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

East Wisconsin Avenue

 
 
Historic Milwaukee Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 7, 2012
1. Historic Milwaukee Marker
Inscription. The eastern edge of downtown Milwaukee, the lakeshore itself, was very close to this spot until the early 20th century. If you were standing here before 1917 you would be standing very near the water’s edge. Between 1917 and 1937, Milwaukee filled in over 77 acres of submerged land to create the downtown lakefront.

The Chicago & Northwestern Railway Station was a landmark at the east end of Wisconsin Avenue from its construction in 1889 until its demolition in 1968. The Richardsonian Romanesque station, designed by Chicago architect Charles Sumner Frost, was among Milwaukee’s largest structures when it was built, supported by heavy walls of granite, brownstone, and red pressed brick. It replaced the original depot, an unprepossessing wooden structure at the same site, which had been built in 1872-73. For decades, until the land was filled in, the railroad tracks were not far from the water’s edge.

Lincoln Memorial drive, made possible by the landfill, was completed in 1929. Lincoln Memorial Bridge spanned the railroad tracks that ran below the bluff along the lakefront and connected Mason Street and Lincoln Memorial Drive.

For most of its existence, the downtown lakefront was a working lakefront. A municipal airport built in 1927 and known as Maitland Field was located between the railroad tracks and Lake
Historic Milwaukee Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 7, 2012
2. Historic Milwaukee Marker
reverse side with area map.
Michigan. A Nike missile site, built to protect Milwaukee from potential Russian bomber attacks, replaced the airport in the early 1950s. After the Nike site closed, the downtown lakefront was used for auto parking and storage until the early 1980s when redevelopment for recreational use began. Between the 1960s until it was demapped in 1981, a corridor along the lakefront was set aside for a freeway.

The War Memorial Center, designed by architect Eero Saarinen, was completed in 1957. The Milwaukee Art Center occupied space in the upper portion of the building until the lower level galleries were completed in 1963. These were enlarged between 1970 and 1975. In 1980 the name was changed to the Milwaukee Art Museum. The newest addition opened in 2001 and was designed by Santiago Calatrava.

At about the same time, in 1971-73, Wisconsin’s largest and tallest building was built—the First Wisconsin Center (now the US Bank building) at 777 East Wisconsin Avenue. The architects were Skidmore, Owings and Merrill of Chicago.

In the early 1990s, the O’Donnell Park complex was developed on the site of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Station, complete with the abstract steel sculpture “The Calling” by artist Mark di Suvero, which is owned by the Milwaukee Art Museum.
 
Location. 43° 2.34′ 
Historic Milwaukee Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 7, 2012
3. Historic Milwaukee Marker
Upper Left Photos: Top – In this 1889 photo, Milwaukeeans stroll a promenade between Juneau Park and the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Station. Photo courtesy Milwaukee County Historical Society Bottom – A 1920s photo of East Wisconsin Avenue east from Marshall Street, showing the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Station and the Juneau Hotel, both razed in the 1960s. Historic Photo Collection / Milwaukee Public Library
N, 87° 54.011′ W. Marker is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in Milwaukee County. Marker is at the intersection of East Wisconsin Avenue and North Prospect Avenue, on the right when traveling east on East Wisconsin Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 875 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. A different marker also named Historic Milwaukee (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Service Star Legion World War I Memorial (about 700 feet away); Abraham Lincoln (about 800 feet away); Brig. Gen. Rufus King’s Home (approx. 0.2 miles away); Milwaukee County War Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Milwaukee Cargo Pier (approx. 0.2 miles away); Northwestern National Insurance Company (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. Railroads & StreetcarsRoads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers
 
Historic Milwaukee Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 7, 2012
4. Historic Milwaukee Marker
Lower Left Photo: Maitland Airport (known as Maitland Field) consisted of a landing strip and a sea-ramp for pontoon planes landing on the lake. It was shut down during World War II (as were all small airports) as a security measure against sabotage. Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee County Historical Society.
Historic Milwaukee Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 7, 2012
5. Historic Milwaukee Marker
Photo Middle Right: This mid 1940s photo shows the downtown lakefront, with Lake Michigan on the left and the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad station and tracks front and center. Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee County Historical Society.
Historic Milwaukee Marker image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 7, 2012
6. Historic Milwaukee Marker
looking west along Wisconsin Avenue
Lincoln Memorial Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 13, 2012
7. Lincoln Memorial Bridge
over Lincoln Memorial Drive
Milwaukee Art Museum and War Memorial image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 13, 2012
8. Milwaukee Art Museum and War Memorial
designed by architect Eero Saarinen
"The Calling" and "Brise Soleil" image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 13, 2012
9. "The Calling" and "Brise Soleil"
The abstract steel sculpture “The Calling” by artist Mark di Suvero with the Santiago Calatrava-designed Brise Soleil in the background.
Milwaukee Art Museum Expansion image. Click for full size.
By Paul Fehrenbach, June 13, 2012
10. Milwaukee Art Museum Expansion
The expansion was designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. The "wings" on the building close in the evening and when the wind is too strong.
<i>Chicago and Northwestern R.Y. Station, Milwaukee, Wis.</i> image. Click for full size.
By Detroit Publishing Company, circa 1898
11. Chicago and Northwestern R.Y. Station, Milwaukee, Wis.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 27, 2012, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 695 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on June 27, 2012, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin.   11. submitted on November 16, 2014. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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