Milwaukee City Hall

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Milwaukee City Hall
Milwaukee City Hall, Wisconsin.jpg
Record height
Tallest in United States from 1895 to 1899[I]
Preceded by Manhattan Life Insurance Building
Surpassed by Park Row Building
General information
Type Municipal office
Architectural style Flemish Renaissance Revival
Location 200 E. Wells St. Milwaukee, United States
Completed 1895
Roof 353 ft (108 m)
Technical details
Floor count 15

The Milwaukee City Hall is in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States, it was finished in 1895,[2] at which time it was the third tallest structure in the United States. The city hall's bell tower, at 353 feet (108 m), made it the third tallest structure in the nation, behind the Washington Monument and Philadelphia City Hall. The Hall was Milwaukee's tallest building until completion of the First Wisconsin Center in 1973.


Milwaukee City Hall was designed by architect Henry C. Koch in the Flemish Renaissance Revival style,[2][3] based on both German precedent (for example, the Hamburg Rathaus or city hall), and local examples (the Pabst Building, demolished in 1981). Due to Milwaukee's historic German immigrant population, many of the surrounding buildings mirror this design, the foundation consists of 2,584 white pine piles that were driven into the marshy land surrounding the Milwaukee River.[4] The upper part of the tower was rebuilt after a fire in October 1929.[3]

The bell in City Hall was named after Solomon Juneau, Milwaukee's first mayor, it was designed and crafted by the Campbells, who were early pioneers in creating diving chambers and suits near the Great Lakes area during that time.


Milwaukee City Hall
Milwaukee City Hall Old Public Domain Photo.jpg
City Hall in 1901
Location 200 E. Wells St. Milwaukee, United States
NRHP reference # 73000085[5]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP March 14, 1973
Designated NHL April 5, 2005[6]

City Hall was the marketing symbol of Milwaukee until the completion of the Calatrava wing of the Milwaukee Art Museum in 2001, but the bell tower continues to be used as a municipal icon and in some traffic and parking signs. Formerly the tower had a Welcome Milwaukee Visitors message on the front three sides; this was one of the iconic images of the opening sequence for locally-set Laverne & Shirley.

From 2006 to 2008, the entire building was renovated, including a complete dis-assembly and reassembly of the bell tower, by J. P. Cullen & Sons, Inc., a construction manager and general contractor headquartered in Janesville, Wisconsin.[7] Before the restoration began, the bell was rung rarely because of seismic concerns, and in the last few years an assembly of scaffolds with protective coverings had been in place around the building to protect pedestrians from falling stone and brickwork, the quality of the US$60,000,000 restoration was the subject of a lawsuit filed by the city of Milwaukee in 2012 against various parties involved in the work.[2]

City Hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, and declared a National Historic Landmark in 2005.[2]

Panorama of Milwaukee with City Hall at front center, ca. 1898

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Milwaukee City Hall at Emporis
  2. ^ a b c d Porter, Caroline; Keeling, Ben (2013-03-25). "Renovation of City Hall Prompts Milwaukee to Sue". The Wall Street Journal (paper). p. A6. 
  3. ^ a b A brief history of City Hall
  4. ^ Archived from the original on January 6, 2009. Retrieved April 30, 2009.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  6. ^ "Milwaukee City Hall". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-30. 
  7. ^

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Manhattan Life Insurance Building
Tallest building in the United States
Succeeded by
Park Row Building
Preceded by
Illinois State Capitol
Tallest building in the United States outside of New York City
Succeeded by
Philadelphia City Hall
Preceded by
Pabst Building
Tallest Building in Wisconsin
Succeeded by
U.S. Bank Center
Preceded by
Chase Tower
2nd Tallest building in Milwaukee
Succeeded by
411 East Wisconsin Center

Coordinates: 43°02′30″N 87°54′35″W / 43.0417°N 87.9098°W / 43.0417; -87.9098