Milwaukee City Hall Restoration

From the ground, it looks the same as it has over the past year or so. Scaffolding and nets shroud the buidling. Only hints and peeks of the building are visible. But look into the crates surrounding the base of Milwaukee's City Hall, and you can see concrete evidence that the restoration is progressing... or rather, terra cotta evidence.

The many architectural details on the building were cast or sculpted from terra cotta. over a century of weather has blunted, or even destroyed the features of many of these pieces. Earlier in the restoration, new molds were built based on the remains of these blocks. Now, the old details are being torn out, and crisp replacements are taking their places. The top two photos are of the old, battered terra cotta pieces which have been torn out. A crate of new pieces for a different location is shown in the third pic.

One thing I noticed strolling around the building was crates of slate shingles. I have to admit, they made me a bit nervous. I envisioned winter ice cracking the slates, sending them over the edge of the roof. Even if they didn't 'thwock' axe-like into the top of someone's head, the shrapnel generated when they hit the pavement could do some severe damage. But it looks like Iwas needlessly worried. Looking more closely at some pictures of the building, it seems that low walls ring the slate roof. Look tiles would be caught here, protecting the unwary pedestrians, below.

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