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.