Building Info

Ward Memorial Hall
  • Address:
    5000 W. National Ave.
  • Architect:
    Henry C. Koch
  • Status:
  • Year Built:

Ward Memorial Theater was designed by Henry C. Koch and constructed in 1881.  It was originally constructed as a two-story multi-purpose building that included a hall, restaurant, and train passenger waiting room.  The Hall was also used as a worship space until the construction of a freestanding chapel.  In 1897, the building was remodeled for use solely as a theater and hosted many appearances by lecturers, vaudeville troupes, and musicians.  Performers appearing elsewhere in Milwaukee often gave free shows at the Theater for veterans’ benefit. As the motion picture industry developed, the theater acquired equipment to show movies.

Today, Ward Memorial Theater has experienced significant roof and water infiltration damage, leaving portions exposed to the elements.  In November 2011, one of the theater’s most notable features, a stained glass window depicting a life-sized figure of General Ulysses S. Grant mounted on a bay horse, was removed from the theater for safekeeping until repairs are complete.

Part of Soldiers Home complex of buildings

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Content referencing Ward Memorial Hall

Plats and Parcels: Historic Building to Become Boutique Hotel
Plats and Parcels

Historic Building to Become Boutique Hotel

Plus: Soldiers Home redevelopment on pause, coworking company buys building on streetcar route

Eyes on Milwaukee: Inside the Historic Soldiers Home Theater
Eyes on Milwaukee

Inside the Historic Soldiers Home Theater

See three buildings, from 1860s and 1880s, VA hopes to have redeveloped.

Milwaukee Architecture: A City of Theaters
Milwaukee Architecture

A City of Theaters

Since the 19th century’s German language playhouses, the city has built and renovated countless facilities for theater.

MPA Launches Fundraising Campaign To Add I-94, Hank Aaron State Trail Signage for Milwaukee Soldiers Home
Press Release

MPA Launches Fundraising Campaign To Add I-94, Hank Aaron State Trail Signage for Milwaukee Soldiers Home

National Trust offers $5,000 matching grant for public donations through the end of 2013

Eyes on Milwaukee: The Growing City
Eyes on Milwaukee

The Growing City

Updates on three new developments. Plus: a photographic tour of the Ward hall.

Photo Gallery: Soldiers Home Becomes National Historic Landmark
Photo Gallery

Soldiers Home Becomes National Historic Landmark

The National Park Service honors the Soldiers Home complex, whose classic buildings are the oldest in the nation still standing from Civil War days.

Milwaukee VAMC Commences Repairs on Historic “Soldiers Home” Building
Press Release

Milwaukee VAMC Commences Repairs on Historic “Soldiers Home” Building

Today, the grand structure continues to dominate the landscape, but is in dire need of repair.