Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

City Has New Historic Preservation Leader

Emelia Rudd takes the helm of Milwaukee Preservation Alliance.

By - May 5th, 2023 02:03 pm
Emelia Rudd. Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance.

Emelia Rudd. Photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance.

Milwaukee has a new leading voice for historic preservation.

The Milwaukee Preservation Alliance (MPA), the city’s most active advocacy group for preserving the built environment, announced it hired Emelia Rudd as its new executive director.

Rudd, a Wisconsin native, most recently worked as a project specialist with Bray Architects and previously worked at Kahler Slater and Quorum Architects. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of St. Thomas and a master’s degree in architecture with a certificate in historic preservation from UW-Milwaukee. She served as an intern with the Rethos (formerly the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota), the historic Ard Godfrey House in Minneapolis and the City of Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission.

In her new role, she’ll appear regularly before the historic commission for which she interned in 2016 and 2017. Rudd made her first appearance this week, testifying in favor of the historic designation of the Lamers Block in Walker’s Point.

“MPA isn’t here just to advocate for the best of the best of preservation – we love to see the reuse and rehabilitation of a grand Cream City jewel just as much as we do the small corner shop that was the heart of a neighborhood. It is my hope to amplify the benefits and beauty of preservation throughout the area, and to help tell stories that would otherwise be overlooked or disregarded,” said Rudd in a statement.

The organization has been heavily involved in preservation efforts for the Soldiers Home Complex and the Mitchell Park Domes. The former saw substantial success when Old Main and a handful of other buildings were redeveloped as affordable housing for veterans while the latter’s fate may hinge on a forthcoming report commissioned by Milwaukee County. Free walking tours of Soldiers Home will return this month.

Rudd replaces Jeremy Ebersole, who led the 501(c)(3) organization for two years before relocating to Vermont.

“As a primarily volunteer-based organization, it makes us proud to be able to employ staff who dedicate themselves to furthering MPA’s mission as we work to ‘make preservation mainstream’ in Milwaukee,” said board president Peter Zanghi. “Ms. Rudd brings with her a contagious optimism and dedication to the community and fabric of Milwaukee, and her passion for the stories and built history of this city is evident upon first meeting her. We are thrilled to welcome her as our next full-time executive director.”

The executive director is expected to serve as a spokesperson and strategist for the organization in addition to executive oversight functions. The board of the organization created the position in 2019 as part of opening an office in the restored building at 1100 S. 5th St. Rudd will be the third executive director.

The membership-and-donor-supported organization is part of the National Preservation Partners Network.

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