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The top 7 Milwaukee locations we visited on ‘Urban Spelunking’ in 2022

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Bobby Tanzillo / Old Milwaukee Facebook Group
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Our podcast Urban Spelunking takes listeners to a noteworthy Milwaukee location every week. Sometimes it’s a mansion or church, sometimes it’s an old bar or warehouse, and sometimes we visit a demolition site making way for something new.

But every week, OnMilwaukee’s Bobby Tanzilo and I find a story. And we share how Milwaukee built this city, and we reveal the people behind the built environment. We visited many locations in 2022, and below are the top seven most downloaded Urban Spelunking episodes of the year.

End the year with a new appreciation for the city.

A classic Milwaukee ‘what’s the deal?’

Urban Spelunking: Milwaukee Basement Toilets
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This one was no surprise. A South Side basement toilet mystery? Sign us up. On this episode, we uncover why some Milwaukee basements have a mysterious toilet in the middle of the room. And the answer was not as clear as you might expect.

Milwaukee’s first mall

Urban Spelunking: Southgate Mall
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When did the mall craze arrive in Milwaukee? Where was the first mall? Is it still there today? We answer all these questions and uncover some cool retro photos in the process.

Everyone loves a tied house ...

Urban Spelunking: Former Schlitz tied house / Trocadero & future Tauro Cocina
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We’ve talked about many tied houses on Urban Spelunking, and they almost always seem to resonate with listeners. One explanation is because of these taverns’ unique footprints and splendid architecture; they’re almost always situated on corner lots and, during construction, were well-funded by the breweries that built them. In this episode, we stopped by an East Side tied house that was home to Trocadero and has since reopened under a new concept.

... And a pre-Civil War house

Urban Spelunking: Revisiting the Leister Home
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Bobby and I went into the field together to record our visit to this 1855 home, one of the oldest in Milwaukee. This one was special because we got to meet a family member who has had a long, personal relationship with the house and witness a tender moment between the new owners as the home changed hands.

A Riverwest institution stays strong

Urban Spelunking: Falcon Bowl
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Bobby and I were on-site again for this one, and it was another “changing of the guard” moment. We visited Falcon Bowl in this episode and interviewed its longtime manager Lynn Okopinski, as well as Jerry Patzwald, treasurer of Riverwest Investment Co-Op and new owner of the Falcon. Since our story, the co-op has found operators to continue running the business, hopefully ensuring a bright future for the Milwaukee staple.

A new food hall at an old bank

Urban Spelunking: Uptown Crossing gets a food Hall on North Avenue
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When news drops of a food hall, Radio Milwaukee is on the case. And when the food hall involves a cool, old bank, you know we’re excited to talk about it on Urban Spelunking. Now open, North Avenue Market even includes a speakeasy in one of the bank’s vaults.

Survive Alive house still helping kids

Urban Spelunking: Survive Alive House
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This one got the nostalgia going. As a lifelong Milwaukee resident, I, too, attended Milwaukee’s Survive Alive House. The fire education center made a permanent impact on me as a kid and was probably one of the most memorable field trips this second grader ever took! Today, with some modern upgrades, it’s still saving lives.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee