Bubbler Talk

What’s got you scratching your head about Milwaukee and the region? Bubbler Talk is a series that puts your curiosity front and center.

How it works: You ask, we investigate, and together we unveil the answers.

Ask away: What have you always wanted to know about the Milwaukee area's people, places, or culture that you want WUWM to explore?

Participate in the process and submit your question below.

_

Audrey Nowakowski

Milwaukee is known for a lot of architectural gems — cream city brick, the Calatrava, Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes, and on a smaller scale, its bungalows. This style of house can be found all over the Milwaukee area and typically have one, or more, classic stained glass window incorporated into its design.

Katie Meissner

On Dec. 25, Santa Claus will have shimmied down many chimneys and left presents under the tree. But on Dec. 6, some families celebrate another holiday, a tease of sorts until that day comes: St Nick's Day!

Depending on where you are in the world, St. Nick has many names, but the story is the same. In the U.S., he's celebrated in places with German or Dutch influence — like right here in Milwaukee.

So, who's St. Nick and where did this holiday come from? Dawn Omernik-Nimmer reached out to Bubbler Talk to find out.

Image courtesy of Matt Zumbo

Editor's note: This piece was originally published on Feb. 16, 2018.  

Pikosso, Chicken a la Koss, Rebel with a Koss. If you’re familiar with the iconic billboard for Koss Corporation along I-43 in Milwaukee, you may have seen one of these ads — or even have a favorite design or catchphrase of your own.

Community member Michael Croatt wanted to know more, so he reached out to Bubbler Talk:

CJ Foeckler

Do you love going to concerts? Or seek out live albums from your favorite bands or artists?

If you're anything Zack Biernat, you really dig live shows.

"I love listening to live music and I love going to see shows. I found there's a lot of live albums available now on Spotify or YouTube, so I've been listening to a lot of my favorite bands, and I always enjoy that," he explains. 

But Zack also wants to know what live albums were recorded in Milwaukee. So, he reached out to Bubbler Talk:

Courtesy of Jim Mitchell

The 1960s and '70s were a time of great change in the United States. The counterculture was well underway.

Amidst all of this, Jon Cervantes was a 15-year-old kid living in West Allis, Wis. Going to record shops and checking out "comix" was what he did religiously. But these weren't your typical family-friendly comics. These comics addressed daring themes like sex, drugs, and the Vietnam War. Which was exactly what Jon and others like him wanted.

west-allis-wisconsin-water-tower
Lauren Sigfusson

Have you ever wondered about the stories behind the names of some buildings and streets and even cities you encounter?

A lot of you have written to Bubbler Talk asking about the origins of West Allis. Whether there was ever an east, north or south Allis. And why the city is called West Allis if there is, in fact, no Allis to be west of.

Susan Bence

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.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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.

Chuck Quirmbach

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?”

Is Milwaukee's Coffee Scene Unique?

Aug 23, 2019
Cassidy Schrader

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?

Alesandra Tejeda

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.

Dan Mullen / Flickr

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.

Wisconsin Historical Society

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 Munich!

Alesandra Tejeda

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?

Alesandra Tejeda

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.

Pages