December 31, 2004

Drinking chocolate at the Flushing Station.

As noted in yesterday's late night post, we had to drive to Milwaukee yesterday. I had to drop John off somewhere at 4, and I went to hang out in the art museum until the time came to drive home. Driving in the fog, I misjudged where to turn and ended up driving way too far up Lincoln Memorial Drive (along the lake shore) and was just looking for a place to turn around and drive back south. I took the first left turn and pulled into a little driveway by an old building. Why are all these cars parked here? It's a coffeehouse! It's still only 3:30 so we go inside. I order a hot chocolate and ask the barista guy, "What was this old building?" He says, "It's a pump house." I say, "What the hell is a pump house?" He says he has no idea, but it's explained in the next room. What an incurious barista! Or maybe he's just tired of explaining it.

But what a cool café, and how fun to find it so fortuitously! "Pump house" seems to be a euphemism for "flushing station":
The Flushing Station was built in 1888 to pump fresh water into the Milwaukee River from Lake Michigan, to flush out pollution. The 1,700-sq. ft. cafe takes up two-thirds of the building, with the still-functioning flushing pump filling the remaining third.

Is there a better place than Alterra to drink chocolate and ogle nineteenth century machinery?

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