The Grand Walk

    Anna withbox
    28 Mar 2017
    Clock 40min      Length1mi
    Rating
    1 rating
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    Milwaukee Public Library

    Milwaukee Public Library
    The Grand Walk

    Hi, my name is Anna and I am going to take you on a walk which highlights the historic buildings on Wisconsin Avenue.

    This route is approximately 1 mile and will end at the Milwaukee Art Museum. On this walk, we will continually travel east, straight towards the Lake.

    You should be standing outside the Milwaukee Public Library with it's columns and palace-like grandeur.

    I am excited to spend this time with you. You might know me from Gothic Milwaukee, my guided historical walking tours of downtown Milwaukee, or from Walking Milwaukee, my collections of self-guided walking tours of Milwaukee and Wauwatosa. I created this, and all of my tours, with the desire to plan a fun event that marries two of my favorite things: learning and walking. If you love learning more about your community while walking and seeing the sights, you are going to enjoy this.

    We begin at what I think is one of the true jewels of downtown, the Milwaukee Public Library. While the library was established in 1878, the building did not open until 1898. This area used to be known as Mozart's Grove, as it was the location of many outdoor concerts. A number of designs for the building were submitted for consideration, including one from Frank Lloyd Wright, but the group went with this Neo Renaissance design by Ferry & Clas.

    [1.5 SECOND PAUSE]

    When opened, this building served as both the library and public museum. The museum shared this location until 1963. Every local's favorite fun fact about this building is that, in 1929, a lion cub named Simba lived on the roof. He was an orphaned cub that had been brought back from an African safari. The roof was not an ideal habitat for the lion, and eventually he was moved to the Washington Park Zoo. Simba is still a part of Milwaukee, he is part of the Savanna Bush African display on the Museum's third floor. Today, the roof features the Green Roof project. There is 33,000 sq ft of vegetation on the roof, designed to decrease run-off into our stressed water system and to improve air quality. Additionally, the area is lined with solar panels which send electricity into the city power grid.

    If the library is open, I insist you go inside. My descriptions of the dome in the lobby, the ornamental plasters, the hand-laid mosaic tiles floors will all pale in comparison to actually seeing them. Once you're inside, go beyond the lobby and into the library. Walk up the marble steps to the second level and view the artwork and displays that detail the history of Milwaukee. If you find yourself captivated and want to learn more about the interior, the library offers free tours every Saturday at 11 AM.

    As you exit the main entrance, turn left and continue down the street. You will be walking away from the Marquette Campus and toward the lakefront.

    So, if you want to go inside the library, now is your chance. Remember, when you're finished, turn left and continue down the street.

    [1.5 SECOND PAUSE]

    If you prefer to carry on with the tour now and visit the museum another time, then turn so that the Library is on your left and start walking down the street. We will be walking in this direction and staying on this side of the road for most of the tour.

    [1.5 SECOND PAUSE]

    VoiceMap uses GPS to play the relevant audio at each location, so you can put your phone in your pocket and follow my directions. There will be periods of silence, but this is normal, we are just in between locations.

    So keep walking straight along this road. You'll hear from me again in a few blocks.

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