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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Milwaukee in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Historic Milwaukee

East Wisconsin Avenue

 
 
Historic Milwaukee Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 7, 2012
1. Historic Milwaukee Marker
Inscription. In the early 1800s, a young French Canadian named Solomon Juneau came to work in Milwaukee and met and married his boss’s daughter, Josette Vieau, who was of French and Menominee ancestry. The couple built a cabin for their family on the northwest corner of Water Street and Wisconsin Avenue. At least 13 of their children survived infancy.

Juneau purchased 133 acres in the heart of Milwaukee’s downtown for $165.81 in 1835, dirt cheap even then. The earliest structures, a random jumble of dwellings, stores, taverns, sawmills, and shops, clustered along Water Street near Michigan Street and Wisconsin Avenue.

A running rivalry between the neighborhoods east and west of the river resulted in streets being mapped out differently. When the first bridges were finally built in the 1840s, they had to be constructed at odd angles to connect the misaligned streets. Some of these off-kilter bridges still exist today. The east-west hostilities resulted in Milwaukee’s infamous Bridge War of 1845. The violence brought about a truce in 1846, and a city resulted.

On January 31, 1846, more than two years before Wisconsin became a state, Milwaukee was incorporated as a city. Solomon Juneau was elected as its first mayor.

Wisconsin Avenue did not emerge as a commercial street of importance to rival Water and Michigan
Historic Milwaukee Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 7, 2012
2. Historic Milwaukee Marker
Reverse side of marker with area map.
streets until the 1860s. Fires in 1860 and 1865 destroyed virtually all the frame buildings on the south side of Wisconsin Avenue between Water and Milwaukee streets. The new construction that followed transformed Wisconsin Avenue into a major commercial artery.

Milwaukee’s only cast-iron building, the Iron Block Building at 205 East Wisconsin Avenue, was erected in 1860. Sitting on the southeast corner of Wisconsin and Water streets, the building is framed in conventional brick and timber but its north and west facades are cast iron manufactured at Daniel Badger’s Architectural Iron Works in New York City. The building was restored in 1984.

Milwaukee’s first high-rise, the 14-story Pabst Building, was built in 1892 by German-born brewer Frederick Pabst at the northwest corner of Water and Wisconsin, on the very site of Solomon Juneau’s first trading post. The roofline was altered and the tower removed in later years, diminishing the original design. Demolished in 1980, it was replaced by the 100 East building in 1988, which was designed to mimic the original Pabst Building.

The Railway Exchange Building at 233 East Wisconsin Avenue was built in 1899-1900. It was one of Milwaukee’s early high-rise steel frame office buildings. A traditional Commercial Style building, 12 stories high, it is ornamented with a highly inventive combination of Classic
Historic Milwaukee Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 7, 2012
3. Historic Milwaukee Marker
Photo Lower Left: This 1905 photo shows a pleasure boat passing alongside the Pabst Building at Water and Wisconsin. Photo courtesy Milwaukee County Historical Society
Revival and Baroque design elements. The Chicago and North Western Railway had its offices here from 1901 through the mid-1940s, giving the structure its popular name.
 
Location. 43° 2.326′ N, 87° 54.52′ W. Marker is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in Milwaukee County. Marker is at the intersection of East Wisconsin Avenue and North Water Street, on the right when traveling west on East Wisconsin Avenue. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 200 E Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee WI 53202, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Iron Block (within shouting distance of this marker); Every Building Tells a Story (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The First Milwaukeeans (about 300 feet away); Wisconsin's Oldest Newspaper (about 300 feet away); The First House on the East Side of Milwaukee (about 300 feet away); Gertie (about 400 feet away); Milwaukee News Bldg. & Milwaukee Abstract Assn. Bldg. (about 500 feet away); Milwaukee's Bridge War (about 500 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Milwaukee.
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers
 
Historic Milwaukee Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 7, 2012
4. Historic Milwaukee Marker
Photo Upper Right: The Iron Block Building, identified by its large “coal” signs, is a landmark of local and national significance and is located in local and National Register historic districts. Photo courtesy Milwaukee County Historical Society
Historic Milwaukee Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 7, 2012
5. Historic Milwaukee Marker
Photo Lower Right: A street scene in front of the Pabst Building, on the left. Historic Photo Collection / Milwaukee Public Library
East Wisconsin Avenue image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, August 10, 2012
6. East Wisconsin Avenue
View looking east up Wisconsin Avenue from a vantage point similiar to Photo #5.
Historic Milwaukee Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 7, 2012
7. Historic Milwaukee Marker
looking east up Wisconsin Avenue
Iron Block Building image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 25, 2013
8. Iron Block Building
The Iron Block Building today after extensive renovatons.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 346 times since then and 88 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin.   6. submitted on , by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin.   7. submitted on , by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin.   8. submitted on , by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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