December 2, 2010

More doors opening for Doors Open Milwaukee (DOM)

HMI has been busy finding allies for Doors Open Milwaukee (DOM). We're already partnering with the City of Milwalukee, Milwaukee County, Metropolitan Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce, Visit Milwaukee, Marquette University, Easttown, Westown, The Historic Third Ward Association, Milwaukee Downtown BID #21, the American Institute of Architects - Milwaukee chapter and others.  To date we have about thirty buildings on board including Marquette's new Law School, the Milwaukee Rep, US Bank, the Milwaukee Gas Light Building, Immanuel Presbyterian Church, MSOE's Grohmann Museum, the Milwaukee Athletic Club, Central Library, County Historical Society, City Hall and the County Courthouse. We've also been busy finding experts for over two dozen in-depth (but also free!) tours. We're working on a spanking new DOM brochure and stepping up our fundraising efforts. In January a DOM Steering Committee will be formed to begin working on the myriad tasks that will have to be done - from marketing to financials, volunteer coordination to building owner contacts.  If you can lend us some time over the next 10 months please contact us at  It's going to be the first of a great annual event that will highlight our city's built environment like never before.
George Wagner
DOM Project Manager

September 9, 2010

I LOVE MKE: Brady Street--Come Walk with Me

I LOVE MKE: Brady Street--Come Walk with Me: "I welcomed the opportunity to volunteer with a thriving non-profit about a year ago that is dedicated to increasing the awareness of Milwauk..."

September 7, 2010

Buildings we'd like to see in Doors Open Milwaukee

The focus of Doors Open Milwaukee (DOM) will be on downtown Milwaukee and some of its adjacent areas including the Historic Third Ward and Yankee Hill.  On that last weekend of September of next year HMI hopes to open up to a hundred buildings providing backstage access to areas of buildings usually not accessible to the public. Here's a list of buildings we're trying to include.
 (If you know of a building owner or organization in a building that would qualify as one of historic, architectural or cultural significance and you think that we should contact them, please let us know about it at . )

YANKEE HILL                                                                                                                                            

1. Wells Building (324 E. Wisconsin
2. Pfister Hotel
3. The Milwaukee Club
4. Northern Trust. (526 E. Wisconsin)
5. Milwaukee Gas Light Co. (626 E. Wisconsin)
6. Northwestern Life Insurance
7. Cudahy Tower
8. University Club
9. Button Residence (1024 E. State)10. Peck Residence (1105 N. Waverly Place)
11. George Miller Residence (1060 E. Juneau)
12. Knickerbocker Hotel
13. Astor Hotel
14. Elsa’s on the Park
15. Isley Residence (1037 N. Astor)
16. Immanuel Presbyterian Church (1100 N. Astor)
17. All Saints Episcopal Church (828 E Juneau)
18. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (914 E. Knapp)
19. Woman’s Club of Wisconsin (813 E. Kilbourn)
20. Dietrich Inbusch Residence (1135 N. Cass)
21. Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center (790 N. Van Buren)
22. Francis McGovern House (718 E. Wells)
23. Cathedral Square (old Courthouse Square)
24. St. John’s Cathedral
25. Watts Building (761 N. Jefferson)
26. Matthew Keenan Residence (777 N. Jefferson)
27. Hotel Metro (411 E. Mason)
28. Milwaukee Athletic Club
29. MSOE (variety of buildings)
30. Grohmann Museum
31. Blatz condominiums (270 E. Highland)
32. Val Blatz Brewing Co. Office Building (1120 N. Broadway)
33. German English Academy (1020 N. Broadway)
34. Grace Lutheran Church (1209 N. Broadway)
35. Old St. Mary’s
36. Federal Immigration and Detention Center
37. Wisconsin Telephone Building (722 N Broadway)
38. Cherry Street Bridge Houses
39. Edison Street Condos
40. Abbot Row (1019-1043 E. Ogden)
41. Summerfield United Methodist Church (728 E. Juneau)
42. First Unitarian Church (1009 E. Ogden)
43. Lincoln Middle School of the Arts
44. County Clare (1234 N. Astor)
45. Karl Ratszch’s Restaurant
46. Jason Downer Residence (1201 N. Prospect)
47. White Manor Apartments (1228-36 E. Juneau)
48. Francis Hinton Residence (1229-31 N. Prospect)
49. 1260 N. Prospect Apartments
50. University Club Condominiums
51. Kilbourn Tower Condominiums
51a. City Green Condominiums
51b. Jewish Museum Milwaukee (1360 N. Prospect)
51c. Exton Apartments


