A Brief History of the Republican House

On the night of Saturday, March 29, 1930, there was a large fire at Milwaukee’s downtown Republican House. No one was reported killed, but many were overcome by smoke and carried from the building. The fire chief reported a cigarette in the laundry shoot was to blame for the blaze.

The Republican House stood on the northwest corner of Third and Kilbourn, now a parking lot for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It was taken down in 1961.

The next morning’s Milwaukee Sentinel ran this interesting article on the history of the hotel. Some of the details differ slightly from other accounts I have read, but still it is of interest, I think.

The Republican House is rich in historic lore.

When built in 1836 by Deacon Samuel Brown for Andrew Clybourn, it was thought altogether too large for the business of the day. William P. Merrill, one o the pioneers of Milwaukee, had the contract for putting on the cornices, which still adorn the building and form a distinguishing feature. They were quite a curiosity in those days.

Linked with the building are many pioneers. Benjamin Church and Morgan L. Burdick are others who had a hand in its building.

The hotel was the scene of a big celebration when the ground for the ill-fated Milwaukee and Rock River Canal was broken by Kilbourn and others. It was there that William A. Webber put up the first billiard table in Milwaukee.

In those days the hotel was situated on Cherry street, between Second and Third streets. When the west side became more populous it was moved to the corner of Cedar and Third streets.

The original name of the hotel was the Washington House, which name was retained until about the time of the birth of the Republican party, when it was given its present name, its proprietor being an ardent republican.

For many years it was conducted by Alvin Kletzsch and his brothers. Later its control passed to Ray Smith, Inc.

The hotel has had many distinctions. It was the first hotel in Wisconsin to install electricity. It also led in adopting the cafeteria style of serving meals on a large scale. It was the second hotel in the United States to have its own cold storage and refrigerating plant. It was the first hotel to build a convention hall in its own building.

It was Dec. 31, 1875, when the Kletzsch family took charge of the famous hotel. Charles F. Kletzsch, father of the boys, leased it at that time and conducted it without any notable change until 1880, when he purchased the property and erected the first unit of a number of additions. At that time Milwaukee had a population of about 69,000.

The old Republican house at that time was away from the center of business, but Kletzsch foresaw the development of Third street in the vicinity of his property, and in 1883 a second unit was added. A year later the corner building was razed and the two wings were connected by the Cedar street addition, forming one complete unit.

In 1888 the Charles F. Kletzsch company was incorporated, the elder Mr. Kletzsch retiring and turning over the business to Alvin P. Kletzsch and Herman O. Kletzsch , his sons. In 1892 they added the fireproof addition and in 1900 another unit was added, and this was known as the Third street addition.

A year ago the hotel again passed back into the hands of Alvin and Herman Kletzsch. Charles Karrow was installed as manager.

William George Bruce, close friend of the Kletzsch family owners of the Republican hotel, had retired for the night when called to be informed of the fire in the hotel.

“It was one of the most famous hotels of the state,” he said. “It was for many years one of the most popular hotels in the city, especially with people from the central and northern sections of the state. It was the scene of many of the old social gatherings, those of the German-American element predominating.”

“The old hotel was started by Charles F. Kletzsch, who took it over when it was little more than an old boarding house. That was when it was a frame structure. Under his management it rapidly became noted for this wonderful hospitality and excellent table. It was soon torn down to make room for the first unit, built of brick and stone. The new Republican house continued to prosper and three times the building was enlarged by the addition of other units.

“When Mr. Kletsch [sic] passed away, two of his sons took over the management. Under the direction of Alvin and Herman O. Kletzsch, who continued the policies and methods of their father, the hotel continued to prosper. The boys added the Park hotel in Madison to their holdings and it, too, had a wonderful success.

“Being not far from the old Exposition building, where all of the state political conventions and caucuses were held, the hotel, under the skillful direction of Alvin and Herman, was considered exactly what its name said, the republican hotel of the state. In its guest rooms and meeting rooms many a candidacy has been doomed to bud and die unseen and unknown. Many a prominent figure in state politics had his first acceptance in those secret meetings of the old republicans in the old Republican hotel.

