Milwaukee in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers
The National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was established by Congressional legislation and approved by President Abraham Lincoln on March 3, 1865. Its purpose was "...to care for him who shall have borne the battle..." as stated in President Lincoln's second inaugural address. In fall of 1866, Milwaukee was designated as the site of the Northwestern Branch, one of the three original Homes. An estimated 60 soldiers moved from the temporary Milwaukee Soldiers Home on West Water Street to these grounds in May of 1867. The name of the institution was changed to the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in 1873. In July 1930, the National Home and the Bureau of Pensions was consolidated into the Veterans Administration. In 1989, Congress created the Department of Veterans Affairs which includes the Veterans Health Administration, National Cemetery Administration, and Veterans Benefits Administration.
"Old Main" is a 5-story structure with an imposing center tower. It is designed in the Victorian Gothic style, characterized by flat surfaces, tall pointed arches in doors and windows and contrasting colors of materials.
The National Home provided housing, food and medical care, as well as entertainment, spiritual support, productive work and an environment conducive to reflection and relaxation. This was not charity, but a "home" and a reward to the brave and deserving soldiers.
The home was run in military fashion. Soldiers were separated into Companies, with men of similar health problems grouped together. Each man was issued uniforms and bedding and was expected to keep them in order. There were curfews, restrictions and a long list of rules. Men who were capable of working were assigned jobs, which included cooking and cleaning, as well as upkeep of the buildings and grounds.
The Officers of the Home included the Governor, Treasurer, Quartermaster and the Adjutant/Inspector. The Governor was the commander of
Edward Townsend Mix was a leading architect in Milwaukee from the 1860s through the 1880s. He received his architectural training in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1856, Mix moved to Milwaukee as a partner of Boyington & Mix. The following year, Mix left the firm to start his own, designing the Wisconsin Club (formerly the Alexander Mitchell mansion), the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance block, the Chamber of Commerce and many other buildings in the Milwaukee area. He also served as state architect from 1864-1867. From 1867-1869, by appointment of the National Board of Managers, Mix designed and supervised construction of the main building ("Old Main") of the National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers at Milwaukee.
Created by: Andrew Jasniewski, Boy Scout Troop 595, Eagle project
Erected 2006 by Andrew Jasniewski, Rotary Club of West Allis, Soldiers Home Foundation, and Milwaukee Foundation.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Cemeteries & Burial Sites Man-Made Features • Patriots & Patriotism • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln, the National Cemeteries, and the National Historic Landmarks series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1867.
Location. 43° 1.587′ N, 87° 58.565′ W. Marker is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in Milwaukee County. Marker is on Mitchell Boulevard near General Wolcott Boulevard, on the right when traveling south. Marker is in front of Building 2 (Old Main), on the grounds of the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5000 West National Avenue, Milwaukee WI 53295, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lincoln's Gettysburg Address (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Volunteer-'98 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Erastus B. Wolcott, M.D (approx. 0.2 miles away); "Mr. Baseball" (approx. ¼ mile away); Robin Yount (approx. ¼ mile away); In Honor of the 1901 Milwaukee Brewers of the American LeagueHenry Aaron (approx. ¼ mile away); Allan H. Selig (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Milwaukee.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. This is a list of markers regarding the soldiers' home.
Also see . . .
1. Wood National Cemetery. (Submitted on November 27, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Soldiers Home in Milwaukee gains national landmark designation. (Submitted on April 26, 2013, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.)
Credits. This page was last revised on June 18, 2019. It was originally submitted on November 27, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 1,293 times since then and 41 times this year. Last updated on September 24, 2014, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. submitted on November 27, 2010, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. • William J. Toman was the editor who published this page.