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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014

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Let's bring back a piece of Brew City history, Milwaukee!
Let's bring back a piece of Brew City history, Milwaukee!

How can we bring Koch's diaries back home?

If you read my meanderings on historic Milwaukee buildings, then you know who Henry Koch is.

Born in Germany, Koch is among the most influential architects in Milwaukee history. In addition to many great public schools like Golda Meir and Eighth Street Schools, Koch designed such buildings at City Hall, The Pfister, Turner Hall, Gesu Church at Marquette, the newly refurbished Wells Building and the Ward Theater at the V.A.

During the Civil War, Koch served as a draftsman under Gen. Philip Sheridan.

While researching Koch, who died in Milwaukee in 1910, I discovered that a Canadian bookseller is offering Koch's Civil War diaries for sale for $12,000. The manuscript is described, in part, as:

"Seven notebooks in full brown calf, dated between November 1863 and October 1866. ... The notebooks contain narratives and numerous hand-drawn maps mostly in Virginia. ... Various positions of Sheridan's headquarters (May 30-31, 1864 and Sept. 23, 1864) are also identified. ...Among the maps are those showing the location of the Battle of Five Forks, (April 1, 1865. Charles Town in present day West Virginia, with map references to John Brown. Harper's Ferry is only 11 miles away to the Northeast. As well Appomattox Courthouse with a sketch of the McLean House where Lee surrendered to Grant."

If that doesn't sound like a page – or seven notebooks – of Milwaukee history, then consider that ...

"The final pages of the last notebook contain his architectural sketches and made shortly after he returned from the war to Milwaukee."

Alright, Milwaukee, how can we raise $12,000 to bring these notebooks home to Koch's adopted American hometown?

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