Inside the Plankinton House Hotel, 1908
Two historic views of the Plankinton House Hotel's impressive interior.
The Plankinton House reigned as Milwaukee’s premier hotel for quite a few years. Competitors, like the Pfister, would not arrive until the early 1890s.
In the mid-1880s, the west side of the river would thrive, providing a home for department stores like Gimbel’s, Boston Store and Espenhain’s. Customers arrived via rail and streetcars.
There were several dining and reception areas, including one for the men, which had a bar and was very cigar-friendly. This view is of the other modestly titled ‘Café.’ Note the marbleized columns and a fireplace mantle that would have been suitable for John Plankinton’s own mansion, located at 15th and Grand Ave. (now Wisconsin).
But in 1915, this age of glory would come to an end. A new hotel would be constructed just to the south and the Plankinton House, with its roots to the 1850s, would be demolished.
Jeff Beutner is a collector of photographs, postcards and stereoviews of old Milwaukee. This column features these images, with historical commentary by Beutner.