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Architecture Walk in Milwaukee (Self Guided), Milwaukee

Milwaukee is home to buildings with impressive beauty and rare architectural styles. Many buildings were designed in the German style and others in French. There are some grand skyscrapers in Milwaukee's downtown that are a must-see for any tourist. Take this walking tour to admire the architectural gems of Milwaukee.
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Architecture Walk in Milwaukee Map

Guide Name: Architecture Walk in Milwaukee
Guide Location: USA » Milwaukee (See other walking tours in Milwaukee)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 Km or 0.9 Miles
Author: StaceyP
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Milwaukee Center Building
  • Milwaukee City Hall
  • Pabst Theatre
  • 100 East Wisconsin
  • Iron Block Building
  • Mitchell Building
  • Milwaukee Federal Building
  • Wisconsin Gas Building
Milwaukee Center Building

1) Milwaukee Center Building

The Milwaukee Center is a 28-story, 426-foot-tall (130 m) postmodern high-rise building. The building was completed in 1988, during a small building boom in Milwaukee that also included 100 East Wisconsin. Until 100 East was completed, the Milwaukee Center was the second tallest building in Milwaukee. The peaked tower, red brick, and the use of green near the top pay homage to the style of the Milwaukee City Hall. The building is primarily used for offices, but has parking as well.

The Milwaukee Center's construction was spurned by the Milwaukee Repertory Theater's purchase and subsequent selling of the land surrounding the former Wisconsin Electric Powerhouse which was converted into The Rep's primary performance venue, the Quadracci Powerhouse. The Milwaukee Center's rotunda connects the office tower with the InterContinental Hotel Milwaukee and the historic Pabst Theater.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
Milwaukee City Hall

2) Milwaukee City Hall (must see)

The Milwaukee City Hall was finished in 1895, at which time it was the tallest habitable building in the United States. The city hall's bell tower, at 353 feet, also made it the second tallest structure in the nation, behind the Washington Monument. The Hall was Milwaukee's tallest building until completion of the First Wisconsin Center in 1973.

Milwaukee City Hall was designed by architect Henry C. Koch in the German Renaissance Revival style, based on both German precedent and local examples. The foundation consists of 2,584 white pine pilers which were driven in to the marshy land surrounding the Milwaukee River. The upper part of the tower was rebuilt after a fire in October 1929. The bell in City Hall was named after Solomon Juneau, Milwaukee's first mayor. It was designed and crafted by the Campbells. City Hall was the marketing symbol of Milwaukee until the completion of the Calatrava wing of the Milwaukee Art Museum in 2001, but the bell tower continues to be used as a municipal icon and in some traffic and parking signs. City Hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, and declared a National Historic Landmark in 2005.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
Pabst Theatre

3) Pabst Theatre (must see)

The Pabst Theater, or "Grande Olde Lady", hosts about 100 events per year, including music, comedy, dance, opera, and theater events. Built in 1895, it is the fourth-oldest continuously operating theater in the United States, and has presented such notables as pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff, actor Laurence Olivier, and ballerina Anna Pavlova. It is officially designated a City of Milwaukee Landmark and a State of Wisconsin Historical Site, and was also designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991.

The Pabst is a traditional proscenium stage theater with two balconies, for a total capacity of 1,345 people. The theater also has a hydraulic orchestra pit, adding to its suitability for virtually any performing arts event. A large, 2-ton Austrian crystal chandelier hangs over the auditorium. The theater also boasts a staircase crafted from white Italian Carrara marble and a proscenium arch highlighted in gold leaf, which frames the stage. The Pabst was designed by architect Otto Strack in the tradition of European opera houses and the German Renaissance Revival style.

The Pabst has undergone several renovations, the first of which was in 1928. In 1976, it was restored to its original style. In 1989, a colonnade was added to connect the theater to the Milwaukee Center. The latest renovations took place in 2000; elevators were added, the ventilation system was modernized, more bathrooms were added, and some seats were replaced. The theater also added Cudahy’s Irish Pub to the lobby.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
100 East Wisconsin

4) 100 East Wisconsin

The Faison Building, or 100 East Wisconsin, is a skyscraper located in downtown Milwaukee. Erected in 1989 on the site of the old Pabst Building, its design is reflective of the authentic German architecture which has been preserved in downtown Milwaukee.

