Architecture in Milwaukee

Locating resources about Milwaukee's architecture can be fascinating and frustrating. While there are a substantial number of resources available, not all intriguing or noteworthy buildings have been studied or have had materials about them written and published. Materials are often found as a chapter or section within resources of more general nature, e.g., a specific building may be found in a chapter of a book on Milwaukee or Wisconsin history or on a type of building in the Midwest. The researcher will locate that information only by searching for and checking the general source and will not find the information by a more specific search, e.g., Smith building. Within the UWM Libraries, copies of books relating to Milwaukee are generally located in Archives (ARC), Special Collections (SPL), the reference collection (REF), the American Geographical Society Library (AGSL), or the general stacks collections (gns).


Books on the history of Milwaukee, southeastern Wisconsin, or Wisconsin may be good general background resources on architecture and architectural styles. Bibliographies available in print or online resources are invaluable.
Making of Milwaukee. (1999)
    F 589 .M64 G87x 1999     (ARC, REF, AGSL, gns)

Making of Milwaukee. (2006)
DVD videotapes based on the book; check PantherCat for Media holdings.

Milwaukee: at the Gathering of the Waters. (1981)
    F 589 .M6 A54x     (ARC, SPL, REF, gns)

Milwaukee: the History of a City. (1965 c1948)
    F 589 .M6 S8 1965     (gns)
    F 589 .M6 S8 (1948)     (ARC, AGSL, REF, gns)

Wisconsin's Past and Present: a Historical Atlas. (1998)
    (REF, gns) F 581 .W57 1998
    (AGSL-Atlas) At.893 B-1998
    (CCM) 977.5 W8114w


Searching PantherCat,the online catalog will retrieve the book resources held at the UWM Libraries. Specific subject headings may vary; a "words anywhere" search may be more useful. Use selected terms combined with "and" to find resources. Among the most applicable search terms would be:
milwaukee and architecture             milwaukee and dwellings
milwaukee and buildings                 milwaukee and history

Wisconsin or any other geographic place desired could replace "milwaukee" in the searches, and searches should not be limited to those terms. Terms such as "churches", "structures", etc., may also produce results. Specific names (of buildings, people, etc.) may also be used in a search. For more information, ask at the AskaLibrarian Desk or in the Milwaukee Urban Archives.

Specialized materials, including theses, locally published documents, clipping files, archival papers, and articles from local-interest periodicals, are often found in bibliographies, and are not readily found through standard indexes or catalogs.

The following represents a sampling of the materials available in the UWM Libraries, including UWM theses. Because of the high demand, many of the circulating titles may be already checked out. The Milwaukee Urban Archives, Special Collections, and the reference collection may have many of the titles; these collections are all non-circulating. Titles available in a single location have that designated as part of the call number; the other titles have multiple locations.
Art Work of Milwaukee. 1895.(ARC) F 589 .M6 A7x
(SPL) F 589 .M6 A7x 1895b
Built in Milwaukee: an Architectural View of the City. 1981?NA 735 .M45 B8x
Downtown Building Survey, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 1977.(ARC) NA 735 .M45 D67x 1977
Downtown Milwaukee: Seven Walking Tours of Historic Buildings and Places. 1978.F 589 .M6 L38x
Expansion of an Industrial City: Milwaukee 1880-1910, by Roger Simon. 1971. (UW Doctoral dissertation)F 589 .M6 S45x
50 Years of Architecture: being an accounting of sorts on the work done in half a century by a father and his sons: the name of these men is Eschweiler: they have been builders all their lives. 1943.NA 2610 .D35
Frank Lloyd Wright--American System--Built Homes in Milwaukee. 1985.NA 7238 .M53 M36 1985
Germania Building: a Milwaukee Landmark Restored: the Chronicle of an Historic Office Building. 1982.F 589 .M68 G479 1982
Greetings from Milwaukee.
Heritage Guidebook: Landmarks and Historical Sites in Southeastern Wisconsin. 1976; 1989F 582 .Z55x
(REF) F 582 .Z55 1989
Immigrants and House Form in Northeast Milwaukee, by Craig Reisser. 1977. (Thesis)(gns) G 10000 .R378
Look up, Milwaukee: Eastside/Westside, all Around Downtown: a descriptive and pictorial display of selected architectural scenery. 1979.NA 735 .M45 K6x
Magnificent Milwaukee: Architectural Treasures, 1850-1920. 1987.NA 7238 .M53 Z56 1987
Milwaukee Architecture: a Guide to Notable Buildings. 1995.NA 735 .M45 K68 1995      
Milwaukee, a Souvenir Album. 1907.(ARC) F 589 .M643 M55x 1907
Milwaukee Illustrated: Panoramic and Bird's-eye Views of a Midwestern Metropolis, 1844-1908. 1978.NE 954 .2 .B43
Milwaukee Landmarks. 1982.NA 735 .M45 M54x 1982
Milwaukee Landmarks. 1979repr.
Milwaukee Landmarks; an Architectural Heritage, 1850-1950
NA 735 .M45 P47 1979
(compact shelving) D 6 .M5 #9
Milwaukee Movie Palaces. 1986.PN 1993 .5 .U814 W53 1986
Milwaukee Neighborhoods: Photos and Maps 1885-1992
Milwaukee Sketchbook, text and captions by Fran Bauer; paintings by students at The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. 2005.NA 735.M45 B34x 2005
Milwaukee's early architecture. 2010.(ARC) NA 735.M45 D36 2010
Neighborhood Recovery: a Development Model for Walker's Point-West, by Ignacio Correa-Oritz. 1992. (Thesis)(gns) NA 9999 .C824
North Point Historic Districts, Milwaukee. 1981.NA 7238 .M53 M37
Old Milwaukee: a Historic Tour in Picture Postcards. 1988.F 589 .M643 F55 1988
Outdoor Sculpture in Milwaukee: a Cultural and Historical Guidebook. 1995.NB 235 .M5 B83 1995
Places of Worship - Milwaukee. 1977.NA 5235 .M5x Y6
Prairie School Architecture in Milwaukee: Russell Barr Williamson, by Juanita Ellias. 1974. (Thesis)N 10000 .E46
SARUP in the city 2: Milwaukee-focused projects, by students in the UWM School of Architecture and Urban Planning; [edited by Mark Sauer]. 2010.(AGS) NA 9127.M5 U55x 2010
Silent city: a History of Forest Home Cemetary. 2000.F 589 .M662 F67x 2000
Silver screens: a pictorial history of Milwaukee's movie theaters. 2007.(ARC) PN 1993 .5 .U814 W55 2007
Terry & Clas; Alfred C. Clas; Clas, Shepherd and Clas; Clas & Clas, Inc., 1890-1936. 190?(ARC) NA 7235 .W6 C54x
UWM: a Guide to Campus Buildings, 1997.LD 6163 .A4x 1997


