Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Milwaukee County Courthouse Presents A Sad Face To The World

Nothing is more enervating than a trip to the Milwaukee County Courthouse - - once a premier piece of public space and architecture in these parts that is now shabby and forlorn.

The building's magnificent eastern face is a now a closed, locked entrance: security routes visitors to the southern doors facing Wells St. - -past a dry fountain and the clutch of smokers in front of the "smoke-free building signs."

But back to the closed area: a few years ago the Indian community in Milwaukee paid for a beautiful bronze statue of Mohandas Mahatma Gandhi near the now-closed entrance, and there is a little India-America mini-park by the statue.

But the grass on the India-America park is as weedy and cigarette-butt littered as is the rest of the 'grassy' areas on the courthouse/public safety civic plaza.

It's a foreboding square block with an empty reflecting pool and crumbling pavement so completely barren that former Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist joked that it would be the appropriate spot for executions if were ever legalized in Wisconsin.

Even the Gandhi statue, like the rest of the grounds, is covered with bird poop.

Facing the trashed statue and the locked doors, the courthouse - - a public building that we own - - looks abandoned.

Like much of its maintenance, dignity and spirit.


Anonymous said...

Amen. In contrast to City Hall, it just screams neglect. One would think with all the half-way houses and food programs nearby, there could be some volunteers to attend to the grounds.

Anonymous said...

i don't have any problem with it architecturally. however, frank lloyd wright called the eastern face "a grinning death mask."