“Some years ago the Kletzsch brothers sold their hotel, but not the real estate, to Ray Smith of the New Pfister hotel. He, too, made a success of the place and later disposed of it to Harry Newmann, one of the owners of the Kirby house when that was torn down. Some two months ago, Mr. Newmann wanted to retire from the Milwaukee hotel business and the Kletzsch boys again came into possession of it.

“Herman O. Kletsch [sic] is still interested in the German-American activities and is one of the leaders of the Steuben society of Milwaukee. Another brother, Dr. Gustav Kletsch, is proprietor of the Nutricis [?] farms, and Arthur Kletzsch is vice president of the Morris Fox company, investment securities dealers.”

Dennis Pajot

Old Buildings Made New

In the 1930s and 1940s, the effort was underway to give Milwaukee a more modern appearance. This was usually done by tearing down old buildings and building new. It was usually cheaper to take an old building and make it look modern. Sometimes this was effective as was the case with Lou Fritzel building at 733 N. Milwaukee St and also the building shown below on N. Teutonia Ave. Although with the passing of time and less attractive renovations the building doesn’t appear too modern anymore.

Milwaukee Journal January 9, 1938

The remarkable improvement that can be made in soundly built old structures that are out of date in style is shown by the transformation of the Staadt Hardware Co building at 2816 N. Teutonia av. The pictures show the building before and after. Alexander H. Bauer, Milwaukee architect, designed the remodeling, using Lustron, a new enameled steel with a glass finish, to veneer the exterior. The new material is handled by Porcelain Building Products, Inc.

As it look now, via Google Maps.

Monday Milwaukee Mystery

I know that everyone has been breathlessly awaiting this all day so here it is! It is the post-Christmas Monday Mystery.

This could be easy. It is on a downtown building and portrays justice with her scales. On which building can this be found?

Early Morning Riders of the “Owl” Cars

In depression era Milwaukee, the streetcar was the only way to get to work for most of the people who held jobs. These cars were busy even early in the morning with women heading to cleaning work. This story from the Milwaukee Journal of 1933 tells about a few of these women and the hardship they endured.

Milwaukee Journal, July 23, 1933

Early Morning Riders of the “Owl” Cars

Every weekday at 5 a.m., when the last of the Delaware av. owl cars from Bay View reaches the Milwaukee city hall, an elderly woman, well along in the sixties, cautiously steps off and makes her way to the transfer zone in front of the Pabst theater. She waits for a Wells st. car and proceeds westward. She has been doing this for 13 years. Blizzards may be blowing or the cold be biting, rain storms may be raging or the heat be blistering, this woman is nearly always on time. Only when that owl car fails her and is late, does her schedule vary.

Who Is she? Just one of the city’s early workers, one of hundreds of women, who at that hour are on their way to work. Between 4:30 and 6 a.m. many such women are on the downtown streets. In the winter they are out long before the night’s darkness ends. In the summer they arrive with the sun. They come from all points of the city and when they reach the downtown district they scatter in all directions. They give just a glimpse of how some of the other half live – a picture those who sleep normal hours never see.

This Bay View woman modestly told her story. She lives on Idaho st. She arises at 4 o’clock. After a hurried breakfast, she sets forth to catch the last Delaware owl car which leaves the Oklahoma av. terminal at 4:35 a.m. When she boards the Wells st. car she goes to one of the west side hospitals, where she works in the laundry. When work was more plentiful, she worked on a monthly scale, but now she works on an hourly basis. She puts in six hours a day at 30 cents an hour. That figures $1.80 a day or $10.80 a week.

Isn’t It trying to get up at 4 o’clock every morning?

She thinks for a moment and then with a somewhat sad smile answers that when one has been doing it for 18 years one gets used to it.

Her voice sounded hollow. Just then a Wells st. car came rattling down the hill from Broadway. She excused herself, saying she must not miss her car and was on her way again.

The last of the inbound owl cars that arrive downtown at about 5 o’clock and the first of the regular day cars that come half an hour later, carrying almost as many women passengers as men. They all belong to the army of early workers. Many of the women are well advanced in years, others are in middle life, a few are in their twenties. Most of the older women look like mothers of families. Some are married and others are widows. All carry the signs of hard work. Some are still wearing heavy winter clothes. Their hats are old and out of fashion. There are no high heels on their shoes – those are things for the younger women. Many of the faces are wrinkled and careworn.

