Milwaukee in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
East Wisconsin Avenue
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
Wisconsin Avenue did not emerge as a commercial street of importance to rival Water and Michigan 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.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1835.
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. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 200 E Wisconsin Ave, 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. 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). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Milwaukee.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on August 8, 2012, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 521 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 8, 2012, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. 6. submitted on August 10, 2012, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. 7. submitted on August 8, 2012, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. 8. submitted on July 9, 2014, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.