Over the last couple of years, Milwaukee has been eliminating the old-school, dump-a-bunch-of-coins-in-them parking meters in lieu of centralized parking units that accept bills and credit cards, and so the old meters have been removed and replaced by numbers designating each space (numbers you enter in to the parking machines).
Apparently possessed by the ghost of my teen years listening to Black Sabbath albums or something, I became curious as to where parking space #666 would be located…realizing that the city would probably be smart enough not to actually number a space with 666, both because superstitious types wouldn’t park there and (more likely) mullet-wearing teens from ‘Stallis would steal the signs repeatedly.
But how would the city handle the obviously missing number? Skipping it too obviously would feel as if the city was caving to superstition (or the younger population of West Allis and such). As it turns out, the place where space #666 would be happens to be on a corner, where a loading zone and bus stop organically interrupt the line of parking spaces. Beyond the intersection, the numbering of parking spaces resumes with (puzzlingly) 668, apparently figuring better not to take chances.
The amusing part, though, is where space #666 would be if it existed: as this Google Street View image shows*, it just so happens to be right smack in front of Old St. Mary’s Catholic Church. (In fact, if you “travel” to your right, southward, and zoom in, you can see space #665.) As it is, the space is a loading zone: why the Antichrist would have a designated parking space directly in front of a church is, well, a theological mystery.
* Despite what the search box says, this isn’t on 17th & Walnut; I only entered those coordinates into Google Maps to avoid having a big dumb locator teardrop on the map where I wanted to be. The image is near the corner of Kilbourn, on Broadway.