The flame atop the Wisconsin Gas Building.
The Wisconsin Gas Building, originally the Milwaukee Gas Light Building, was designed by architects Eschweiler & Eschweiler in a classic stepped Art Deco tower. Construction on the 250 foot-tall building was completed in 1930. Materials used include Cream City brick, copper panels, and terracotta designs.
The building’s most prominent feature is the natural gas flame-shaped weather beacon, which was added to the structure in 1956. The flame indicates the forecast by changing color and flicker. The flame’s popularity with Milwaukeeans cannot be understated. Entire poems have been drafted about the flame’s colors!:
When the flame is red, it’s warm weather ahead!
When the flame is gold, watch out for cold!
When the flame is blue, there’s no change in view!
When there’s a flickering flame, expect snow or rain!
The flame was turned off in 1973 due to the energy crisis and wasn’t turned on again until 1985. Its neon flame stands 21 feet tall and weighs in at four tons. It costs $3,000 a month in energy bills to operate.
OnMilwaukee’s Molly Snyder made a trip up to the Wisconsin Gas Building flame in 2011, and published a write-up about her experience on top on one of Milwaukee’s most iconic buildings. Check it out!