Downtown's top lobbies

What is it that makes a building's lobby truly breathtaking? Is it historic architecture? Impeccable interior decorating? Pure majestic size? Whatever it is, Milwaukee has plenty of it. Throughout downtown, there are dozens of lobbies worth stopping in your tracks to behold. Here are just a few, handpicked by someone who knows downtown inside and out, Public Service Ambassador Richard Earle.

Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21, presents a few of downtown Milwaukee's best:

Lobbies

Milwaukee Art Museum
The perfect first impression for Milwaukee's newest pride and joy located at 700 N. Art Museum Drive.

Northwestern Mutual
This lobby at 720 E. Wisconsin Ave. is a classic Greek Corinthian treatment. The patterned marble floor, Italian marble ceiling and ornamental light fixtures are all original. All metal furnishings in the lobby area are of stationary bronze, including the original handrails, large floor lamps with goat's head designs (and hooves at the bases) and the doors leading to offices in the east and west wings.

Milwaukee Public Library
With its hand-laid mosaic tile floor and rotunda dome complete with 120 light bulbs (changed by library staff from a cat walk between the inner and outer dome), you haven't experienced Milwaukee until you've seen this lobby at 814 W. Wisconsin Ave.

We Energies Public Service Building
This building was once the largest terminal for the first electric inter-city passenger trains in the United States (trains entered the east end on Second St. and exited on the west end on Third St.).

The lobby of this building served as an elegant waiting room for the trains, while offices were housed on the upper floors. Since, the building has been renovated and restored to its original elegance with its mosaic tile floor, green car barn doors (reproductions of the original doors through which inter-city cars and buses once passed) and cast-iron grand staircase. 231 W. Michigan St.

St. John's Cathedral
Newly renovated and completely awe-inspiring at 802 N. Jackson St.

The Pfister Hotel
A stately testament to Milwaukee's rich history and a showcase for the hotel's extensive art collection at 424 E. Wisconsin Ave.

The Pabst Theater
The vintage lobby looks almost exactly the same as it did when it was finished in 1895. Marble accents the floors, columns and railings. In fact, the Italian white marble used on the grand staircase came from the same quarry as the marble Michelangelo used to sculpt "David." Right off the lobby, the newly finished Cudahy's Irish Pub displays historic iron and woodwork. 144 E. Wells St.

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