Doors Open Milwaukee provides an outlet for the inquisitive Sept. 20-21. No longer will you have to stand with your face pressed to windows, wondering what’s inside. It also means you won’t have to concoct a ruse – like  walking innocently past security guards in staged business attire and heels, acting like you know exactly […]

Doors Open Milwaukee provides an outlet for the inquisitive Sept. 20-21.

No longer will you have to stand with your face pressed to windows, wondering what’s inside. It also means you won’t have to concoct a ruse – like  walking innocently past security guards in staged business attire and heels, acting like you know exactly where you’re going while frantically searching for the elevator – just to take a look around the place. Flashback – Oklahoma City Petroleum Club in 2010 (a successful masquerade).

Doors Open Milwaukee offers more than 150 buildings, bars and parks for the public to tour this weekend, with many offering an in-house tour guide to answer questions and share historical tidbits. For some locations, tickets are required and can be picked up the day of the tour at 10 a.m. at Milwaukee City Hall (200 E. Wells St.) on a first-come, first-served basis.

This is the  fourth year DOM has hosted an architectural open house of the city. There are a slew of buildings and tours to pick from, so find an interminable list of those participating in the event here.

Personally, I am looking forward to the whole gamut, especially my first view of the Monarch Corporation, Railway Exchange Building and Watts Building. Below are a few of my personal favorites I suggest you check out.

Photo by Mark Wahl 


The Soldiers Home Historic District
5000 W. National Ave.

The Soldiers Home Historic District was built in 1867 and is one of the first locations of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The philosophy of creating the Soldiers Home was to create a safe haven “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan,” as President Lincoln stated in his second inaugural address. Restoration efforts at the site are ongoing. An outdoor walking tour of the grounds will be available for interested parties, but due to construction, no buildings will be open. 

Sunday: Tours at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets required.

Historic Germania Building
135 W. Wells St.

The Germania Building was the former home of the largest German-language publishing company in the country and was once the biggest office building in the city. During World War I, the four eye-catching, copper-clad domes above the building were known as “Kaiser’s Helmets” because of their resemblance to the pickelhaube, or German war helmets. In the midst of anti-German sentiment in 1918, the building’s name changed to the Brumder Building, and the three-ton Germania statue, once towering over the building’s entrance, seemingly disappeared overnight, symbolic of a heritage in hiding. Learn more about the Germania here

Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: Not open

Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery
901 W. Juneau Ave.

No need for explanation here. Pabst is (or was, depending on how you see things) a Milwaukee icon. Buildings at the old complex date back as far as 1858, and the refurbished copper kettles at the Brew House Inn and Suites are holdovers from the more prosperous days of the brewery. Renovation efforts are ongoing at Best Place with a new wedding venue developed, a boutique hotel in place next door and more ritzy condos soon to come nearby on the site. Check out our frigid day of exploration at the Pabst buildings here.

Saturday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 
Sunday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

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