Probably the greater part of the women scrub and clean offices and office buildings. Some sweep and dust the stores and movie theaters. Some work in restaurants and hotels. Others in bakeries and other food shops. All are the advance guard which is getting ready for the day’s business. By the time the stores, shops, offices and other places are ready to throw open their doors, these early workers will have everything tidy and neat for the people who come to work later on.

Women whose work is to clean the offices, shops and buildings do not all toil during the same hours. There are those who start early in the morning and are among the passengers coming on the late owl cars. There are others who board the early cars homeward bound. Some may have started at midnight and have just finished their night’s work. Some come from the hotels and clubs. There are maids and domestics whose employers gave them a night off and who spent the time visiting their parents. In order to get back to their places they also get an early start. Some of the better dressed and younger women seen on the streets early in the morning are telephone operators. Telephone people work all sorts of hours.

At N. Water and E. State sts. every morning a woman of 60 or more leaves one of the south side cars. Her unsteady stride and her swollen ankles tell that she is not in good health. She knows the street car crews because she has long been a passenger on the early cars. Fellow passengers say she works in one of the breweries and each morning before 6 o’clock she can be seen walking north on N. Water st.

Before 5 o’clock on N. Third st. a woman was polishing the windows of the ticket booth of one of the smaller movie houses. She was in her bare feet and was bespattered with the dirt and grime she had been battling all night. She starts to work every night when the last of the theater crowd departs. Long before the first show starts in the morning, she has cleaned up the show house. Many other women work all night at the theaters. At about the time the office help of the theater arrives, they are ready to go home to sleep.

A young negress was walking on W. Wisconsin av. at 5 o’clock the other morning. No, she was not going to work; she was just getting through after having cleaned and scrubbed in a beauty parlor all night. Her duties began at 10 o’clock at night. Her wages are $12 a week. There are many colored women among the army of early workers.

A woman of about 50 was entering one of the many home bakeries at 4 o’clock in the morning. She can be seen doing this every morning at that hour.

“I have just given the owner notice that I am quitting my work Aug. 1,” she said “You know I am married and have three grown children. My husband lost his job nearly two years ago. The children could not help us because they had troubles also. My husband could not find another place. We had no money, so when I had a chance to come here and do the baking I took the job. I love to bake and while the hours are early and long I have enjoyed the work. They pay me well—$18 a week. With that income we got along fine. If it had not been for this job of mine, we would now be on the county. That would have been awful.

“About three weeks ago the foreman my husband worked for came to our home ‘William.’ said he. ‘I bring you some good news. We are starting up again and are calling back some of the old gang. Be on hand next Monday. I was sleeping at the time, but my husband called me and told me to go right down to the bakery and quit. Then we had an argument and that is why I am still here. I told him I would stay a few weeks more until we could pay a few small bills that had piled up. I told him it wasn’t fair to quit on short notice, so I am still working. But on Aug. 1 I am through. I am going to have a good long sleep that day William is working again and with two wages coming in every week we will soon have the bills paid. But really I am sorry to leave this place. It has been a life saver to us — it kept us off the county. And I’ll miss that fine bread and kuchen that I had ready every morning at 9 o’clock. You must love to bake to get good results and I have had loads of fun during the time I worked. But I am going back to run my home now.”

There are probably more women like this baker. During the economic turmoil many women have supported their families when the husbands were unable to find work. Among the early workers there are others who have kept their families off the county.

One of the large insurance companies employs 40 women to clean and scrub the offices and the building. These women begin at 4 o’clock every afternoon and work until 9 o’clock in the evening. On Monday mornings at 5 o’clock a part of this crew comes on the owl cars. They dust for two hours and go over the work they did the Saturday evening before. The dust that accumulated on Sunday soon disappears. By the time the 1,300 employes come in at 9 o’clock the place is as clean as a whistle.

Another large building downtown has a large staff of cleaners who work from 11 o’clock at night until 4 o’clock in the morning. One woman who works in one of the oldest office buildings in the city said that there are so many vacant offices about town that many cleaning women have lost their jobs. She said the average wages are from $10 to $14 a week, depending on the hours and amount of work that has to be done.

