What's Up With the Toilets Under Milwaukee's Medians?

If you happen to live in Milwaukee or find yourself there on vacation for for business, you might see something unusual if you take a walk down Washington Boulevard. There you’ll find a series of rusted metal access hatches that cover a full concrete stairway. The rectangles on top have two banks of glass block that were clearly meant to serve as a light source for what’s below. It turns out that the rectangles actually provide access to underground toilets. Back in the 1930s, the forestry department had seasonal boulevard workers that would maintain the trees and grass on the medians. So as not to annoy adjacent residents by having to ask them to use their bathrooms, toilets were installed underground in the area. Each appears to have had a makeshift storage bench — now decayed — for storage of items up off the floor. There are also boards on the wall with nails for hanging tools. Nowadays, there are no more seasonal boulevard workers and pretty much everyone has a vehicle and can get to facilities somewhere, rendering these spaces redundant.