When the flame is red, it’s warm weather ahead!
When the flame is gold, watch out for cold!
When the flame is blue, there’s no change in view!
When there’s a flickering flame, expect snow or rain!

The Wisconsin Gas Light Building as seen from Wisconsin Avenue (photo by Pinterest-user Ingrid Heise).

The Wisconsin Gas Light Building as seen from Wisconsin Avenue (photo by Pinterest-user Ingrid Heise).

It’ll get stuck in your head, trust me. If you’re downtown it’s nearly impossible to be out of sight of the 21-foot-tall Gas Light Building flame. It’s iconic: whether you follow it on your iPhone, hang it on your wall, check in near it, or simply marvel at the sight.

Retro poster design by thirdcoastpaper on Etsy.

Retro poster design by thirdcoastpaper on Etsy.

Originally built in 1930 by locals Eschweiler & Eschweiler to be the headquarters of the Milwaukee Gas Light Company (later the Wisconsin Gas Company), the Gas Light Building is a perfect example of the Art Deco style that is increasingly romanticized in today’s culture. Molly Snyder and OnMilwaukee wrote an article (with plenty of pictures) about a visit, noting that the flame was at one-time real fire, but was replaced by lights in 1956. The flame was put out from 1973 until 1985 due to energy costs (now reaching $3,000/month), but since then has been lighting up each day.

Though it generally sports one of the colors famous for predicting tomorrow’s weather, the now-LED lit flame also changes to many other colors in honor of holidays and sports accomplishments. It’s also one of the most attended attractions on the yearly Doors Open Milwaukee lineup, and in past years there have even been contests to watch the July 4th fireworks from under the flame.

Whether you’re lost on Lake Michigan looking for harbor, stumbling through the streets of East Town, or wondering what to wear tomorrow, the Gas Light Building’s eternal flame will lead the way.

No change in view (photo by Flickr user photopimp).

No change in view (photo by Flickr user photopimp).