exterior door at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed
Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Wauwatosa displays
This weekend, venues in and around Milwaukee - many rarely
accessible to the public - will welcome visitors at no cost.
Some will be open Saturday, others Sunday, still others both
the focus of Doors Open Milwaukee, a program put on each year
by Historic Milwaukee Inc., a nonprofit whose mission is to
heighten awareness of Milwaukee’s history, architecture and
year’s DOM, the sixth, will also include walking tours.
Milwaukee is proud to offer this two-day annual event to the
public,” said DOM program manager Grace Fuhr.
representing the city and a few of its suburbs range,
according to DOM, “from churches to office buildings,
theaters to worksites, museums to hotels” - about 165
locations in all.
of the sites, divided into several categories, are described
in subsequent paragraphs. Several others are mentioned
walking tours, each requiring advance purchase of a $10
ticket, are cited in the final segment below. Tickets will be
required at certain free sites as well.
Greek Orthodox Church, 9400 W. Congress St., Wauwatosa.
The 1961 church, futuristic-looking yet
resembling Turkey’s ancient Hagia Sophia, was
Frank Lloyd Wright’s last major project. (Another
suburban Wauwatosa church, Christ King Catholic, notable
for its tunnel system, is also a DOM venue, at 2604 N.
of St. Josaphat, 2333 S. 6th St. Anyone who hasn’t
visited the city’s largest Catholic church should
certainly do so - and why not this weekend? Modeled on St.
Peter’s in Rome and constructed from the remnants of a
razed Chicago federal building, St. Josaphat’s boasts
one of the world’s largest domes and an interior of
Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1209 N. Broadway. The
mother church (1901) of the Wisconsin Lutheran Synod,
designed by Armin Koch, will have musicians performing
Presbyterian Church, 1100 N. Astor St. Immanuel has
the distinction of being the oldest parish in Milwaukee. A
highlight of the 1875 limestone church (which was recently
added to): four Tiffany stained glass windows.
Society of Milwaukee, 4707 S. 13th St. This edifice,
converted from a public school and expanded, is a mosque
and religious school complete with office facilities - and
is the largest Islamic structure in Wisconsin.
Joan of Arc Chapel, 1415 W. Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee’s
oldest building at six centuries of age, the now regularly
used chapel was donated and shipped piecemeal to the
Marquette University campus 50-odd years ago. Legend has
it the chapel’s namesake knelt in prayer on one of its
Museum of Yesteryear, 839 N. 11th St. Rooms in this
repository, which focuses on the period between the two
World Wars, replicate stores and other businesses; there
are changing exhibits, too. At least a portion of the
building dates back almost to the Civil War.
Museum, 400 W. Canal St. This place has been called
the city’s “number-one attraction.”
Fire Museum, 1615 W. Oklahoma Ave. The building’s
holdings include fire trucks from the era of its
construction as a fire station (1927), plus the
department’s original 1947 Cadillac ambulance. Visitors
will have guided or self-directed tour options. (The site
at which Milwaukee’s firefighters and police are
trained, the Safety Academy at 6680 N. Teutonia Ave., will
receive guests on Saturday.)
Public Museum, 800 W. Wells St. This nationally known
natural history museum will be offering a free program in
its Soref Planetarium.
School of Engineering Grohmann Museum, 1000 N. Broadway.
The Grohmann, which boasts a rooftop sculpture garden,
traces “the evolution of work from farming and mining to
steel production and glassblowing.” Its artwork dates to
the 16th century.
Black Historical Society, 2620 W. Center St. Visitors
will be able to take in a PowerPoint presentation on the
state’s African-American history from 1760.
unique rooftop pool and sundeck can be seen at the
Catholic Financial Life building in downtown Milwaukee
as part of Doors Open Milwaukee
Hall, 7525 W. Greenfield Ave. Visitors will be able to
go on the roof for “unique views of downtown West Allis
and the State Fair grounds” and to sit in the council
chambers chair of the mayor of Milwaukee’s largest
suburb and Wisconsin’s 11th-largest city. (Milwaukee’s
City Hall, 200 W. Wells St., is a DOM site as well.)
Market, 6501 W. National Ave. The West Allis edition
is the metro area’s largest open-air market and longest
continuously run farmers market in Wisconsin.
Administration Building, 7332 W. National Ave. Visitors
to this vintage 1930 fire department headquarters building
will also have the opportunity to tour the working
firehouse next door.
School, 8405 W. National Ave. A school no longer, this
cream city brick structure once simultaneously
served elementary and high school students.
Dioramas abound in the 125-year-old building, whose
artifacts include a doll collection, an antiquated voting
machine and a player piano that patrons are welcome to
Studios, 1500 S. 73rd St. This one-time mortuary
includes a theater, gallery and studio space. An abstract
photography exhibit will be in progress, and exhibitor
Rosie Hartman will be present.