A woman of about 30, neatly dressed in inexpensive clothes, was sauntering on one of the downtown streets the other morning at about 5:15 o’clock. She carried a small box in her hand.

No, she said, she was not working in any of the buildings downtown. She was formerly employed as a maid and at housework, but lost her job and could not find another place. She was now selling razor blades and opened the box to exhibit her wares. The blades sold at 25 cents a package. They cost her 15 cents, so she had 10 cents a package profit. She sold most of her blades in West Allis. She and another woman canvassed the houses and at noon worked among factory employes while the latter were having lunch. She was able to earn $2 or more a day.

Why was she out so early?

She said she had always been an early riser when she had employment and now that she did not have to get up so early she could not remain in bed after 4.30 o’clock in the morning. She had gotten out early and was walking to West Allis, where she expected to sell more razor blades.

Monday Milwaukee Mystery

Today’s Mystery photo is somewhat related to the story posted on Saturday and is on a building just to the west of downtown. This building has lots of interesting terra cotta, especially these two little figures. Where is this building located?

Student Bandit

This story from the Milwaukee Sentinel of December 3, 1930 tells about a down-on-his-luck Marquette senior that turned to armed robberies to fund his expenses.

Alice Becker and Esther Burby - Because these restaurant workers didn't fear his pistol as much as other victims had, James Maher, Marquette university student, is in jail after a holdup Tuesday night. He fled when Alice approached him and was captured outside by a patrolman. It was his fourth holdup attempt, the Hilltop senior told police. Economic depression, he explained to police drove him to banditry.

Milwaukee Sentinel, December 3, 1930


Advances on Gunman Robbing Restaurant, Causing Capture; Youth Admits Career of Crime.

A Marquette university senior’s career of banditry, staged to finance his last year at school and his graduation in June, ended abruptly Tuesday night when he was trapped through a girl’s bravery after an apparently successful holdup of the Civic Center restaurant, 1224 W. State st.

Screams of his two girl victims, sudden flight of the bandit with his loot, and his capture after a thrilling chase were highlights of the student’s fourth attempt to fatten his meager educational fund at the point of a revolver.

After it was over, James Maher, 23, Alpha Kappa Psi fraternity man and former Menominee, Mich., High School tennis star, sat in a central station cell, foresaw that prison walls would enclose him instead of a university auditorium at graduation time, and cheerfully admitted that “it doesn’t pay.”

Borrowing an overcoat from a fraternity brother at the chapter house, 199 Twenty-fifth st., the handsome young Maher strolled forth at 6 p. m. Tuesday for his fourth foray into criminal fields. He planned to hold up a Piggly Wiggly store on State st, he said, but as he arrived the clerks were closing and wouldn’t let him in.

Undaunted, he passed on a few doors and entered the Civic Center restaurant. Three previous holdups, all successful, had given him a professional slant on things; he eyed the eating house and found conditions favorable. Only Esther Burby, 19, of 760 N. Fifteenth st., cashier, and Alice Becker, 30, of 1405 Walnut st., waitress, were in the main room. Sam Poulos, chef, was in the kitchen.

Maher took a seat in a booth and ordered a 35-cent meal, which Miss Becker served. Finishing it leisurely, the student-bandit strode to the front, where he flipped out a revolver and pointed it at Miss Burby.

Orders Register Opened.

“Open the register,” he ordered, and she obeyed.

“Hand over the cash.” he next directed, and she gave him $37.

“Now pile up the silver for me,” said Maher, and it was here that his aplomb was lost when he saw Miss Becker advancing toward him.

“Stay there,” he shouted, and turned the weapon on her, but without a quiver she kept right on coming. Maher, who hadn’t encountered such a situation in his short career as a gunman, turned and ran.

He fled east on State st. to Twelfth, but the screams of the girls followed him and attracted Patrolman Arthur Bratz, who was walking west on State st.

Surrenders to Officer.

Meanwhile Poulos had taken up the chase and had almost overhauled his quarry when Maher leaped into a Ford car, rented at a nearby agency, which he had parked between State st. and Highland av.

Maher had been watching Poulos and didn’t notice Bratz until the officer jumped into the car and covered tho boy bandit with his pistol.

