“Gems of Milwaukee”

In connection with Milwaukee’s imminent 160th birthday, some civic leaders ran a poll to determine the “Gems of Milwaukee.” The standard seems a little amorphous–what makes something a “gem”? The website doesn’t clarify the standard, but it does provide a list of the top 50 finalists as voted on by 7,000 Internet users.

Most of the results are very appropriate–the list includes famous companies like Harley and Miller; famous buildings like Milwaukee Art Museum and the Allen-Bradley Clock (the largest four-sided clock in the world–much bigger than Big Ben); festivals like Summerfest (although I don’t know about Bastille Day); and quintessentially Wisconsin foods like frozen custard, brats and fish fries.

Interestingly, the list doesn’t separately reference beer. I guess we don’t consider ourselves Brewtown any more? And the inclusion of “Mexican Restaurants Along 5th Street” made me laugh out. If you want either authentic or good Mexican food, Milwaukee is probably not your first choice.

The list includes the Bucks and the Brewers “major” league sports teams, although I’m not sure anyone in town really considers them a “gem.” However, the Packers are conspicuously absent. I know the Packers are located in Green Bay, not Milwaukee, but most Milwaukeeans think of them as our home team, and the city shuts down during games.

Interestingly, some of my favorite aspects of Milwaukee–such as the Schlitz Audubon park, Beans ‘n’ Barley and honeycrisp apples–didn’t make the list. So, at least for me, Milwaukee has some “hidden gems.”

Finally, nothing weather-related made the list of “gems.” I wonder why…

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