Saengerfest and City Hall, 1868
The earlier City Hall was a converted market hall, here decorated for an annual German music festival.
In June 2013 the National Saengerfest was held in Milwaukee. This is an annual gathering of Austrian and German musical societies. The history of Saengerfest, however, goes back many years in the United States. As Milwaukee in the 19th century had a substantial population of German origin it should be of little surprise that Milwaukee’s first Saengerfest was held here in 1868. The building in this photograph is City Hall and the streets are amply decorated to welcome the singers. The garlands would decorate the streets all the way to Union Depot, the city’s main railroad station at that time, which was located on south 2nd St. near Seeboth St.
Note the tracks in the street. This was for the trolley which was horse-drawn. Electric trollies would not appear until 1890.
City Hall was originally a market hall that in 1860 was remodeled and converted into City Hall by architect Edward Townsend Mix, and served the city’s seat of government until 1871. (After this the city government was housed in various locations.) This building appears in many early stereoviews beginning in the 1860s. The current City Hall, built in 1895, is on this same site.
Jeff Beutner is a collector of photographs, postcards and stereoviews of old Milwaukee. This column features these images, with historical commentary by Beutner.
Oct 29th, 2014 by Jeff Beutner
The headquarters for what became the Marine Bank, built by Alexander Mitchell, survives today almost exactly as originally built.
Oct 22nd, 2014 by Jeff Beutner
The famed photographer H. H. Bennett captured the splendor of the Mitchell mansion.
Oct 15th, 2014 by Jeff Beutner
The fabulously wealthy business man created an unusual, two-story conservatory within his home.
Oct 7th, 2014 by Jeff Beutner
What would soon be known as Grand Avenue became a row of millionaires' mansions.
Oct 2nd, 2014 by Jeff Beutner
With his great wealth, he built a lovely home still standing today on 9th and Wisconsin, now the Wisconsin Club.
Sep 26th, 2014 by Jeff Beutner
The Plankinton Arcade sits on the site of the former Plankinton House Hotel.