“The jig,” said Maher, calmly, “is up.” And he submitted quietly to arrest, though he knew what it meant to his school career.

At central station he was docile. Though police had no criminal record on Maher, he promptly supplied his own. His first plunge into crime, he said, was two months ago, shortly after beginning the year that was to crown his student activities.

Attending classes in the college of business administration by day, Maher “burned the midnight oil” studying his lessons—and planning banditry. He first chose the Ogden Waffle shop, 258 Ogden av. Here, he said, he found an officer dining, and calmly waited more than an hour until the policeman departed, then went in and staged the holdup.

Other holdups followed within the next few weeks at the Legion restaurant, 201 E. State st., and a sweet shop at Twenty-seventh and State sts., according to the story he told Lieut. Arthur Burns. He estimated his total loot at about $150.

‘Tough To Get Along.’

“I’ve been a pretty decent sort of follow,” young Maher told a Milwaukee Sentinel reporter. “But it has been tough to get along. My father, who was a Menomonee policeman, is dead. My widowed mother has scraped together my tuition fees, but I’ve had to make living expenses.

“I’ve worked in many restaurants in town, was playground supervisor one year at the Trowbridge school in Bay View, had a Boston Store job for a while, and later worked in a shoe store.

“But this year was different, maybe due to the depression. We Hilltoppers just couldn’t get jobs. I planned to demonstrate for a flour company by making pancakes — anything for an education — but that fell through. I might have ‘stuck’ my fraternity brothers, but I chose banditry instead.”

“Did you think about the consequences?” he was asked.

“Yes, a long time,” he answered thoughtfully. “I realized I’d probably be caught, but I thought it was a good gamble. Education against a chance of going to prison. I planned this thing deliberately, and I am willing to take the consequences. What will they probably be?”

Sighs for His Mother.

Told he could be given as much as fourteen years In Waupun for assault and robbery armed, he sighed a bit.

“Tough for mother,” he said. “But she, too was determined that I finish with honors. Athletics? Yeah. I won a tennis championship for Menomonee High, but I haven’t had time for that sort of thing in Milwaukee.”

Maher slicked back his carefully combed hair, then had a last whimsical thought.

“You know, it’s Hell week out on the Hilltop.” he said. “It certainly turned out that way for me.”

Monday Milwaukee Mystery

The weekly mystery face is a horse that is on a building just north of downtown. It was on one of the buildings of a business that heavily relied on horses at one time. Any guesses before I start giving out more clues?

Early 20th Century Historic Preservation in Germany

This is an interesting article that I found in the Construction News magazine published in Chicago from the September 20, 1913 issue. It may get a little clinical about the issues of historic preservation but shows that Europeans were trying to come to terms with how the desire to modernize their cities would fit in with their historic and national identity.

Even today we must work out our local identity and how that relates to the urban landscapes of past, present and future so that we don’t lose what makes our city “Milwaukee”.


Stringent Laws Enacted

In the German Empire there are numerous Federal, municipal and communal statutes in operation for protecting buildings, plazas, streets, etc., of historic and artistic interest. According to the provisions of the enacted laws, the authorities of the districts in which the buildings, streets, etc., are located are empowered to issue regulations, ordinances, etc., for their preservation, and many such regulations are now in force, writes Consul General A. M. Thackara, Berlin. One of the most far-reaching of the protective laws is the Prussian act of July 15, 1907, a liberal translation of which follows:

1. The consent for the erection of buildings and alterations of the same is to be refused when the general appearance of the streets or public places of a city or village is greatly disfigured thereby.

2. By local statute the consent of the building police may be withheld for the erection of buildings or alterations of the same, in certain streets or places of historical or artistic interest, when such building operations would materially detract from the characteristic features of such streets or places. Furthermore, by local statute the consent of the building police may be withheld for the alteration of single buildings of historical or artistic importance, or the erection or alteration of buildings in the neighborhood of the said buildings, when the characteristic features or the general impression of the above-mentioned buildings may be marred. If the building operations as contemplated by the owners in the main would harmonize with the surroundings and the costs of the changes nevertheless required by the local statute are greatly out of proportion to the costs of the original plans, then the application of the provisions of the local statute may be waived.

