Building Milwaukee City Hall

The Political, Legal and Construction Battles

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About the Book

Milwaukee’s City Hall on East Wells and North Water streets is a landmark. Not only officially, but as part of Milwaukee’s identity, from the city’s flag to the Laverne and Shirley sit-com in the 1970s. The site for this familiar building was not easily chosen. The final location was not the first choice for most of Milwaukee’s movers and shakers, and after it was finally settled upon, the difficulties only became bigger. Battles over designs and the bidding process became politically heated and personal in nature. Cost overruns in the construction, although common at the time, grew to gigantic proportions. The completed building was, however, structurally sound and pleasing to the eye. Still standing 115 years later, it is a monument to the Milwaukee government officials, architect and builder.

About the Author(s)

Dennis Pajot is a lifelong resident of Milwaukee. He is an author and researcher. His other books include The Rise of Milwaukee Baseball, for which he was awarded the Sporting News–SABR Baseball Research Award in 2010 and Baseball’s Heartland War, 1902–1903.

Bibliographic Details

Dennis Pajot
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 37 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7347-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0171-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Introduction 1

One. The Early Movements for a New City Hall 3

Two. The 1889–1890 Territorial Fight for a City Hall Location 12

Three. The Political Battle Over the City Hall Plans 43

Four. Political and Legal Maneuvering in the City Hall Contract Award 81

Five. Cost Overruns and Major Problems in the Construction of City Hall 105

Six. Milwaukee’s City Hall Bell 145

Seven. Henry C. Koch—An Architect of Many Designs and Many Controversies 156

Epilogue. More Than 100 Years of Alterations and Renovations 188

Chapter Notes 201

Bibliography 209

Index 211