Milwaukee in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Nearly a Century of Planning
Early in the 20th century, architect Alfred C. Clas imagined the riverfront as a European-style destination for recreation and a source of beauty at the heart of downtown.
In 1914, Clas, a proponent of the "City Beautiful" movement to improve architecture, landscaping and urban planning in American cities, advocated narrowing the River to a canal. He proposed building underground subway tunnels covered by broad, leafy walkways and orienting new buildings toward the water. But Clas's dream would not be realized.
The First National Bank building (12 above), designed by renowned architect Daniel Burnham, provided the first hint of what a riverwalk system could look like. The building reportedly attracted 10,000 visitors to the riverfront for its opening in 1914. But a comprehensive public plan was still years away.
Subsequent plans for development would have given Milwaukee a very different riverfront. The 1968 Milwaukee River Technical Study recommended demolishing many of Milwaukee's most historic buildings, including Mader's, 1041 N. Old World Third St., and Turner Hall (2 above), to make room for green space and
It was not until the early 1990s that Milwaukee business and government leaders finally united to develop the River as a public destination. The Milwaukee Riverwalk District, created in 1992, established a public-private partnership to finally realize the spirit, if not the details, of Clas's original vision. The Milwaukee Common Council approved plans to develop the RiverWalk in 1994 and the project soon grew into the strongest development corridor in the state of Wisconsin.
Erected by City of Milwaukee.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public Work • Man-Made Features • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1914.
Location. 43° 2.389′ N, 87° 54.609′ W. Marker is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in Milwaukee County. Marker is along the RiverWalk, about 100 feet west of the intersection of Mason and Front Streets, and about 25 feet east of the "Round Ring" sculpture. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Milwaukee WI 53202, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Architectural Gems on the Riverfront (here, next to this marker); Milwaukee's Bridge War (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Milwaukee's Miraculous Mallard (about 300 feet away); The First House on the East Side of MilwaukeeGertie (about 400 feet away); Wisconsin's Oldest Newspaper (about 400 feet away); Pabst Theater (about 400 feet away); Milwaukee News Bldg. & Milwaukee Abstract Assn. Bldg. (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Milwaukee.
Also see . . .
1. Reshaping Milwaukee's Riverfront. (Submitted on December 9, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Milwaukee's Oldest Building on Riverfront Threatened. (Submitted on December 9, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on October 31, 2021. It was originally submitted on December 9, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 622 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on December 10, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.