52. City Hall
53. Pabst Theater
54. Milwaukee Press Club bar
55. Milwaukee Center
56. Powerhouse Theater
57. Marcus Center for Performing Arts
58. First National Bank Building (735 N. Water)
59. M & I Bank (old building) (721 N. Water)
60. 100 East Wisconsin
60a. 1000 N. Water
60b. Colby Abbot Building


61. Chase Bank (old Marine Plaza Bank)
62. Iron Block Building
63. Mitchell Building
64. Mackie Building (Grain Exchange)
65. Loyalty Building
66. Railway Exchange Building
67. Federal Building
68. US Bank Building
69. Milwaukee Art Museum
70. Johnson Controls Building (507 E. Michigan)
71. Eisner Museum
72. MIAD (273 E. Erie)
73. Public Market
74. Broadway Theatre (342 N. Water)
75. Italian Community Center
76. Discovery World
77. Milwaukee Ale House
78. Riverwalk
79. Marine Terminal Lofts (311 E. Erie)
79a, Betty Brin Museum
79b. Marshall Building (207 E. Buffalo)
79c. Maier Festival Grounds
79d. McGeogh Building


80. Gimbels Department Store (ASQ Building)
81. Plankinton Arcade
82. Hotel Wisconsin (720 N. 3)
83. Hilton Hotel
84. Intermodal Station
85. Midwest Convention Center)
86. Wisconsin Tower Building (606 W Wisconsin)
87. Milwaukee Public Library
88. Milwaukee Public Museum
89. St. James Episcopal Church (833 W. Wisconsin)
90. Wisconsin Club
91. Calvary Presbyterian Church (935 W. Wisconsin)
92. Public Service Building (231 W. Michigan)
93. Pritzlaff Hardware (305 N. Plankinton)
94. Germaina Building (135 W. Wells)
95. Mader’s Restaurant
96. Usingers
97. Syndey HiH
98. Milwaukee County Historical Society
99. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Building
100. Steinmeyer Building (1050 N. 3rd)
101. Turner Hall (1034 N. 4th)
102. Riverside Theater
103. Schlitz Brewing Co.
104. Manpower
105. Golda Meir School (1542 N. 4th)
106. Milwaukee Theater
107. Bradley Center
108. MATC
109. Milwaukee County Courthouse
110. Pabst Brewing Company
111. Trinity Lutheran Church (1046 N. 9th)
112. Marquette University (new law school, Raynor library?)
113. Joan of Arc Chapel
114. Gesu Church
115. Pabst Mansion
116. Potawatomi Casino
117. Harley Davidson Museum
118. St. Benedict the Moor Catholic Church
119. WISN-TV
120. U.S. Cellular Arena
121. Shops at Grand Avenue
122. Matthews Building
123. Aurora Mount Sinai Hospital
124. Milwaukee Center – Hotel Intercontinental
125. Aloft Hotel

August 19, 2010

Remarkable Milwaukee 2010 - Honoring Johnson Controls

Doors Open Milwaukee: Full steam ahead!

Over the last few months much has been happening behind the scenes as HMI prepares to roll out Doors Open Milwaukee (DOM) on September 24 & 25 of 2011. DOM hopes to open up to a hundred buildings in the downtown area free of charge, featuring parts of those buildings usually not accessible to the public.
Here's a "Top Ten" list of what we've accomplished thus far.

