Hemmed in, but still a beacon

For decades Milwaukee’s favorite weather forecast has been the flame atop the Wisconsin Gas Building. It changes color and flashes to announce rising/falling temperatures, snow/rain, or a steady state (no change from current conditions). There’s even a little poem to help you remember:

When the flame is red, warm weather is ahead.

When the flame is gold, watch out for cold.

When the flame is blue, there’s no change in view.

Where there’s agitation, expect precipitation.

The farthest-off white building has been around since the early 1970s, and I think it remains the tallest building in Wisconsin. But the other skyscrapers are new, built within the past 5-10 years. Makes it harder to find our trusty beacon, but it’s still there for all those willing to seek it out.

Looks like we’ll continue warming up. Temps are in the eighties this week. Hard to believe we got several inches of snow and ice just two weeks ago. That’s life in Wisconsin, I guess  🙂

About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. I also volunteer with a Milwaukee homeless sanctuary, Repairers of the Breach, as chair of the Communications and Fund Development Committee.
This entry was posted in architecture, History, Life, Milwaukee, Photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Hemmed in, but still a beacon

  1. Great post! Brought back a lot of memories!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Rose says:

    Very nostalgic iconic building as well as the poem… Is the furthest white building the former
    Marine National Bank Plaza built in the 60’s?…Stauffer”s Restaurant at the top of the Marine was
    high class in it’s day. Was it Chase bank that purchased or merged in the ’70’s? Everything
    is being overshadowed with the newer skyscrapers.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The white building is the First Wisconsin (and later Firstar) building. Now it’s the US Bank building. I took this photo from the MSOE Library looking SE across Cathedral Square. The Marine Bank would be to the SW, over on the river. But I’ll tell ya, with all the new construction downtown, it’s hard to get a fix on any familiar landmarks! No wonder you couldn’t tell which direction we were looking at the Gas Co. from 😄

      Liked by 1 person

      • Rose says:

        Thanks. It’s all in the perspective of your vantage point.. As a child I loved the Gas Co building’s flame. It was always fun to find on our drive to downtown from the SW view. Now it’s a hidden jewel. I myself still refer to it as the Marine on visits to the area. I would imagine the Allen Bradley clock tower is still referred as such instead of the Rockwell clock tower. LOL I didn’t understand why my relatives referred to places by their old names until adulthood. I believe they still referred to their old names out of fond memories.

        Liked by 2 people

    • And, yes, I think Chase bought the Marine Bank. But I still call it “Marine.” I seem to be turning into my grandmother that way. She used to call places by their old names from decades earlier.

      Liked by 1 person

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