Dave Reid
Best of Doors Open

Inside the Mackie Building

Our photos take you inside the 1879 structure, the former Grain Exchange, and one of the city's most historic and beautiful buildings.

By - Oct 21st, 2014 11:15 am
The Mackie Building. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Mackie Building. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The 2017 Doors Open Milwaukee takes place on September 23rd and 24th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Here’s a look at one of our favorite destinations of the annual event in our Best of Doors Open series.

One of Milwaukee’s landmark structures, the historic Mackie Building, will be featured at the annual Doors Open Milwaukee event. In particular, the Grain Exchange Room will be open for visitors to take in its ornate beauty.

The Mackie Building was originally built in 1879 by congressman Alexander Mitchell. Designed by Edward Townsend Mix, in the Late Victorian style, it stands today as one of Milwaukee’s finest historic structures and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located next to another of Milwaukee’s finest buildings, the Mitchell Building, also built by Mitchell. The Mackie Building originally housed the Grain Exchange and the offices of the Chamber of Commerce.

The building is most famously known as the home of the “Grain Exchange,” a three story, 10,000-square foot room that once was the center of the grain trade in Milwaukee, but today is used for events, such as weddings and corporate outings. Bartolotta Catering and Events handles the food and drink service for these events. The room, as you can see in the pictures, has ceilings that reach to the sky, beautiful frescoes, and in the center of he room a 175 ft. bell tower rises above. Granite, limestone, and sandstone features are seen throughout the room.

The building is also home to a couple of first floor tenants, The Swingin’ Door Exchange, Historic Milwaukee and Ricco’s Swingin’ Door Barber Shop. Currently, The Daily Reporter is the building’s only office tenant.

In January of this year, Jeramey Jannene profiled developer Joshua Jeffers, who also owns the Mitchell Building, and his extensive renovation work that included converting the upper floors to apartments. Learn more about the building, and see the apartment conversion, in Jannene’s feature.

Our photos show the magnificence of the Mackie.

Photo Gallery

3 thoughts on “Best of Doors Open: Inside the Mackie Building”

  1. Dudemeister says:

    My mother worked in this building for many years as a secretary of a forestery company. The offices were kind of cramped, as I recall, though the grain exchange and lobby were pretty.

    I was told they used to actually have horse-drawn carts loaded with grain pull through the lobby, while investors in the grain exchange would look through a hole in the second floor and bid on the grain.

  2. FrauMilwaukee says:

    When I moved to Milwaukee 18 yrs ago for a new job, I was thrilled to work in this beautiful building. Knowing no one in town, the Swingin’ Door, under the ownership of Mike Murphy, became my social network. I will always remember this place just as my German immigrant parents remember the Prudential Building on Michigan and Randolph in Chicago being the tallest building in Chicago when they arrived in 1960.

  3. John says:

    Disappointed to see 14 of the 15 photos featuring the brilliantly restored Grain Exchange Room. I would have liked to see photos of the rest of the building, close-ups of the exterior features and even parts of the building that have deteriorated and thereby give meaning to the article writer’s brief mention of the ‘need for reinvestment’. On the basis of the 15 or so pictures provided, the building doesn’t look like it needs any reinvestment. Views of some of its probably more downtrodden interiors would have helped tell that story. Missed opportunity on this one.

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