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Monday, November 17, 2014

Hilton Milwaukee City Center, Bold and Brassy

I remind you to click on the photos below if it looks slightly out of focus, Blogger is acting up on me

The Hilton Milwaukee City Center was built in 1927 and was originally called the Schroeder Hotel.  It is 25 stories of Art Deco elegance built by architects Holabird and Roche in a prime downtown Milwaukee location.

It's another hotel that has undergone renovations, twice in the past as a matter of fact, and its original glamour continues on for a modern world to enjoy.  From the ground level there is a stairway up to the soaring main lobby area and I enjoyed every step.  The hotel was bought by Walter Schroeder, insurance magnate turned hotelier whose formal education only went as far as the eighth grade.  He  began working at age 14 as a clerk in the Office of the Milwaukee Register of Deeds where he learned about mortgages, deeds, and other legal instruments related to real estate. Shortly after beginning work at the deed office, Schroeder also began working as a staff member of the Milwaukee Daily Reporter. Schroeder began his own paper only two years later.

I don't think that kind of thing happens in this country anymore, do you?  Most 14 year olds aren't allowed to do anything, much less learn an actual career.  Pity, I personally think the world would be a more interesting place if teens spent a lot less time boxed up in a high school and spent a good part of their day interacting with the world and learning real skills.

Bold lines and symmetry were a big part of the Art Deco movement

Inquiring about the housekeeping practices at the front desk quickly revealed that they use a spray when they clean the rooms so I had to remove this beauty from my list of contenders.   The hotel has two ballrooms I didn't get to see...maybe another day.

For an idea of what this hotel must have been like in earlier days, I beg you to check out this link which shows a crowd in front of the hotel. You might have to adjust settings at top of page to zoom out and see the whole picture properly.  I would have paid to legally post it on the blog but it's $10 per picture from the Milwaukee Public Library.  Really?  They don't have a year on the photo but I'm guessing the late 1930's or early 1940's due to the clothing, the car, and the name of the orchestra on the marquee.  Also noticed quite a few guys in uniform in the crowd, and check out that brick street!

geometric shapes are another factor in Art Deco's look

I'm kind of all over the place topic-wise on this post, aren't I?  I had a lot of time on my hands this weekend, and in addition to all this research I finally got to the gym for the first time in 6 weeks and  finally hemmed the 3 pairs of pants I bought a month ago.  Still haven't gotten caught up on reading everyone's blogs though, what's up with that?  I gotta get my priorities straight.

Art Deco elevator doors - rich brass and nickel were popular accents

The elevators could take you all the way up to the Presidential Suite and for $1,500 a night you could sleep where President Kennedy slept.  Among some of the features you can find "secret bookcases" that the Secret Service discovered during a security sweep and a walk-in closet that used to be a safe.

Lots of brass ornament to complement the marble

I looked into the restaurants offered in the building to see if we'd want to return for a meal instead of a bed, but the fare wasn't what we'd be looking for.  I researched downtown restaurants thoroughly for our outing - we both are pretty particular about what we will and won't eat and I don't want to have to make last minute decisions that are costly and unsatisfying, not to mention that might lead to bickering!

Beautiful detail everywhere in the lobby

At the end of my short self-guided tour I stopped at the Starbucks and got a gingerbread latte to take in the car with me.  The service was great and I wondered what kind of coffee service was provided to guests back in the 1920's?

glowing brass gate in the lower level

That's enough Art Deco indulgence for today.  I do have some murals waiting, but I'm saving them for those snowy days ahead when I can't get out of the house.  We've had flurries off and on here for the last 5 days.  The forecast for today and tomorrow?  High of 22F with 22 mph winds giving us a wind chill effect of....12 degrees!  It looks like another week before we get back above freezing.  I'm confused, is it November or January?

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