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Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Loyalty Building and the Railway Exchange

Remember that reflection of The Loyalty Building in the windows of The Mackie Building?  The Loyalty was built in 1886 and is now home to the Hilton Garden Inn, and they've done a wonderful job restoring it. They finished the restoration and opened to the public in 2012.  It was originally home to Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company and served as their home office until 1914.

Print of The Loyalty from 1902
Built in the Richardsonian Romanesque style, the architect chose two gray granties from Maine for the lower part of the building exterior.

I found a cute blog post from someone who worked there when it was an office building. She had some pictures up from before the renovation. The beautiful marble stairway with the copper newels was just the same though!

But the best part is the 5 story grand atrium.  Can't see that from the outside!

Now on to the Railway Exchange Building, located on the southwest corner of Broadway and Wisconsin Avenues on the edge of the Third Ward and East Town, was  completed in 1900. Something about the simple Commercial design is still very appealing.  The building needs some repair, but is for lease!

The site for the building was selected for its excellent location by its owner, Henry Herman, and named the Herman Building.  He came to Milwaukee from Maine in 1865 and was a successful real estate developer.  It has been used continuously over the years for luxury professional offices with retail on the ground floor.  The Railway Exchange Building served as the local headquarters of the Chicago and Northwestern Railway from 1901–1945.

The Railway Exchange Building rests on a cast-iron foundation with a three-story base faced with terra-cotta in banded rustication tapering to a six-story shaft of adorned brick, rhythmically broken by double hung windows.  Take a look up to the top three floors to see the original, elaborately decorated terra-cotta Ionic columns and neoclassical ornament. It is Milwaukee’s first high rise steel-frame tower.

If you get to Milwaukee, get out on the streets downtown and take time to look at the architecture, both old and new.  We leave on Monday for the U.P., so this is it for architecture posts for awhile I'm sure!  I'm looking forward to the forecasted cool weather for hiking, biking, and our first attempts to kayak this year since my shoulder is doing so well.  Don't worry, we're bringing the tandem so I won't work it too hard.


  1. What a beautiful building! Too bad they don't pay such attention to detail today.

  2. Amazing building that and the inside is superb.

  3. The art deco buildings you photograph are stunning. Way better than the "modernistic" trend.