3. By local statute it can be prescribed that the erection of billboards, advertising cases (showcases), advertising signs, and pictures is subject to the consent of the building authorities. This consent may be withheld under conditions similar to those set forth in paragraphs 1 and 2.

4. For the development of certain land, villa sites, health resorts, boulevards, etc., by local statute, special conditions may be prescribed which are more stringent than the provisions of the ordinary police building regulations.

5. Experts must be consulted before decisions are rendered under the local statutes in the cases specified in paragraphs 2 and 4.

6. Unless contrary to the requirements provided for in paragraph 2 of the law, before granting or refusing a building concession, it is necessary to consult with experts and also the head officers of the district (Gemeinde Vorstand). If the police building authorities wish to grant a concession contrary to the opinions of the Gemeinde Vorstand a written notice to that effect must be sent to the latter officials. They can within two weeks appeal against the decision of the police authorities to the board of supervision (Aufsichtsbehorde). In communities where the local administration does not consist of several persons, and in those where the mayor is at the same time the chief of police, the substitute for the mayor, in case of the latter’s absence, represents the Gemeinde Vorstand.

7. Regulations for independent manors (Gutsbezirke) can be issued by the district committee (Kreisausschuss) after consulting with the administrator of the manor. The decisions of the district committee must be confirmed by the county committee (Bezirksausschuss). The provisions of paragraph 2, sections 2, 5 and 6 are applicable the above cases.

8. The president of a government district may, with the consent of the district authorities, make special regulations for the preservation of unusually fine landscape, by which the consent of the police building authorities may be refused for the erection or alteration of buildings outside of cities, if thereby the entire landscape may be disfigured, if by the selection of other sites, or by the use of different building plans the disfigurement may be avoided. Before refusing the consent, experts and the district committee should be consulted, and in communities in which the district committee does not consist of several persons and in those where the mayor is at the same time the chief of police, the municipal officer who represents the mayor in case of the latter’s absence, takes the place of the Gemeinde Vorstand.

Prior to the enactment of the above law the building police authorities had no power to restrict building operations for esthetic reasons, except that within the jurisdiction of the Allgemeine Landrecht, the general land law of Prussia, gross disfigurement of streets and plazas might be prevented; but there was usually great contention as to what constituted a gross disfigurement. By the provisions of paragraph 1 of the present law, however, when there can be no doubt that the erection of buildings would greatly disfigure the public streets or plazas of a town or village, the building police authorities must refuse permission for the construction of such buildings. The law of July 15, 1907, falls into three parts. The first part (par. 1) extends to the whole State the provisions of the general land law relative to the gross disfigurement of streets, etc. The second part (pars. 2 to 7) erects a foundation on which local governments may rest more far-reaching provisions of an esthetic kind, especially with a view to the protection of historic and artistic structures. The third part (par. 8 ) serves to protect the landscape in especially favored localities against desecration by unsightly buildings.

Paragraph 1 provides that the permission of the building police for the erection of buildings or for alterations shall be refused when streets or plazas in the neighborhood or the general outlook would thereby be grossly disfigured. In contradistinction to the provisions of paragraph 1, formally conferring upon the building police authorities the immediate right to refuse building permits, the provisions of paragraphs 2 to 7 may only be applied after a local ordinance or statute granting to the local police the necessary powers shall have been passed. If such a local ordinance be passed to that effect, the local police are bound by its provisions. Under the provisions of the general law the following are among the regulations which may be provided for by local statutes:

“Permission for erecting buildings or for making alterations of buildings on specially designated streets or plazas of historic or artistic importance may be refused if the character of the streets or plazas is impaired.” Just what constitutes a street or plaza of historic or artistic importance is a question to be decided in each particular case. Newly-laid out streets or newly constructed buildings may be considered of artistic importance in the sense of the law. Streets or plazas may be regarded of historic value only when all or a part of the buildings erected thereon have the character of an historic epoch. In the meaning of the law it would not suffice if the particular street or plaza was merely the place where an historical event occurred; the buildings and the surroundings must be commemorative of the event. Certain limited parts of streets may be protected by local statute. Unimportant building operations which do not encroach upon the historic or artistic characteristics of the town or its streets do not fall within the prohibitions prescribed by the law. For streets or plazas of a distinctly historic or artistic character it may be stipulated in the local statute that new buildings or structural alterations shall correspond in style to that prevailing at the time the street or plaza was built. In such cases provision may be made as to the style of the exteriors of the new buildings, the materials to be used, the coloring, etc. Not only structural changes of an historic building, such as the Steffen House at Danzig, for instance, may be prohibited by local statute, but also changes or removal of parts of the building.

