Every now and then, I like to get out of our Downtown office and stroll around to clear my head. Iâ€™ve always been vaguely aware of Gertie the Duck and her statue, but I never really stopped to look.
Today, I did, and I wandered around both banks of the Milwaukee River to see all six of the duck sculptures that line it. Theyâ€™re pretty cute.
Hereâ€™s the story on Gertie the Duck and her ducklings, from VisitMilwaukee.org:
"By early 1945 America was growing weary under the strain of the devastation and death caused by World War II. In the spring of that year a bridge operator on the Wisconsin Avenue Bridge discovered that a duck had nested on the bridge pilings and was caring for eggs. "Gertie the Duck" became a welcome antidote to the struggles of war and a reminder of the fragility of life.
Inspired by a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal about the incubation and subsequent hatching of the eggs, national newspapers soon became captivated by the story. The nation began to follow the story of Gertie and her six ducklings: Black Bill, Dee Dee, Rosie, Freddie, Millie and Pee Wee. A Gertie Patrol was formed by the Boy Scouts to protect the nest and a Wisconsin Humane Society officer was stationed to watch as the eggs eventually hatched. Their fame earned them a feature in Life Magazine that summer, and even a London newspaper featured their story on its front page. It is estimated that more than two million people came to the city to see the ducklings that spring and summer of 1945. The ducks were eventually cared for in a climate-controlled window display in the adjacent Gimbel's department store, before being released in a park on Lake Michigan.
Gertie's fame turned into legend when a children's book entitled "Gertie the Duck" was written by Nick Georgiady and Louis Romano and published in 1959.
The story of the famous mallard from Milwaukee gave the city and the entire country a reason for hope during a tumultuous time in our history."
So, in order of cuteness, I present you six rad Riverwalk ducks â€¦ although theyâ€™re all pretty cute:
4. Pee Wee
5. Black Bill
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published April 1, 2020
It's a story rarely told. Absent in history books from Edina to Eau Claire, you'll only hear about it in hushed tones in man caves, backroom bars or tailgate parties twice a year. This is the the tale of when the Vikings stormed Green Bay, but were heroically staved off by the Packers tribe.
Published March 31, 2020
We're still doing April Fool's Day, but we're telling you about it in advance. No political jokes, no cancelled event pranks, and certainly, no jokes about coronavirus.
Published March 28, 2020
House of Harley-Davidson has enacted a plan to keep its sales and service workers employed throughout this difficult time. Fortunately for the dealership, owner Jeff Binkert notes that the police motorcycles it services remain essential.
Published March 26, 2020
While the start date of the 2020 Brewers season remains in questions, it's nonetheless the Crew's 50th anniversary season, and Triumph Books understandably tapped veteran beat reporter Adam McCalvy to write "The Milwaukee Brewers at 50."
Published March 24, 2020
Much has been written already about workers in the gig economy, as well as employees of the service industry. The economic shutdown from coronavirus has been nothing short of devastating for so many Milwaukeeans, and it will get worse before it gets better. I reached out to three Milwaukee business owners I know to see where things stand during this unprecedented time of crisis.
Published March 23, 2020
For most office jobs, coronavirus means working from home, video and conference calls - and lots of multitasking with children out of school for the foreseeable future. But if your boss insists that you come to the office? Here are two stories of how Milwaukee employees handled it.
Published March 18, 2020
It's been a while since Victor DeLorenzo released a solo album. One of the founding members of the Violent Femmes, and now half of the duo Nineteen Thirteen, DeLorenzo has put his attention toward the former: a unique blend of drums and cello that you have to hear to believe. But the itch to record something with more than two instruments brought DeLorenzo back into the attic studio behind his East Side home.
Published March 2, 2020
Jessica Schlitz is a career bartender. With her years of experience, the 46-year-old Mequon native has seen a lot. But now that she's not currently bartending, she's willing to tell the stories most bartenders would never divulge.
Published Feb. 27, 2020
Michael Sheppard, the founder and managing partner of IronwoodDrive Financial Group, didn't come from a background in finance. He went to school to become an electrical engineer, and was later signed as an undrafted free agent by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, when football didn't pan out, Sheppard turned his attention to the financial services industry, where he is one of a very small minority of African-Americans in his field.
Published Feb. 3, 2020
When Jennifer Schafer takes the stage at Northern Lights Theater on Valentine's Day, her Adele tribute band, Rumour Has It, is hardly just impersonating the British vocalist's hits. "I really like capturing just the essence of what she does," says Schafer, who also fronts a Heart tribute band and a classic rock cover band. "Adele is just really real. A lot of the music really speaks to me."