Why exactly are there toilets underneath these Milwaukee boulevards?

Why exactly are there toilets underneath these Milwaukee boulevards?

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On this episode of Urban Spelunking we begin, simply, by reading a photo caption from Bobby’s Tanzilo’s recent story published on OnMilwaukee. The cutline reads: “Sure enough, there’s a toilet down there.”

From those first beautiful words, I was intrigued.

Photo credit: Bobby Tanzilo / OnMilwaukee

The inspiration for this week’s story came from OnMilwaukee reader Chris Dwyer, Bobby says, who wrote in with a tip.

He and his daughter reported seeing a strange metal hatch on Washington Boulevard, between 53rd and 54th Streets, appearing to lead to an underground shelter. Upon closer inspection, they peeked inside and saw, to their surprise, a staircase leading down to a toilet (with toilet paper!) in the corner of a large, concrete room.

Bobby had to see it for himself and, here comes the quote, “Sure enough, there’s a toilet down there.”

But why? On this podcast episode, we explain why there are bunkers underneath Washington Boulevard and Wisconsin Avenue, and who was using these underground spaces as part of their daily life. Read Bobby’s story for more photos and history.

Photo credit: Bobby Tanzilo / OnMilwaukee

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