Howard Leu
Photo Gallery

Doors Open Milwaukee

The TCD photo team takes you through the city with more than 70 photos from Historic Milwaukee's second annual Doors Open Milwaukee.

By - Sep 24th, 2012 03:19 pm

A view of Downtown Milwaukee from the Milwaukee River. All photos by Angela Morgan.

What if you had a magical key that gave you access to many of Milwaukee’s architectural landmarks? You would be able to see the city from the tallest buildings, find out how the wings on the Calatrava are opened and closed, or climb up the City Hall south tower and ring the bell.

Exquisite architectural details of The Tripoli Shrine Center.

This magical key was given to everyone who wanted it this past weekend as Historic Milwaukee, Inc. presented their second annual Doors Open event. 125 buildings and sites participated and opened their doors to the public. Visitors were able to stroll through a wide variety of spaces, from civic buildings, theaters, to bridge operating stations.

Some public buildings normally accessible to the public gave special access and tours of spaces that are typically off limits, like the Oriental Room at the Central Library, the controls that operate the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Burke Brise Soleil, the inside of the North Point Water Tower, the bell tower and the common council chamber. For great views of the city, the 17th floor of the Allen-Bradley Clock Tower at Rockwell Automation and the 41st floor of the U.S. Bank buildings gave just that.

Theatergoers were able to experience what it looks like from the stage looking into the seats, and lounge like stars in the “green room” at the Milwaukee Theatre, the Rep, and Pabst Theater. Many historic commercial buildings, such as the Pritzlaff Building, the Mackie building, the Mitchell building and the Plankinton Arcade, just to name a few, were also on the list and welcomed visitors not only to admire the architecture and history but also to see the local businesses operating in them today.

Counting down to Harley-Davidson’s 110th Anniversary.

There were also 43 in-depth tours on a variety of topics, including a bike tour of the history along Hank Aaron Trail, a Harley-Davidson history tour, and a walking tour based on the book Missing Milwaukee: The Lost Buildings of Downtown by the author himself.

There were two unique places on this year’s list worth noting. The first was the Brewhouse Inn and Suite at the Pabst Brewery Complex. The Brewhouse Inn and Suite won’t be opened until March 2013 but visitors were able to get a preview of the boutique hotel and restaurant.

The other is Frank Zeidler’s house at 504 S. 33rd Street. This humble foursquare doesn’t look like much but the Socialist Mayor grew up and lived there. His brother Carl, who was also mayor for two years before enlisting and fighting in World War II, also grew up in that house, which was recently restored by the city’s Neighborhood Improvement Development Corporation and is up for sale.

Doors Open 2012 brought out people of all ages and gave them a rewarding sense of being a part of this city. There were so much to see in a relatively short amount of time. Many people already have their lists of places to visit for 2013. Learn more about Historic Milwaukee, Inc. at

You can see more than 70 photos from this year’s Doors Open Milwaukee by Angela Morgan, Sarah Dwyer-Olson and Howard Leu in the flickr gallery below.

For more ThirdCoast Digest photo galleries, click here, or visit TCD’s flickr page here

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