Once you start noticing them, you quickly realize that Milwaukee is full of beautiful architectural arches.
From the ribs of the Milwaukee Art Museum, to the main entrance to City Hall to the supports in the hall atop Alexander Eschweiler’s administration building out on the County Grounds, there are graceful arches, regal arches, imposing arches all over this town.
We’re teaming with Historic Milwaukee Inc. on a photo contest to find the best pictures of Milwaukee’s finest arches – recognizable (like City Hall’s, for example) or not. Post your images to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, using the hashtag #MKEarches and HMI executive director Stacy Swadish Kosmatka and I will select the best photo (according to us) on Friday, Sept. 4.
The winner will receive a prize package from Historic Milwaukee that includes a free one-year membership to HMI – which includes free access to all regularly scheduled walking tours – a Doors Open Milwaukee pint glass, a Doors Open patch and bumper sticker and six passes valid for any 2015 HMI walking tour, to share with your friends and family.
To get you in the spirit, here are some of my favorites:
Milwaukee City Hall, 200 E. Wells St.
Master architect Henry Koch was kind enough to give us not one, but three majestic and ornately decorated arches to welcome us to the halls of the city government.
American Biscuit & Manufacturing Building, 222 E. Erie St.
Architects Crane and Barkhausen created this broad, stone-bordered arch in the Third Ward in 1891.
Benjamin Parker House, 712 E. Wells St.
Built in 1892, this quirky Queen Anne arch – over a gently curving staircase – is one of the more eclectic examples you’ll find in town. The cream city brick makes it even more lovely.
William George Bruce House, 1137 S. 3rd St.
Architect A.C. Selms built this limestone Queen Anne house in Walker’s Point in 1896 for Bruce, a Milwaukee Board of School Directors member and the founder of the Bruce Publishing Co. The fan light is a nice touch.
Graham Row, 1501-07 N. Marshall St.
Named for the builder of the row of three townhouses – John Graham – this stunning set of Romanesque Revival townhouses was built in 1880 (with additions seven years later) and featured a brick arched entry to each home.
Friedmann Row, 1537-45 N. Cass St.
Respected architect – and erstwhile Edward Townsend Mix partner – Walter Holbrook designed what just might be my favorite arches on this absolutely gorgeous row of townhouses, for real estate investor and men’s clothier Ignatius Friedmann in 1891. The bulbous cream city brick horseshoe arches are each topped with a decorative bit of terra cotta that adds a touch of elegance to an already eye-catching architectural detail.
Clara and Charles S. Donges House, 2619 W. State St.
Hatmaker (and seller of gloves to burn and some that don’t burn) Charles Donges hired architects Andree and Jacobi to design this clapboard Queen Anne stunner on 26th and State Streets in 1889, which boasts a fetching arched window on the second floor. Note the row of tiny square panes that follows the curve of the arch. Winning.
Milwaukee County School of Agriculture, County Grounds
Alexander Eschweiler designed the complex of buildings, including the former admin building, which is being renovated right now. I love the Gothic arches he put up in the third floor hall. They remind me of the lower portion of the incredible scissor arches in Wells Cathedral in southwest England.
Milwaukee Art Museum, 750 N. Art Museum Dr.
Santiago Calatrava knows a few things about unique arches, like his fishbone-like ribs that form the structure of the Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.