1. A detailed business plan has been developed.
2. A small commitee has been strategizing, planning, and working on the multitude of tasks that need to be completed to ensure the event's success.
3. Potential key supporters are being contacted.
4. A dozen "seed" building owners are being brought on board to help kick start our efforts to enlist those hundred buildings for the event.
5. Grants have been and are continuing to be submitted to help underwrite DOM.
6. Key sponsors are being sought.
7. A striking Doors Open Milwaukee logo has been designed.
8. Alliances with professional, civic and business associations are being forged.
9. Building owner packets have been assembled and are beginning to be distributed.
10.A seven minute DOM video is up and running on YouTube.

Next week: Watch for the list of buildings DOM hopes to include in the event.

George Wagner
Project Manager

August 10, 2010

Thursday Twilight Tour

HMI UPDATE: Some of Historic Milwaukee's Communication Committee members will be photographing, documenting and taking video of this tour and posting it here! Stay tuned! If you haven't been on one of these tours yet, you'll know what you're missing! :)


Brady Street Tour, Thursday, August 19th at 5:30

This East Side neighborhood with its Polish and Italian working class communities, briefly became Milwaukee’s counter-culture stronghold in the 60’s and 70’s.
Meet at the N.E. corner of Humboldt Avenue and Brady Street in front of Street Hedwig’s Church.

April 22, 2010

Spaces & Traces Special Offer!

As a thank you to being a part of our ever-growing social media community, Historic Milwaukee is offering a special ticket price for this year’s Spaces & Traces event to show our appreciation to our online fans. Just call the Historic Milwaukee office and ask for the Social Media Discount! You will be able to purchase a ticket at our HMI Member price of $20.00!

Note: You must be a "fan" on Facebook or follow us on Twitter in order to receive the discount.

HMI Office: (414) 277-7795

March 25, 2010

Historic Milwaukee Photo Contest!

Historic Milwaukee, Inc. (HMI) announces the 29th annual Spaces & Traces neighborhood open house event taking place Saturday, May 15. The tours and lectures about the Historic Brewers Hill and Beerline neighborhoods will highlight their history, architecture, and changes over time. This annual educational and cultural event is one of two major fundraising events that support the over 500 HMI tours/events throughout the year, while also offering a gift for posterity to the featured neighborhood.

Historic Milwaukee is proud to present an exciting opportunity for Milwaukee-Area photography students and enthusiasts. HMI seeks a photo to put on the front of this year’s materials- which is distributed to thousands of individuals.

Benefits of Entering & Winning
  • Each photo submitted will be posted with artist name on our Flickr site
  • Winner will have their name on the front cover of booklet and tri-fold
  • The winner will be announced and published to our Blog & Facebook page

    A picture of any of the following houses can be taken and submitted:
    • 2037 N 1st Street
    • 1821 N 2nd Street
    • 1918 N 2nd Street
    • 1927 N 4th Street
    • 1872 N Commerce Street
    • 1823 N Palmer Street
    • 1849 N Palmer Street
    • 2013 N Palmer Street
    • 2023 N Palmer Street
    • 2031 N Palmer Street
    • 216 W Reservoir Avenue
    • 919 E Reservoir Avenue
    • 112 E Vine Street
    • 325 W Vine Street
    • Schlitz Park Building 2 or 3
    • Scenic views of the Brewers Hill or Beerline neighborhoods

      Contest Deadline: April 1st, 2010
      Please email black and white, non-digitally altered photos to