After failing to develop a high-rise called River Place in the early 1980s, the owners of the property at 100 East Wisconsin sold the property to Charlotte developer Faison Associates in December 1987. Following the purchase, in January 1987 Faison released renderings of the tower designed by the Charlotte architecture firm of Clark, Tribble, Harris & Li. The tower was to rise as the second tallest building in the city, behind the U.S. Bank Center, contain 430,000 square feet of office space and 410 parking spaces. Construction of the concrete framed structure began construction in mid-1987 with occupancy occurring in April 1989. Designed by Clark, Tribble, Harris & Li, the tower features a rectangular footprint and is topped with a crown that similar to that of the former Pabst Building and the Milwaukee City Hall. Additionally, the arches at the base were designed also to pay homage to those at the base of the Pabst Building of the Flemish Renaissance style.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
Iron Block Building

5) Iron Block Building

Iron Block Building is named in this way because of its facade that was constructed in cast iron. This kind of ironclad building is very rare. The Iron Block Building was designed by George H. Johnson and was finished in 1860 and 1861. The metal facade was installed during the Civil War.
Mitchell Building

6) Mitchell Building

The Mitchell Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. The building was constructed by U.S. Representative Alexander Mitchell. It would go on to house a bank. The property is presumed to have once been the site of the residence of Solomon Juneau. Juneau helped to found Milwaukee and served as its first mayor. The Mitchell Building is adjacent to the Mackie Building, which was also built by Mitchell, designed by E. Townsend Mix and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
Milwaukee Federal Building

7) Milwaukee Federal Building

The U.S. Courthouse & Federal Office Building is a post office, Federal office, and courthouse for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. When Milwaukee's Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse was constructed in 1892-99, it epitomized the revolutionized mail handling that had followed the introduction of postal stamps in 1847. By the end of the 19th century, added postal services included registered mail, street letter boxes, and free mail delivery.

The massive granite edifice is a city landmark within the historic district known as Juneautown and the first ward organized from land owned by Solomon Juneau, Milwaukee's founder and first mayor. The Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse's imposing Richardsonian Romanesque architecture presented a break from the classical style that dominated Government buildings for most of the 19th century. Designed by Willoughby J. Edbrooke, Supervising Architect of the U.S. Treasury Department, the style was popularized by renowned architect Henry Hobson Richardson, whose use of the Romanesque Revival began to penetrate the Midwest during the 1880s. From 1929-32, construction of a large addition extended the building southward. The addition was raised to seven stories eight years later. In 1989-96, GSA completed a major renovation and restoration project, which restored the historic interiors to their original brilliance while incorporating modern office needs.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia
Wisconsin Gas Building

8) Wisconsin Gas Building

The Wisconsin Gas Building, or Milwaukee Gas Light Building, is a classic stepped Art Deco building located in downtown Milwaukee. It was designed by architects Eschweiler & Eschweiler and completed in 1930 using differing materials on the exterior to graduate from dark to light. Locally distinct light colored brick called Cream City brick crowns the high-rise. Copper panels adorn the spandrels, while organic foliage patterns and terracotta designs decorate the façade. The building stands 250 feet tall and has 20 floors.

Wisconsin Gas was purchased by Wisconsin Energy in 2001. During the consolidation of Wisconsin Gas into Wisconsin Energy's neighboring downtown corporate headquarters, the Wisconsin Gas Building was sold to a developer in 2004 who converted it into leased office space. A weather beacon shaped as a natural gas flame was added to the top of the Wisconsin Gas Building in 1956 which indicates the forecast of the weather by its color and flicker. The flame was turned off in 1973 due to the energy crisis. It was turned on again in 1985. Its neon flame stands 21 feet tall, weighs in at four tons and costs $10,000 a month to operate. The light has been used as a harbor marker and navigation aid by mariners in Lake Michigan over the years. Doggerels are commonly recited in order to remember the meanings of the various colors.

"(The above description is based on Wikipedia under Creative Common License)"
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Create Your Own Walk in Milwaukee

Create Your Own Walk in Milwaukee

Creating your own self-guided walk in Milwaukee is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Milwaukee Museums Walking Tour

Milwaukee Museums Walking Tour

Milwaukee is home to some of the greatest museums in America. Here you will be able to visit the city's famous art museum and the Harley Davidson Museum. The exhibits are diverse and there are many interesting things to see and experience. Take this tour to have an exciting time at the Milwaukee museums.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.7 Km or 4.8 Miles
Milwaukee Introduction Walk

Milwaukee Introduction Walk

Milwaukee, a city in Wisconsin sitting on the western shore of Lake Michigan, is known primarily for its breweries. However, if you're not beer thirsty, you'll find much other delectable stuff there fit to satisfy your culture and curiosity buds. The Grohmann Museum, hosting the world's most comprehensive art collection depicting the evolution of human work, is one such place. If...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.8 Km or 3 Miles
Religious Tour in Milwaukee

Religious Tour in Milwaukee

Milwaukee boasts a number of beautiful historic churches, the majority of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Generally the city's religious make-up is diverse, from Catholic to Jesuit, though there are a number of Catholic churches and cathedrals. Take this walking tour to admire the religious masterpieces of Milwaukee.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Monuments and Statues Tour in Milwaukee

Monuments and Statues Tour in Milwaukee

Milwaukee is home to a variety of statues and monuments of different grades of importance, from entertaining ones to memorials commemorating war and its victims. There are also very unusual statues such as a monument to a duck and its ducklings. Take this walking tour to explore Milwaukee's monuments and statues.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles