Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Day 2 Kalamazoo to Milwaukee

September 2016 - Milwaukee Wisconsin

Dueling GPS! We haven't had complete faith in the car's GPS but she has proved herself on this trip.

How could we resist stopping into a town called Paw Paw??

Paw Paw is named for the pawpaw trees which once grew along the Paw Paw River.

Paw Paw is in a rural location whose primary agricultural product is grapes, which are used both in the local Michigan wine industry and for juice and jellies. The St. Julian Winery and Warner's Winery started in Paw Paw. Paw Paw has an annual Wine and Harvest Festival, which traditionally occurs the weekend following Labour Day.

Van Buren County officials occupied the first county courthouse (the present Paw Paw City Hall) in 1845. On September 2, 1901, Frank O. Gilbert, the Grand Master of the Free and Accepted Masons, laid the cornerstone for the present courthouse. Members of the Grand Army of the Republic and fraternal organizations marched through the town in celebration. The Paw Paw True Northerner estimated that between 8,000 and 10,000 people attended the ceremony. The monumental Classical Revival building designed by Jackson architect Claire Allen, was dedicated on February 23, 1903. The Sheldon and Oradell Rupert memorial clock was installed in the tower in 1986.

Walked by the police station and spotted this beauty.


Back on the road and rain. New Buffalo water tower.

We gain an hour in Indiana - Central Time Zone.

We spent at least $10 in tolls from Illinois to Wisconsin.

Starbucks coffee break.

 Traffic was horrendous around Chicago, but it's the only way.

I'm sure you do!!

Don't like being sandwiched...

We are staying at Hilton Garden Inn Milwaukee Downtown - photo from their website.

Hilton Garden Inn Milwaukee Downtown Hotel, WI - Hotel Exterior

The building was formerly known as the Loyalty Building (after former tenant & insurance company the Loyalty Group). It was originally built as the third headquarters for Northwestern Mutual until the company moved to their current home on E. Wisconsin Ave in 1914. The building has also been referred to as the 611 North Broadway Building and originally as the New Insurance Building and later the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company Home Office.

The building is protected by Milwaukee’s historic preservation ordinance as it is one of many buildings in the East Side Commercial Historic District (designated November 17th, 1987). It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places (March 20th, 1973) The site was previously home to the Hewhall House Hotel, which was destroyed by a fire in 1883. 

Check in was so professional and friendly. When I commented on how beautiful the building was and how I had heard about the vault doors that were kept the desk clerk had another clerk watch our luggage and took us on a tour to see the doors.

Back in the day, it was a sensible solution because it captured a natural resource — sunlight — which was very helpful before electricity was a common option.

The windows, by the way, are massive.

And the staircase! I don’t know how I’ll ever get used to a stairwell again. The Loyalty’s grand marble steps got me ready for my day. Some were worn down in spots — a quiet message from working stiffs who had gone before me.

Speaking of floors — I never tired of those incredible tiles. The window sills were deep and perfect for plants. Wacky copper newel posts that looked like harlequin hats marked my way as I climbed the staircase.

The city of Milwaukee lies some 90 miles north of Chicago, on the west side of Lake Michigan, at the inflow of the Milwaukee River, which is joined within the city area by two tributaries: the Menomonee and the Kinnickinnic. Milwaukee has had its fair share of ethnic influences: the area was once home to the Indian village of Melleoki. It was also visited by French missionaries, settled by Canadian fur traders, and finally welcomed numerous immigrants from Germany. Indeed, much of the city's population is of German origin, and it's often referred to as the "German Athens" of America.

Milwaukee Map - Tourist Attractions

After checking in at 2 PM we headed out to rather chilly weather to the RiverWalk.

Past and present artfully connect along the Downtown RiverWalk. This section traverses Milwaukee's main thoroughfare, Wisconsin Avenue, and passes by its largest theater district, which includes the Milwaukee Repertory Theater and the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, which is home to the Milwaukee Ballet, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Florentine Opera and First Stage Children's Theater.

The Bronze Fonz!!

The Bronze Fonz is a public artwork by American artist Gerald P. Sawyer located on the Milwaukee Riverwalk just south of Wells Street  The Bronze Fonz depicts Henry Winkler as the Happy Days TV show character Arthur Fonzarelli, also known as the Fonz. Fonzie stands in his typical costume, which consists of a leather jacket and jeans. He is giving a two-handed thumbs up.

Mounted on the wall of a building along the west bank of the river between Wells Street and Wisconsin Avenue
A large expanse of wall on this downtown building lights up at night with lighthouses and colorful neon fish "swimming" under waves.

Adorable! This humorous, colorful pop art sculpture depicts Gertie directing her ducklings as they row the boat.

These works, abstract versions of the female form, are inspired by the environment around us.

This distinctive bright red sculpture is a meditation on the sum being more than its parts. Specifically, its five elements focus on the five members of the Miles Davis quartet from the late 50s, and how they coalesced to make music as a group beyond their individual abilities. It is also about our powers as individuals to do the same, to unite with others to rise above our situations and propel ourselves upward.

Along the Highland Street Bridge
Artist John Ready created the collection, "River Gems," entirely from repurposed materials, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the RiverWalk in 2009. The sculptures resemble "earrings" that hang from the light poles along this pedestrian bridge.

Nowhere is Milwaukee's German heritage more evident than along Old World Third Street, a three-block historic landmark zone just north of downtown. The city's past is brought to life in the detailed facades of the 19th-century European-style buildings lining this cobblestone street.

We stopped for a cider and some delicious chicken wings with an in-house smokey sauce.

Shopping at Wisconsin Cheese Mart.

The legendary Usinger's Sausage Company.

Mader's, where famous German dishes have satisfied hungry patrons for more than 100 years. We might have to make a visit.

The Spice House is a feast for all senses. I didn't take a photo but it couldn't have captured the perfumed air surrounding the building.

The Pabst Theater is one of Milwaukee's architectural gems. Built at the turn of the 20th century, the theater is built in a style reminiscent of Europe's best opera houses with a charming Baroque interior, including a spectacular chandelier and an Italian Carrara marble staircase. Included on the National Register of Historic Places, the theater is still used for stage and musical productions. A popular related attraction is the Pabst Mansion near the University of Wisconsin's Milwaukee campus. Built in 1893 for the wealthy Pabst family, it's notable for its Flemish Renaissance Revival style with period furnishings and d├ęcor.

Milwaukee City Hall was designed by architect Henry C. Koch in the Flemish Renaissance Revival style, based on both German precedent (for example, the Hamburg Rathaus or city hall), and local examples (the Pabst Building, demolished in 1981). Due to Milwaukee's historic German immigrant population, many of the surrounding buildings mirror this design. The foundation consists of 2,584 white pine pilers which were driven in to the marshy land surrounding the Milwaukee River. The upper part of the tower was rebuilt after a fire in October 1929.

The bell in City Hall was named after Solomon Juneau, Milwaukee's first mayor. It was designed and crafted by the Campbells, who were early pioneers in creating diving chambers and suits near the Great Lakes area during that time.

French explorer and Jesuit missionary, Pere Jacques Marquette, was one of the first Europeans to explore the Great Lakes. In addition to the Park that bears his name, Milwaukee is home to the Catholic, Jesuit Marquette University.

This giant sphere was created using repurposed end caps of propane tanks, proving that everyday objects can turn into extraordinary sculpture.

This bronze arch was created by Milwaukee artist Beth Sahagian as a millennium project. The proud female warrior and river protector, who sits sentinel at its highest point serves as an unofficial guardian and gatekeeper of the RiverWalk.

It's windy and cold so we head back to the hotel to put our feet up and then decided we'd have room service for  dinner.


  1. Didn't realize there was so much to see in Milwaukee.

  2. I've never been to Milwaukee, but it looks like a fantastic place!
    What brought you there?

    1. It really is fantastic. WE are on our way to Minneapolis as john has a ticket for the Ryder Cup! So we thought we'd make a road trip out of it.


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