The law allows the communities great liberty in protecting their historic and artistic buildings and plazas but no hard and fast rule can be given for the preparation of local statutes, as their provisions must depend upon the prevailing conditions in the locality in which the buildings and plazas are situated. Local statutes enacted under the law which would refer to other matters than the protection of the artistic or historic character of the buildings, streets, or plazas would be illegal. Not only may streets, villages, towns, etc., of historic importance be protected by local statute, but the provisions may also be extended to single buildings of historic or artistic value, such as churches, monasteries, towers, town gates, castles, etc., whether they are located within or without cities, towns, etc. Even characteristic frame buildings in the city or country are not excluded according to the wording and intention of the law. Alterations of buildings or the erection of neighboring buildings which would detract from the general appearance of the characteristic frame buildings may be prohibited by local statute. It is not within the provisions of the law to prevent the demolition of buildings of artistic or historical importance when owned by private parties.

The Prussian law of June 2, 1902, was enacted to prevent the disfigurement of prominent landscapes by the display of advertising signs. It reads as follows: “By police regulations, based on the provisions of the law of the general land administrative act of July 30, 1883, the police authorities are empowered to prohibit the defacement of prominent parts of landscapes by the erection of billboards and other signs and pictures which would detract from the beauty of the surrounding scenery either in whole individual districts or in parts of the same.”

By the provisions of paragraph 3 of the law of July 15, 1907, the scope of the foregoing law is extended to embrace streets and plazas of a town, historic buildings, etc., provided that a local statute has been enacted requiring the permission of the police authorities before such advertisements are erected. By the provisions of paragraph 4 of the law, by local statute special restrictions may be placed on the architecture of building operations in suburban residential districts, seaside resorts, and boulevards which are more stringent than the ordinary building police regulations in force. Paragraphs 5 and 6 provide for the employment of experts when their opinions may be deemed necessary and for the procedure in cases when differences should arise between the police building officials and the municipal administrations. By paragraph 7 the provisions of the law are extended so as to embrace manor houses and the appertaining lands. The provisions of paragraph 8 are intended for the prevention of the defacement of particularly fine landscapes by the erection of unsightly buildings. The governor of a district (Regierungsprasident) may, with the consent of the district authorities, require that the permission of the building police officials be refused for the erection of buildings and building alterations outside of the towns or cities if the scenic views are greatly disfigured thereby. These regulations can only be made applicable to what are recognized generally to be particularly fine landscapes.

The law contains no regulation in regard to indemnification. It was claimed by the lawmakers that if indemnities were provided for it would be a temptation on the part of unprincipled builders to submit plans which could not be accepted by the building police authorities, in the hopes that the costs of alteration or construction would be partly borne by the communal authorities. Section 2 of paragraph 2 of the law stipulates that the local statutes shall not be enforced if the plans in the main are suitable and the costs of the changes necessary to satisfy the building police, authorities are small in comparison with the costs of the entire building operations. The provisions of the law are applicable to the State government in the construction of official buildings, also to religious bodies in the erection of their churches, monasteries, etc. Under the authority granted by the Prussian law of 1907 a number of local statutes have been enacted, the most typical of which are given in the brochure entitled Wichtige Ortsstatute, nach dem Preussischen Verunstaltungsgesetz.

