Urban spelunking


You can own one of Milwaukee's oldest houses

Published Aug. 11, 2020

One of the city's oldest houses is about to go on the market, which means you could own and live in a little piece of Milwaukee history. But just how old is it? That's hard to say.


Urban Spelunking: Revisiting the Arts @ Large / Patrick Cudahy building

Published Aug. 11, 2020

Recently, I went back for a look at the finished Arts @ Large headquarters, completed last summer, and what an overhaul and new life the building at 1100 S. 5th St. �" built as a retail and apartment building for meat magnate Patrick Cudahy in 1891 �" has gotten.


Urban spelunking: St. James 1868 revisit

Published Aug. 4, 2020

Just as Katie Crowle was reaching the finish line of a massive renovation project to transform an 1868 church into a wedding and events venue, the coronavirus pandemic hit Milwaukee.


WATCH: New owners giving Schlitz Park a makeover

Published Aug. 3, 2020

A year after Crestlight Capital and TPG Real Estate bought Schlitz Park from the Grunau and Sampson families - who purchased the property in 1983 af the brewery had ceased operations there and converted it into an office park - the 32-acre site is getting a refresh.


Urban spelunking: Inside UWM's 1920s Alumni House, now for sale

Published July 31, 2020

The university has listed the Alumni House, 3230 E. Kenwood Blvd., for sale. The three-strory, 25,553-square-foot Tudor Revival home, with 14 bedrooms and 175 feet of lake frontage on its 3.9-acre property is assessed at $1.93 million.


Urban spelunking: Koeffler House / Dubbel Dutch revisit

Published July 27, 2020

When the new owners showed me around the Koeffler/Baumgarten double house, 817-9 N. Marshall St., last autumn and told me the 1898 home would be ready to open as a hotel in advance of this summer�TMs Democratic National Convention, I was a little skeptical. But they've done it, COVID and all.


Urban spelunking: Washington County courthouse & jail

Published July 21, 2020

With all due respect to the striking Museum of Wisconsin Art and the many treasures that make West Bend a great place to geek out on architecture, it is the 1889 Washington County Courthouse that is the true gem of the county seat.


Urban spelunking: Haas' colossal Downtown mural

Published June 29, 2020

Though it's only been mentioned in passing during the exciting renovation of the 1930 Warner Grand Theater into the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's new home and performance venue, the 1981 mural on the east side of the building's tower will get a much-needed facelift as part of the massive project.


Urban spelunking: Milwaukee's vintage police call boxes

Published June 22, 2020

Police call boxes that once stood sentinel on street corners all across Milwaukee have been such a part of the landscape for so long that many people don't even notice them. But they're a treasure, reminding us of the continuity of city life here and of a time when we wanted things to not only work well but to look good.


Hidden gem: Fluid on 2nd

Published June 5, 2020

You may have noticed that after two decades, Fluid on 2nd, 819 S. 2nd St., in Walker's Point, recently changed its logo. That new design also gave owner Bill Wardlow inspiration for a theme for this year's holiday decor in the tavern, which he describes as, "a progressive gay bar ... open to everyone."


Urban spelunking: Acts Housing / former St. Michael's convent

Published June 2, 2020

You can see the soaring St. Michael's Catholic Church steeple - the second-tallest in town - from everywhere in its West Side neighborhood. But get close and at least as striking as the church is the 1885 former convent at 2414 W. Vliet St., now home to Acts Housing.


Urban spelunking: Whitehead pet monument and horse fountain

Published May 27, 2020

Do you ever wonder how many cities have a rather centrally located private pet cemetery topped with a public monument by a respected artist, the unveiling of which was attended by the mayor? Well, we know one for sure: Milwaukee.