I took a cold, wintry walk four months ago to investigate a report that a tree had fallen on one of the Eschweiler Buildings on the county grounds. Sure enough, a tree was down by the westernmost building, and that building had a large branch sticking through the roof.
Last Tuesday, while attending the Wauwatosa Common Council meeting, I heard that the roof had been repaired. Based on that, and the fact that I wanted to take a little break from life, I decided to go out there Thursday on my way home from work.
As I walked out on the grounds, I reflected how much nicer it was this time, without the snow or the cold, blustery winds sweeping across the open spaces. The grass was greening up nicely and the song birds were singing their farewells to the sun for another day.
As I approached the Eschweiler Buildings, I was again struck by the history that goes along with them. I took a few minutes gazing at the buildings from a distance, trying to imagine what life was like in and around those buildings as it went through its many different transformations.
Shaking off the revelry, I continued to approach the buildings. The first thing I noted is that the building that had been broken into had new boards nailed up over the windows and one of the doors. Unfortunately, it didn’t keep the kids or whomever from breaking one of the safety lights above one of the doors.
But then I noticed something that I had either missed during my last visit or had happened since my last visit. Part of the concrete that lines the top of the wall near the door had been pushed off and was laying aslant on some other debris and the steps:
I was saddened by the destruction and the lack of respect some people have for history. But I moved on to see what I could see about the roof.
As I approached the area, I could tell something had been done. The trunk of the tree was still on the ground, but had been moved. Looking at the boll that was still standing, one could see why it fell and wonder why it hadn’t fallen a long time ago:
Having to be careful where I stepped, since the ground was very cluttered in branches and broken pieces of concrete, I was able to determine that the branch had been indeed pushed out of the roof and a piece of wood nailed up to serve as a patch. I’d like to think that the patch was temporary, but knowing our current county executive and the fact that the state failed to pass the sales tax bills, I think we all know that this is it. Notice all the damage to the shingling tiles:
At least the interior of the building won’t be exposed to any more weather, but did it really need to take four months for someone to send a worker out there?
While there, I decided to continue to take a look around to see what I could see. The following are some points of interest to show just how much the buildings and grounds around them have suffered from the years and years of neglect.
As I said at the Tosa meeting last week, it is sad that this much history and these fine buildings are being intentionally left to go to rot. Until we have responsible leadership that doesn’t always genuflect to developers and are only interested in their own political aspirations, I fear for the future of these grand structures.
But one last picture. With the way Scott Walker has been laying off county workers, especially the park workers, I couldn’t help but have a wry smile when I saw this behind the maintenance building:
With the way that Scott Walker is laying off workers left and right, and more lay offs coming, and the way he is driving businesses away from the region with his lack of foresight and refusal to maintain services and amenities, I found this abandoned Employment Guide box to be rather symbolic of his tenure as county executive.