In Germany there is a national association called the Bund Heimatschutz formed for protecting and preserving the natural beauty of the German fatherland together with its historic and artistic buildings, cities, monuments, etc., also to unite the efforts being made by various local and State organizations. Its membership consists of State organizations, local associations, which do not belong to State organizations, and single members who may include persons, corporations, officials, etc., located in districts in which no organization is in existence. In connection with the association there has been established an international bureau to extend the scope of its work by collecting all laws,regulations, etc., of foreign countries bearing on the protection of historic buildings, etc., and for exchanging with foreign societies literature and other information. The director of the German association is Mr. Fritz Koch, with headquarters at Charlottenstrasse 3, Meiningen, Saxe Meiningen, Germany. Mr. Koch would be pleased to enter into correspondence with American associations, municipal authorities, and others interested in the protection of native scenery, historic artistic buildings, plazas, etc.

Special ordinances are issued by various German cities of which three of the most picturesque are Nuremberg, Rothenhurg, and Treves. With reference to Nuremberg Consul Ifft writes in part as follows:

“In Nuremberg the provisions of the ordinances for the protections of historic buildings, etc., are made effective through an art committee named by the Stadt Magistrat (mayor). The director of the local Industrial Art School is an ex-officio member of this committee and the other members are local artists. Whenever any alterations in old buildings are proposed, or the erection planned of new building in historic quarters, the plans are submitted to this art committee and may not be carried out until approved by this committee. As a matter of fact, no building in the old city is permitted without the approval of this committee, which is also consulted in regard to the plans for all public buildings and improvements. In Rothenburg there is no special committee of this kind, but the Stadt Magistrat reserves the right to consult experts whenever any question of this character arises. Consul Dunlap, in forwarding the building police regulations for the city of Treves (Trier) inclosed a letter from the mayor of that city, a translation of which follows:

“I take pleasure in informing you that many antiquities and ancient buildings are in the possession of the State. For this reason ample provision is made for their protection. The protection of the antiquities belonging to the church is provided for by the law of June 20, 1875, relative to the administration of the property belonging to the Catholic congregations, which prescribes in section 50 that the resolutions of church prelates and general representatives of church congregations regarding objects of a historic, scientific, or artistic value are subject to the approval of the government authorities (Aufsichtsbehorde). Provision is also amply made for preservation of antiquities in the possession of private persons. For instance, section 46 of the municipal ordinance for the Rhine Province of May 15, 1836 prescribes the following:

“The approval of the District President (Regierungsprasident) is necessary for any projected sales or important changes of objects being of a certain scientific, historic, or artistic value.’ The protection of antiquities in the possession of private individuals is provided for by the local laws for the town of Treves.”

Monday Milwaukee Mystery

This week’s mystery face is on a building in the east town area of downtown. It is an angel which should hopefully narrow it down a bit. Does anyone recognize this angel and know which building it is on??

The Norris Garage

On North 19th Street, just north of Wisconsin Avenue lies a building that is the home of Channel 12. It has a modern appearance but at the core of the building remains a garage and stable that was built over 100 years ago for the estate of Charles Norris which was located on Grand Avenue next to the Pabst Family mansion. The Norris family were known for their business which provided provisions for ships in 19th century Milwaukee. Charles married the daughter of Daniel Wells Jr.

The stable was built in 1909 by H.C. Koch & Son, the architect of Milwaukee’s City Hall. Obviously this was one of his smaller projects. A description of the stable from the Western Builder of October 1909 is as follows:

We publish a photograph of the fireproof horse barn and automobile garage recently completed for Mr. Chas. W. Norris, 1906 Grand avenue, Milwaukee. The building was designed by Architects H. C. Koch & Son and was built by S. J. Brockman, all of Milwaukee.

Concrete is used liberally in the construction. The floors and roof are of reinforced concrete, the reinforcement of the roof being furnished by the Trussed Concrete Steel Co., of Detroit. Steel roof trusses are also used as roof supports. The walls are brick and hollow tile plastered on the outside with white cement. Green tiles serve as roof covering. There is no wood in the building excepting the doors, windows and harness cases. The general dimensions are 81×46. There is electricity, a small hot water heater and plumbing.

The conveniences include space for six or seven autos and horse carriages, a large washroom, three box stalls and two smaller ones, a hayloft, and in the basement a place for chickens, dog kennels, etc. Among the sub-contractors were Biersch & Niedermeyer, tile roofers, and Dearsley Bros., plumbers.

The view from the south parking lot shows the building as it now appears. Although much changed and added onto the original structure still can be seen. Now the real question is whether there are still chickens kept in the basement?