Historic Milwaukee, Inc. Upcoming Events

Historic Milwaukee, Inc. has a few events that are coming up that may be worth your while to enjoy.

The first event is “The East Side Commercial Historic District: From Controversy to Catalyst” which will be held next Thursday, January 17th.

When: Thursday, January 17
Where: Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.
1000 North Water Street, 17th Floor
6:00-7:00pm: Networking Reception
7:00pm: Panel Discussion
Reception and Panel: $25 Non members; $20 for members
Panel Only: $10 Non members; $5 Members
Parking available for a fee: Enter the parking garage on Market Street
RSVP Required: Sign up on-line or contact HMI for tickets, 414-277-7795.

Learn about the East Side Commercial Historic District’s past, present and future from the stakeholders who are growing this important Milwaukee cornerstone. Panelists include Steve Schwartz, CEO of the First Hospitality Group with the Loyalty building; UWM Professor Matt Jarosz; Mark Demsky of Dental Associates and the Iron Block Building; Josh Jeffers, owner of the Mitchell Building; and Bruce Block, Co-Chair of Reinhart’s Real Estate Practice, as the moderator.


The second event is a big fundraiser on February 25th that will be held at The Grain Exchange Room in the Mackie Building. It is a little pricier but is for a great cause and is worth going to at least once in your life.

Check the HMI website for more information and to register.

North Shore Interurban History – Milwaukee Public Library

There will be a presentation and video on the history of the North Shore Interurban line which ran from Milwaukee to Chicago. The event will coincide with the abandonment 50 years ago this month and will be held on Saturday, January 19th, 2:00 p.m. at Centennial Hall, 733 N. 8th St.

Please call 414-286-3011 to register. This will be a great event, as always!

WHS Online Map collection

The Wisconsin Historic Society is a great resource for online research with its collections of images, books, newspaper articles, historic buildings, etc. Now they have added online browsing to a portion of their map collection which includes several amazing old maps of Milwaukee. The Increase Lapham drawing of the city from 1836 shows all of the landholders in the town. An 1856 birdseye map will keep you occupied with the amazing detail as you zoom in.

View the page for their online collection here.

Old School Discussion Forums

For those of you who are newer to the Oldmilwaukee.net site, there is a whole other side to the website than what you see here. It is more or less hidden. The old discussion forums are still underground and open but you will need to be separately registered to that unless you are one of the old time site users who can always use it. If you want to register to that section of the site, email me and I will get you online. You can browse the articles without being registered but sometimes the fun is in making your own posts.

There is also the very old Gallery section with many pictures. That used to be an integral part of the forums but after it wasn’t supported anymore by newer forum updates I had to separate it forever. It can still be accessed and images can be viewed but it is stuck in a time capsule.

I hope you enjoy looking at some of the old sections of the site. What is a history website without some of its own buried history?

Missing Milwaukee Presentation

The Milwaukee County Historical Society will host a presentation of my Missing Milwaukee book this Thursday. I will talk about about some of the buildings in the book and show a slide show of various buildings. If you haven’t seen the presentation yet, this will be a perfect opportunity. Books will be available for sale after the presentation and I will be available to answer your questions!

When: ​Thursday, October 11th, 7:00pm
Where: The Historical Center, at 910 N. Old World Third Street in Downtown Milwaukee.
Admission: FREE

Ruins in the River

Interesting things are showing up in the river, apparently.

There is a rather large construction project taking place right now near the Urban Ecology Center, along the Milwaukee River. They are apparently removing an embankment that appears to have been a former landfill site. At the moment, they have unearthed what appears to be the remains of a beautiful old building. The attached image shows one element, but there are also large sections of dental moulding (concrete), doric or ionic columns, etc.

Attached is a link to the exact location of the project.

I thought perhaps your folks might help identify the building. I’m not sure if this is something you are interested in, but I would advise that it appears as though much has already been cleared and I’m not sure where they are taking the fill.

Jessica St. John

Old School Questions


I just located a 1906 postcard of a Milwaukee school and while it resembles the 2nd Ward 2nd district school built in 1889 there are differences. Mix built the 2nd ward 2nd district and this looks so much like it.

Yance, anyone–any ideas. First school is the new unidentified one. I’m wondering where it was.

and second is the 2nd ward Mix building.

Thanks .

Ellen Puerzer
Octagon House Book

Attempted Assassination of Teddy Roosevelt – October 14

Join Historic Milwaukee, Inc. for this free event on Sunday, October 14 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the attempted assassination of Teddy Roosevelt. This will be a re-enactment and speech about the event that amazed Milwaukee. Details available on their website.

Reader Questions

What is the oldest building in Milwaukee?


This is a question I have got several times. Because I could not answer it on the spot, now is the time. If you want the trick answer, then it is the Joan of Arc Chapel on the Marquette University campus. It was built in the 15th century in France and moved to its present home in 1964.

I believe the oldest, whole building in Milwaukee is the Benjamin Church house which now sits in Estabrook Park but originally was near 4th & Galena. Several downtown churches, St. Mary’s on Broadway and Kilbourn and St. John’s at Wells and Jackson have been around since the late 1840s although they have had many major changes over the years.

The oldest, whole building in downtown which probably hasn’t had as many changes is the James Brown residence at the northeast corner of Astor and Juneau. It was finished in 1851 and has recently been restored to its original style.

Reader Questions

What is the history of the name Locust St? I found that E. Locust used to be called Folsom, but why is Locust St. named after an insect?


The original name of Folsom came strangely enough from Miss Frances Folsom, bride of President Cleveland. She caught the nation’s imagination in the 1880s as some sort of Amazon princess and was very well celebrated.

Folsom Place was the name of the street on the east side of the Milwaukee River while the street west of the river was always known as Locust Street. When the bridge was built in 1894, it was named the Folsom Bridge. The great street renaming of 1930 changed Folsom Place along with many other streets around the city. Milwaukee wanted to keep one name for one street so one of the names had to go and it was decided to keep Locust Street. Locust Street was named, not for the insect but for the tree which is still planted along streets all over the city.