Federal Building

Milwaukee, Wisconsin | C.1892

Photo Credit: Justin R. Hernandez

Milwaukee’s handsome and imposing U.S. Courthouse & Federal Office Building was created to accommodate the newly revolutionized postal system in the 19th century. Today, the building is one of the last bastions of Romanesque Revival architecture in the Midwest and houses both a U.S. District and U.S. Bankruptcy court.

The massive granite edifice sits within the historic district known as Juneautown, organized from land owned by Solomon Juneau, Milwaukee’s founder and first mayor. The building is surrounded by notable historic buildings from the same time.

Filling an entire city block, the five-story structure features a robust display of stone massing and heavy Roman arches. Walls of dark and light gray Mount Waldo granite rise to a steeply pitched hipped roof pierced by a variety of gabled projections. Inside, rooms are arranged around a central atrium capped by an iron and glass skylight. 

In 1989, extensive renovations restored the building to its original condition. In-depth research was carried out to determine the original paint colors and decorative patterns for the walls and ceilings, including the original hand painted designs. The building is designated a Milwaukee City Landmark and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

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