NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Cream City Columbus

If you've ever heard Milwaukee referred to as the "Cream City" you probably assumed it was due to dairy, but actually the nickname comes from when the city was a major manufacturer of Cream City brick. As a matter of fact, the city's first brickyard went up in 1836, four years before the first brewery.

Red sandstone arches complement the Cream City brick nicely at City Hall

When I was recently in the city of Columbus for work it wasn't hard to notice the Cream City brick everywhere.  It makes a lot of sense for that particular building material to have been so widely used because the city saw a boom happen in the late 1800's, which was also the time Cream City brick was in high demand across the country.  Originally it was just an inexpensive local brick. These days salvage and restoration of the bricks is done and the bricks are worked into renovations and new projects that want to tie in with the past.

Bell Tower, Columbus City Hall

The town of Columbus grew quickly and the current City Hall was built in 1892. The great part about traveling for work is those civic buildings are open and you can walk inside and take a look around.  This city hall was loaded with some beautiful local made paintings depicting historical scenes and buildings.

And, believe it or not, I was so entranced by City Hall that just like in Chattanooga I missed the Carnegie Library! Of course this time I just need to make a mental note and I'll get to it next time I breeze through town.

Notice the dirt absorbed into the brick in the Odd Fellows building at the very far right

The brick is unique to the Menomonee Valley area, the clay's color provided by large amounts of lime and sulfur. The brick made its way all the way to Europe at the height of demand, but over time its porous structure absorbed soot and other materials became more fashionable.

Even though it is so porous it is very durable, as the stunning array of buildings that are over a century old in Columbus demonstrated.  Sandblasting is too damaging to the brick, a chemical process is used instead. You'll see this creamy brick all over Wisconsin, from churches and homes to lighthouses in Door County.

Columbus is home to Wisconsin's largest antique mall - and also houses Christopher Columbus Museum displaying souvenir memorabilia from Chicago's 1893 World's Columbian Exposition.  Can you believe I didn't have time to go in and look at that??  Where is my calendar, I have to block off the whole day next time I'm in the area!

And if that wasn't bad enough, Columbus is one of the towns in Wisconsin with a New Deal post office mural.  You can't make this stuff up, I really missed out!

 I enjoyed my drive around town though, and I did have enough time to visit a very special building in depth.  It wasn't made of Cream City brick, but was designed by Louis Sullivan and I got a quick tour in before I had to move on to my next work appointment. You'll have to wait to learn more!

Adorable church turned into a home

1 comment: