Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
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

West Wisconsin Avenue

 
 
Historic Milwaukee Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devon Polzar, July 7, 2018
1. Historic Milwaukee Marker
Inscription. During the mid 1800s, one of Milwaukee's founding fathers, Byron Kilbourn, lived on the northwest corner of 4th Street and Spring Street (now Wisconsin Avenue). Kilbourn developed the area west of the Milwaukee River, then known as Kilbourntown, and served as Milwaukee's mayor in 1848 and 1854.

Between 1880 and 1898, Milwaukee's first public library was housed on the second floor of a building on the same corner. Built by meatpacking magnate John Plankinton, the building later housed the Espenhain Department Store, which opened for business there in 1906. Like many other businesses at the time, Espenhain's was forced to close in 1932 by the Great Depression. The building had been demolished by 1935 and J.C. Penney Company occupied a new building on the site until the early 1980s.

In 1928, Walter Schroeder built Milwaukee's largest hotel as the flagship of his statewide hotel chain. The Schroeder Hotel, later called the Marc Plaza and now the Milwaukee Hilton, is a sophisticated example of the Art Deco style of architecture fashionable in the late 1920s and 1930s. The building exterior is faced with pink Minnesota granite. Bas-relief carved limestone panels embellish the corners, spandrels and cornices on its three exterior elevations. Its elegant lobby is lavishly decorated with crystal chandeliers and ornamented ceilings, walls

Reverse Side of Historic Milwaukee Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devon Polzar, July 7, 2018
2. Reverse Side of Historic Milwaukee Marker
and staircases.

The Mariner Tower (now the Wisconsin Tower) was also built in 1928. Named after its builder, real estate developer John Mariner, the 22-story building was Milwaukee's tallest 1920s-era skyscraper. The Moderne-style building, with its stepped-back upper stories, features polished granite ornamental Art Decco grilles with peacocks and entrance carvings against its stark stone-sheathed exterior. The tower is wrapped in Bedford limestone, while the first two floors are clad in polished marble and ornamented with bas-relief Art Deco style metal castings. The entrance, with its handsome grilles and the marble lobby, is a fine example of Art Deco design.
 
Location. 43° 2.332′ N, 87° 55.076′ W. Marker is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in Milwaukee County. Marker is on West Wisconsin Avenue, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Milwaukee WI 53203, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Indian Village Site (a few steps from this marker); Carl Frederick Zeidler (approx. 0.2 miles away); Milwaukee's Last Operating Tower Clock (approx. 0.2 miles away); Straus Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Birthplace of China-Burma-India Veterans Ass'n.

Close Up of Upper Left Photo image. Click for full size.
Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Public Library
3. Close Up of Upper Left Photo
This 1870s photo shows the home of Byron Kilbourn during the mid 1800s located on 4th and Spring Street (now Wisconsin Avenue).
(approx. 0.2 miles away); First African-American Church Built in Wisconsin (approx. 0.2 miles away); Milwaukee Interurban Terminal (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Historic Milwaukee (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Milwaukee.
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
Close Up of Upper Mid Left Photo image. Click for full size.
Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Public Library
4. Close Up of Upper Mid Left Photo
This building at 4th and Grand (now Wisconsin Avenue) was, over the years, known as the Library Block, the Plankinton Building, and the Espenhain building. Shown here in the 1890s, it housed Milwaukee's public library on its second floor between 1880-1898.
Close Up of Bottom Mid Left Photo image. Click for full size.
Photo coutesy of the Milwaukee County Historical Society
5. Close Up of Bottom Mid Left Photo
In 1933 the Espenhain building no longer housed the well-known department store; it closed in 1932 due to the Great Depression. The building was regarded as one of the finest in the city.
Close Up of Bottom Left Photo image. Click for full size.
Photo coutesy of the Milwaukee County Historical Society, July 7, 2018
6. Close Up of Bottom Left Photo
The Espenhain building was replaced by a J.C. Penney store, shown here in 1938.
Close Up of Upper Right Photo image. Click for full size.
Photo coutesy of the Milwaukee County Historical Society, July 7, 2018
7. Close Up of Upper Right Photo
Looking southeast from 6th and Wisconsin in 1950, showing the Schroeder Hotel. In 1972 the hotel was purchased by local entrepreneur Ben Marcus, extensively renovated, and renamed Marc Plaza. In 1995 it became the Milwaukee Hilton.
Close Up of Bottom Right Photo image. Click for full size.
Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Public Library, July 7, 2018
8. Close Up of Bottom Right Photo
This 1932 view of Wisconsin Avenue looking east from 8th street shows the Mariner (now Wisconsin) Tower on the left and a trolley headed west. The 22-story Tower is topped off with an Art Deco style steel mast, the last of its vintage in the city.
Historic Milwaukee marker image. Click for full size.
By Devon Polzar, July 7, 2018
9. Historic Milwaukee marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 22, 2018. This page originally submitted on July 8, 2018, by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 44 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 8, 2018, by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin.   6, 7, 8. submitted on July 22, 2018, by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin.   9. submitted on July 8, 2018, by Devon Polzar of Port Washington, Wisconsin. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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