 2,600-square-foot used bookstore, Renaissance Books. The latest Bubbler Talk — our series that allows you to ask WUWM questions about Milwaukee — takes us to the bookshop. Question asker Susie Hoglund, of Shorewood: "What is the history of the used-book store in the General Mitchell Airport?"...


Oconomowoc, Nagawicka, Okauchee: Unpacking Wisconsin's Native Place Names

When you look at a map of Wisconsin, it’s covered in names that remind us of this country’s original inhabitants. Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Waukesha, Kinnickinnic — all words derived from Native American languages. Another is Oconomowoc, about 30 miles west of Milwaukee. This week’s Bubbler Talk questioner, Jeff Dittel, moved there about two and a half years ago. “[It’s] lake country,” he says. “There’s a couple dozen lakes. And some of them have English names like Pine Lake, Beaver Lake and...


Northridge Mall: Still Standing In Line For Renewal

Northridge Mall was one of several large suburban malls built in the 1960s and '70s. It was at the far northwestern edge of Milwaukee — at 76th Street and Brown Deer Road. But the glory days didn’t last. The mall closed 15 years ago and has gone into extended limbo. Most of the buildings remain, but they're empty. It's a big-box ghost town with a chain link fence around it. The latest Bubbler Talk — our series that allows you to ask WUWM questions about Milwaukee — tackles curious community...


Beach Trash: Where Lake Michigan’s Litter Originates

*Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that 21.8 million pounds of trash end up in Lake Michigan every year. That number is actually the total for all of the Great Lakes. Almost every day since last June, Marla Schmidt has walked along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Bay View. But she’s not lounging around enjoying the beach — she’s picking up trash. She regularly gathers plastic and other garbage that washes up on the shore, filling her bucket on nearly every trip....


The Milwaukee Fire Department’s Unknown Heroes

A fire truck making its way to a scene, sirens blazing, is a common sight in cities and towns across America. But within the Milwaukee Fire Department (MFD), there's a support staff responsible for maintaining all the equipment firefighters depend on. For this week's Bubbler Talk — our series that allows you to ask WUWM questions about Milwaukee —questioner Jay Blanchett wanted to know about a special kind of fire truck: Why, since I’ve lived here for 22 years now, I have never seen a tiller...


Miller Park Roof Rules: It's More Than The Weather

The Milwaukee Brewers' Miller Park has a roof hotline – 414-902-4636 – that tells callers the weather and if the roof is open or closed. That way fans know what to expect when they head to a ball game. But how do the Brewers decide whether the Miller Park roof is open or closed at game time? That’s a question Bubbler Talk received from listener Lila Johnson. Lila is a recent transplant to Milwaukee from Minnesota, whose Twins don’t get to decide whether to close the non-existent roof at...


Brady Street Beasts Creator Hopes To Restore Iconic Milwaukee Sculpture

For this week’s Bubbler Talk , we tackled a request from Kathy Yanoff of Shorewood to provide an update on the Brady Street Beasts. The beasts Kathy refers to are actually part of a sculpture featuring fanciful creatures on Milwaukee’s east side, called Cavorting Critters. It’s tucked away near the corner of Brady and Holton streets north of downtown, and you can get the best view while walking or driving over the Holton Street Bridge. There are three critters — a water rat, a dragonfly and...


Unpacking The History Of Milwaukee's Eagles Club

What was the Eagles Ballroom before it became The Rave ? That’s a question we’ve heard a lot at Bubbler Talk and it turns out there are a lot of answers. The Eagles Club on Wisconsin Avenue was first completed in 1926. It was the headquarters for the Milwaukee Aerie of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles – a national social organization with a rather illustrious history. The group created Mother’s Day and its membership includes many former presidents - John F. Kennedy, Franklin Delano...


Painted Koi Fish Have Been 'Swimming' On Milwaukee's Sidewalks For Over A Decade

If you do much walking through Milwaukee neighborhoods, say in the Historic Third Ward or Bay View, you’ve probably stumbled across vibrant schools of fish painted on the sidewalks. They're koi, the large decorative fish some people keep in outdoor ponds. I spotted a few of the paintings on the East Side, where several clusters of koi are depicted in orange, black and white patterns. A few Bubbler Talk listeners have asked about the paintings. So I tracked down street artist and former...


Ice Cream Cocktails, Milwaukee-Style

This story originally aired September 8, 2017. According to TMJ4 , At Random closed on May 19, 2018 and is up for sale. Pink Squirrel, Grasshopper, Brandy Alexander, Banshee... Is there something uniquely Milwaukee about ice cream cocktails? That's the question Elina Kats of Glendale sent in to WUWM's Bubbler Talk . Elina says she always has been kind of fascinated by the drinks. So to learn more, we headed into a time warp of sorts. Or, really, we just walked into a Bay View bar. At Random...


How Do Milwaukee's Movable Bridges Work?

If you live, work, or drive through downtown Milwaukee, chances are your route has been interrupted by the sound of a dinging bell and the bellow of a horn as a bridge prepares to allow a boat pass. After all, Milwaukee is home to 21 movable bridges , which cross the Menomonee, Kinnickinnic, and Milwaukee rivers. Listener Kate Riordan’s remembers a bike ride that was interrupted by a bridge lifting, and she noticed something that caught her interest and inspired this week’s Bubbler Talk :...


Remembering Dick Bacon, Milwaukee's Man With The Tan

Summer is the favorite time of year for most beach-goers. But Milwaukee once was home to a unique fellow who tanned year-round at the lakefront. Our Bubbler Talk questioner wanted to know: Who was that guy? Many people who lived in Milwaukee before 2000, like Cynthia Hoffman, know the answer. The man was the late Dick Bacon. "During those years, everybody knew who Dick Bacon was," Hoffman says. "The first thing I think of is this ultra, ultra-crispy tan body. And he would have this sort of...


Bubbler Talk: Milwaukee's Breakwater

A Bubbler Talk listener was curious about Milwaukee's breakwater, wondering where the rocks came from, and how they ended up standing in the middle of the harbor. WUWM Environmental Reporter Susan Bence explored the subject for this week's segment. To kick off our sixth season of Bubbler Talk , Susan turned to Larry Sullivan, chief engineer with Milwaukee’s Port Authority. She asked him about the history of the breakwater structure. “It was built by the federal government to create a harbor...


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 , Jabari , and a new arena in the works . 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?" Well Gary, Milwaukee's first professional sports team was it's professional basketball team -...