      March 9, 2010

      From Anna's Desk - March 2010 Enewsletter to Historic Milwaukee Members

      Dear Members and Friends,

      Last night Historic Milwaukee held its first-ever Milwaukee Trivia Night at Cafe Corazon in Riverwest. It was a blast! Over 70 people signed-up to test their knowledge of Milwaukee. Round 1 ended in a tie breaker between two teams: Team 1, including Carl and Ellen Baehr (of the book Milwaukee Streets: The Stories Behind Their Names), trumped Team 6, which included HMI Guide George Wagner and HMI Researcher Hugh Swafford.
      Tie Breaking Question: In 1866 Anthony Kochanek, a homesick cobbler from Poland, offered his most valuable possession, a gold watch, to be raffled off for a nucleus fund to build St. Stanislaus Church, the first large parish for Americans of Polish ancestry in the United States, at the corner of what is now 5th and Mitchell. How much was raised from the raffling of his watch? Team 1 guessed closest to the correct answer, $250.
      Thank you to FUEL Milwaukee's New Member Orientation Team, Adam Carr from 88Nine, and Cafe Corazon for helping to organize this event!
      $20K Goal
      This week we are mailing our Spring Appeal letter to follow-up on the letter I sent last December announcing Historic Milwaukee's goal to raise $20,000 through donations from Members and Friends.
      Since that time 70 Members have contributed a total of $6,000. Please help us raise the remaining $14,000. You can donate right now by clicking here. All donors will be recognized in an upcoming issue of our print publication, Echo.
      HMI deserves your financial investment. Our Members and Volunteers truly fuel and regenerate HMI year in and year out. For instance, I've been working with Guide George Wagner on building a business plan for Doors Open Milwaukee, an exiting project that will explore and celebrate Downtown Milwaukee for an entire weekend in the fall of 2011.
      I'd also like to bring attention to one of our new young leaders, Brandon Tschacher, who is the Chair of our Communications & Marketing Committee. Brandon is leading a team of 8 new volunteers to help raise the visibility of HMI. Their work has surpassed expectation and truly exemplifies the spirit of team work and volunteerism.
      Help to make sure the great work of George, Brandon, and all who volunteer for HMI, continues into the future.

      Volunteer Spaces & Traces
      You will also be receiving in the mail a form to sign-up as a volunteer guide for Spaces & Traces. It is easy, fun, and a great way to get more involved. You'll also learn quite a bit about Brewers' Hill & The Beerline. You can sign-up right now to become a volunteer guide by clicking here.

      Panel Discussions
      More good news, our February 25th Panel Discussion on Municipal Landmark Ordinances set record attendance! Thanks again to our panelists Paul Jakubovich, Alderman Bob Bauman, Mike D'Amato, and Jim Draeger.
      Join us on March 25th for a discussion on Neighborhood Revitalization and Milwaukee's Healthy Neighborhoods Initiative. Sign-up here.
      Hope to see you there!
      Anna-Marie Opgenorth
      Executive Director

      January 23, 2010

      Downtown's hidden treasure - By George Wagner

      George Wagner, a knowledgeable HMI guide who recently scripted our Six Points walking tour, is working hard to bring Doors Open to Milwaukee.

      Something like 10,000 people have moved into condominiums and apartments in the downtown Milwaukee area over the past 20 years. When these folks are asked why they live downtown, they say it's the proximity to great cultural and sports venues, a beautiful lakefront, terrific restaurants and exciting events.
      But they also mention something less tangible: They love the downtown ambience that juxtaposes the old and the new. They enjoy walking among and inside our downtown buildings. And that squares with a comment we volunteer tour guides at Historic Milwaukee Inc. often hear from visitors: "You have a lovely downtown with so many beautiful old buildings!"
      When we give these tours, what elicits the "oohs" and "aahs" are often the interior spaces: from the federal courthouse atrium to City Hall's light well; from the elegant Grain Exchange Room to the Pfister Hotel lobby; from the remodeled interior of St. John's Cathedral to the Plankinton Arcade.
      Yet many visitors to our downtown, from near or far, are unaware of the treasures that lay within. We have a great heritage inside those buildings.
      There are a number of cities in the United States and Canada that have inaugurated "Doors Open" weekends to highlight these kinds of hidden gems. Ten years ago, Toronto was the first. It was so successful that its province started Doors Open Ontario two years later. New York City followed suit. Two years ago, I visited Denver to investigate its program and came back excited and convinced that Milwaukee could do the same. These cities' Doors Open events continue to expand to include neighborhoods outside of their centers. We could do likewise.
      Here's how it works. Every year, on a weekend in the spring or fall, about a hundred buildings open up to the public free of charge. Building owners are invited to open their doors, deciding how much of their building they want to showcase. Some feel comfortable allowing the public into their lobby; others have their staff present tours of the building. Visitors decide which sites they want to check out on their own schedule. In addition, these two-day events typically include dozens of "expert tours" that are ticketed but free and open on a first-come basis.
      What kinds of buildings are featured? Churches, office buildings, theaters, museums, libraries, hotels, condominiums, government buildings, shops, athletic facilities, architectural firms, banks, restaurants, schools, clubs and historic homes. From belfries to boardrooms, from the newest to the oldest, from the ornate to the simple, from original use to total do-over.
      Whether you want to climb City Hall's bell tower, peek into luxury condos, examine the Grohmann Museum's rooftop sculptures up close or find out about downtown's "green hotels," a Doors Open program could make that happen.
      In a sense, such an event could be a kind of homecoming for our own area residents. It's returning to the roots of our parents and grandparents and understanding that what made Milwaukee great in the past continues today in its built environment.
      Historic Milwaukee Inc. is working to make this event a reality here. Preliminary plans envision Doors Open Milwaukee for September 2011.
      It's time to show off our downtown's wonderful architectural heritage, both outside and in.

