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How Lighting The Hoan Bridge Could Bring Milwaukee Together

Kristine Hinrichs
The Daniel Hoan bridge is dedicated to the longest serving socialist administration in US History. Later this month, the long-awaited “Light The Hoan” project will become a reality. ";s:

At a time when the country is politically divided, Milwaukeeans are coming together to celebrate and memorialize one of the city’s iconic structures. The Daniel Hoan bridge is dedicated to the longest-serving socialist administration in U.S. history. Later this month, the long-awaited “Light The Hoan” project will become a reality.

Dan Steininger is the grandson of Hoan and has been raising money to light the bridge. He plans to have the lights coordinate with events and moments Milwaukeeans can rally behind, like every time the Packers score a touchdown. Steininger speaks fondly of his grandfather and everything Hoan accomplished in his life.

“They called him the sewer socialist because he built sewers in this city. Many of which are still useable today, that cleaned up the mess that was sewage in our streets,” Steininger said. “As a result, the health of our citizens improved.”

Steininger remembers going to the lakefront with his grandfather and how Hoan instilled in him that it belonged to the citizens of Milwaukee and shouldn’t be privately owned. Steininger has worked to keep his grandfather’s vision for the parks and lakefront alive and well. Lighting the Hoan bridge is a part of honoring that legacy. Steininger hopes it can also be a symbol of unity and what the city can accomplish at a time of divisiveness.  

“This bridge can celebrate that history, that success story of Milwaukee. We’re back on the rise, and COVID and everything else happened and racism can all be overcome if this community has a collective effort and that’s what this bridge will represent,” he says.

The "Light The Hoan" project will premiere on Oct. 22. Currently, only one side of the bridge has lights installed, but Steininger and other local groups are continuing to fundraise to light the other side.