Allis Lodge No. 291, 7515 W. National Ave. Dating back
86 years, this Masonic Temple continues to serve the
oldest fraternal organization in the United States.
Red Cross, 2600 W. Wisconsin Ave. Those who visit,
Fuhr said, “will experience a day in the life of a
‘Red Crosser’ and discover “what it’s like to be
part of the Disaster Action Team.”
Municipal Building, 4001 S. 6th St. Named for a
colorful and controversial Milwaukee alderman and
originally the water tower and offices for the old Town of
Lake, this edifice offers an arresting view of
of Milwaukee/Waukesha County Materials Recovery Facility,
1401 W. Mount Vernon Ave. Visitors will see
“recyclables and the machinery that prepares them for
sale.” The facility that represents a partnership
between neighboring governments will be closed Sunday.
Regency Milwaukee/Polaris, 333 W. Kilbourn Ave.
Recently reopened, Polaris has been renamed VUE. It is the
city’s sole rotating rooftop restaurant.
- WMSE Radio, 820 N. Milwaukee St. Situated in Krueger
Hall, former site of a tire store, this college station
with its volunteer DJs provides an eclectic mixture of
music all day, every day.
Theater, 144 E. Wells St. This ornate performance
space from 1895 is among the oldest “continually
operated” playhouses in the country.
Shrine Center, 3000 W. Wisconsin Ave. If St.
Josaphat’s is Milwaukee’s version of St. Peter’s
Basilica, the Shrine Center is the city’s answer to
India’s Taj Mahal. Drinks and entertainment will be
Street. Saturday and Sunday, 4 p.m; 60 minutes. Meet
at St. Hedwig’s Church at North Humboldt Boulevard and
East Brady Street. The neighborhood was once Milwaukee’s
answer to San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury.
Sunday, 1:30 p.m.; 75 minutes. Meet at the Central
Library, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave. The former Pabst brewery is
among this old West Side walk’s stops.
Valley. Saturday, 9 a.m.; 90 minutes. Meet in the park
in front of Central Wire, 3700 W. Milwaukee Road.
Participants may well hear that, “when Milwaukee was the
Machine Shop of the World, the Menomonee Valley was its
Photo. Saturday, 10 a.m.; 120 minutes. Meet at 172 N.
Broadway. Historical information, along with photography
tips, will be shared during a stroll that will wind up at
Points. Sunday, 1
p.m.; 90 minutes. Meet in the parking lot of Beans &
Barley, 1901 E. North Ave. This East Side tour’s patrons
will see, among other things, what once was “a Mafia
don’s headquarters.” For
ticket info, locations’ days and hours and additional
an insider’s input, we contacted Grace Fuhr, program
manager for Doors Open Milwaukee. Eschewing our term
“favorite,” Fuhr mentioned a handful of
“special” or “new” DOM sites, including
Fuhr cited Catholic Financial Life (1100 W. Wells St.),
Journey House Packer Field (South 22nd and West Pierce
streets), Milwaukee Blacksmith (518 E. Erie St.),
Milwaukee French Immersion School (2360 N. 52nd St.) and
Wadhams Gas Station (1647 S. 76th St., West Allis). In
an email, the program manager noted that, “for the
first time, visitors of the Catholic Financial Life
building will have an opportunity to visit the on-site
All Saints Chapel and view the city from
the building’s rooftop oasis (which includes)
the city’s only rooftop pool/sundeck.” She further
noted that the “synthetic turf football field was
donated to Journey House by the Green Bay Packers (who
had) used the field as part of their practice
facility” in bygone decades. Journey House is an
anti-poverty institution of which youth sports is one
labeled Milwaukee Blacksmith “the star of a (current)
History Channel show” and invited the public to
“come and watch as (a) blacksmith and his sons use the
same historical techniques” that produced the ironwork
decorating some of “Milwaukee’s finest buildings.”
She added that tourgoers at French Immersion - formerly
Steuben Junior High School - “will see original
artwork and details, including decorative tilework.”
West Allis filling station, Fuhr wrote, “is a rare
reminder of a once prominent regional chain of over 100
pagoda gas stations. Roadside scholars consider
Milwaukee architect Alexander Eschweiler’s pagoda
design to be an iconic design in gas retailing history.
(The building) contains historical displays (and) will
be open to the public for the first time since 1978.”
Wisconsin Historical records Advisory Board is teaming
with DOM this year “to showcase archival collections
(on Saturday) that are not otherwise open to the
public,” Fuhr said. For an archives list: http://www.doorsopenmilwaukee.org/open-archives/
said that a block party featuring food trucks, music and
children’s activities has been with DOM, on East
Michigan Street between North Water and North Broadway
streets. She added that DOM “will feature music
performed by Access Contemporary Music.” For more