      George Wagner of Milwaukee is a retired librarian. E-mail

      January 13, 2010

      A View of Our City in Three Acts

      A View of Our City in Three Acts
      Historic Milwaukee’s 2010 Panel Discussion Series
      Sponsored by Reinhart, Boerner, Van Deuren s.c.
      Moderated by Real Estate Attorney Bruce Block

      Registration after the jump!

      Location: 1000 North Water St., 21st floor
      All discussions begin at 7PM and are preceded by an optional 6PM Cocktail Hour
      (admission sold separately)
      Enjoy dazzling views with an open bar and heavy hor d’oeuvres. Meet and mingle with the panelists. Reservations Limited!

      Prices for Panel Discussions
      $10 ea. for HMI, FUEL, Next Gen. Members / $25 for series
      $15 ea. for Non Members / $40 for series
      $7 ea. for University Students

      Prices for Cocktail Hour
      $15 ea. for HMI, FUEL, Next Gen. Members / $40 for series
      $20 ea. for Non Members / $55 for series

      Act I: Thursday, February 25th
      What is Historic?! Historic preservation and designation under municipal landmark ordinances.

      Alderman Robert Bauman - 6th District, Member of Milwaukee’s Historic Preservation Commission
      Jim Draeger - Architectural Historian for the Wisconsin Historical Society
      Paul Jakubovich - Preservation Planner for the City of Milwaukee

      January 6, 2010

      Spaces & Traces Press Release

      For Immediate Release

      A Milwaukee Tradition Takes on Historic Brewers Hill and Beerline Neighborhoods
      Historic Milwaukee, Inc’s Spaces & Traces annual event highlights the architecture and history of these unique neighborhoods

      MILWAUKEE, WI – (May 2010) Historic Milwaukee, Inc (HMI) announces the 29th annual Spaces &Traces educational and cultural event taking place Saturday, May 15. Guided walking tours and lectures through the Historic Brewers Hill and Beerline neighborhoods will highlight their history, architecture and evolution.

      The Historic Brewers Hill and Beerline neighborhoods, located north of Downtown Milwaukee, will be featured for the first time on the Spaces & Traces tour of exquisite neighborhoods. This annual spring open house is one of 2 major fundraising events that subsidize the other 500 HMI tours/events throughout the year, while offering a gift for posterity to the featured neighborhood. 

      2010 Spaces & Traces will run from 9am to 5pm. Tickets can be bought in advance at the HMI Office, Winkie’s Variety Store and Milwaukee Area Boston Stores for $20/HMI members and $25/Non-members. On the day of, tickets will cost $25/HMI members and $30/Non-members. Tune into HMI’s Facebook and Twitter pages for contests and promotions.

      2010 Spaces & Traces is sponsored by: TBD.

      HMI is recognized as a leader in creating awareness of and commitment to Milwaukee’s history and the preservation of its built environment. This is done through innovative, responsive programs and strong community, corporate and civic alliances. HMI seeks to grow a sense of community through the advocacy and education of Milwaukee’s rich past and prospering future.

      Visit for more details.
      And For More Information:
      Anna-Marie Opgenorth
      Historic Milwaukee, Inc.
      Phone: (414) 277–7795 

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