"American System-Built homes: "the primary landmark,"" by Jack Holzhueter, Mike Lilek, and Gail Fox.
    Frank Lloyd Wright quarterly, 2010 Summer, v.21, n.3, p.4-25
"Architect Pfaller built both Buildings and Character," by Jennie Tunkiecz.
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 25, 2000
    (MF) AN 06
"Easy rider [Harley-Davidson Museum]," by Mimi Zeiger.
    Architectural Lighting 2009 Jan.-Feb., v.22, n.1, p.42-47
    available full text online: Resources A-Z: ABI / Inform
"An icon [Milwaukee Art Museum]," by Joseph Giovannini
    Architecture, v.91, n.2, p.52-61, February 2002
    NA 1 .A326
    available full text online: Resources A-Z: Academic Search
"Milwaukee Journal Building," by Firrel J. Frerrenz
    American Architect, v. 128, November 20, 1925
    (MF) AP 1 .Ser 3 Reel 643-648
"Not Quite," by Junita Ellias, Stanley Mallach, and Pegi Taylor
    Milwaukee Magazine, October, 1992
    (ARC) F 589 .M6 M52x
"Old Milwaukee's Yankee Hill," by William George Bruce
    Wisconsin Magazine of History, v. 30, March, 1947
    F 576 .W7
"What will Milwaukee's architectural future look like?," by James W. Shields.
    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 26, 2010

Journal articles may be located through a variety of indexes, e.g., Reader's Guide Full Text, Art Index/Art Abstracts, Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, and the index for newspapers, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, Newspaper Source Plus. Ask at the RIS AskaLibrarian Desk or in Archives for assistance.


Illustrated Historical Atlas of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. 1876.
(AGSL) At 863-c .M54 B-1876

For general maps, search the online catalog, PantherCat, for keywords "milwaukee and maps." Other valuable resources are fire and insurance maps from the Sanborn and Perris Map companies; check for holdings in the AGS Library, third floor, east wing. Some Sanborn maps for Wisconsin are available online: Digital Sanborn Maps (Wisconsin),; access from the UWM Libraries PantherCat


For more information about materials related to the Milwaukee area, contact:

  • Milwaukee County Historical Society
    910 N. Old World 3rd Street, Milwaukee, WI 53203

  • Milwaukee Public Library
    814 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53233
    The Wisconsin Architectural Archives is a collection of local materials located in the Milwaukee Public Library (MPL). Hours are limited; please call ahead to use these resources. MPL also has other local materials in the regular collection.

  • Wisconsin Historical Society
    816 State Street, Madison, WI 53706
    The Wisconsin Historical Society is a major repository for state history and archival resources. Online resources include an index of local history and biographical articles from state newspapers.

    Built in America: Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record
    Frank Lloyd Wright in Wisconsin  
    Historic Milwaukee, Inc.
    Milwaukee Architecture
    Milwaukee County Historical Society, Milwaukee County Historical Center Research Library
    MKE Books: Read about Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
    My Milwaukee Home
    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Buildings blueprint Collection, 1903-1985
    search finding aids for "buildings blueprint"
    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Business and Financial Services. Office of Budget and Planning.
    Budget planning reports may include a basic floor plan of individual buildings.

    1 March 2011

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