'Woody and earthy': Milwaukee Candle Company creates new candle to aid in fundraising efforts for the iconic Domes

’Woody and earthy’: Milwaukee Candle Company creates new candle to aid in fundraising efforts for the iconic Domes

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Since the 1960's, the iconic Milwaukee Domes have towered above the city, standing tall at 85-feet high.

Thanks to local architect Donald Grieb, the three beehive-shaped glass domes were patented -- thus creating the only conoidal-shaped conservatory in the world.

“This area where we’re located was really an industrial valley so there were all these smoke stacks and from those smoke stacks rose these glass bubbles, glorious glass bubbles, actually described in the media at the time as a willful act of hope," said Christa Beall Diefenbach, the executive director of Friends of the Domes.

If you haven't seen them for yourself, there are three main domes that are all connected via a lobby.

The Floral Show Dome was completed in 1964, the Tropical Dome in 1966, and the Desert Dome in 1967.

“It’s a tourist destination but it’s also a place where we can come and heal and we can connect with nature," Diefenbach told CBS 58's Ellie Nakamoto-White.

The domes themselves feature thousands of plant species, animals, and rock and water formations -- and for visitors, it's almost like traveling to another world.

“It’s always summer here at the Domes so if you’re looking for a break from that cold winter months, can come here and enjoy what we have to offer," Diefenbach said.

But you may not be able to enjoy those offerings for long.

"The Domes? They're in danger," Diefenbach said. “There’s 25 years of deferred maintenance that have left us in a situation where we’re going to have to raise a lot of money in order to save this amazing community asset.”

That "lot of money" could equate to tens of millions of dollars to either repair or rebuild the structures.

“They are beautiful and really a point of pride for our community," Diefenbach said.

The organization has worked to raise money -- but it's also thanks to local businesses like the Milwaukee Candle Company who are stepping up to the plate.

"We focus on scent, memory, and connection," explained Manager Wes Marse. “What we do is bring the connection between things you smell in nature, things you smell in the city, and remind you of that within your home.”

The company's foundation comes from their Hometown Collection -- with candles like "Bradford Beach (On a Good Day)" and "State Fair."

"It's about Milwaukee and about highlighting the amazing places and events that this city has to offer," Marse said. "We've always been kind of thinking about what *is* the next Hometown Collection candle?"

That sparked their latest creation dubbed the "Tropical Dome."

“How do you create the sound of a bird in a scent? How do you see all of these little triangles of glass and all of this sunlight coming in? How do you convert that into a scent?" Marse said. "We were able to curate a scent that really hits on that really fresh ozonic air, wet damp earth, woody notes, and then kind of highlighting some of the things that grow in the space."

He added that it took around 15 versions before they settled on "the one" which is now for sale on the candle company's website.

Each 6 oz. candle sold will have one dollar donated to the Domes fundraising efforts and each 12.25 oz. candle sold will have two dollars donated.

The 6 oz. candle costs $17 and the 12.25 oz. costs $30.

“It is such an iconic location here in Milwaukee and it’s such an important location for Milwaukee as well," Marse said. “I think at times, we under appreciate what they have to offer us.”

And while candle sales are encouraged, Marse also said he hopes even if someone doesn't buy one, they go check out the Domes themselves.

“You see the Dome candle, you go to the Dome, you tell somebody about the Dome, or you love the candle, and you share it with somebody else," Marse said. "Like these sorts of grassroots efforts are what’s going to make a difference with keeping the Domes around and making sure that they’re here in the city for ages to come.”

To purchase the Tropical Dome candle online, click here.

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