Archives for May 2016

Learn About Utility Pole Expansion in Historic Water Tower Neighborhood at June 1 Meeting

The Historic Water Tower Utility Expansion Committee welcomes We Energies representatives Thelma Sias, Vice President-Local Affairs, and David Effertz, Manager-Customer Service Engineering/ Design-Major Projects, as our guest speakers at our monthly meeting at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday June 1.

Example of New Utility Poles in the HWTN Area

Example of New Utility Poles in the HWTN Area

Effertz will give a detailed presentation about the next phase of utility upgrades throughout our historic district.  All aspects of this ongoing project will presented and discussed.

Residents have begun to receive letters, including this one sent to residents on the 2600 block of N. Lake Dr., about the upcoming utility pole replacements.

HWTN passed a resolution in February opposing “the use of commercial/industrial utility poles inside of our historic area” and calling on “the City of Milwaukee and We Energies to formalize a working partnership with HWTN in planning remediation of the existing damage” and “planning how to avoid further damage to this historic neighborhood as the We project moves further north through Historic Water Tower Neighborhood and the Downer Avenue area.”

Please join us in our effort to educate ourselves as to the reason for these upgrades and to learn how our historic districts and residential neighborhoods will be impacted now and in the future.

As our city continues to grow, so should the lines of communication when our neighborhoods are impacted.  All residents of the Historic Water Tower Neighborhood as well as concerned residents of other historic districts are encouraged to join in the conversation. 

David Effertz

David Effertz

Thelma Sias

Thelma Sias

The meeting takes places in the Marcia Coles Community Room of the Lake Park Pavilion, beneath Lake Park Bistro. It is open to the general public and is free of charge. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. Coffee and cookies courtesy of Lake Park Bistro will be available.

Repairs Begin on Historic North Point Water Tower, To Continue Through Summer or Fall

Repairs on the historic North Point Water Tower, an important city and neighborhood landmark, have just begun and will continue through summer or fall.

In a letter to Ald. Nik Kovac detailing the work to be done, Milwaukee Water Works Superintendent Carrie M. Lewis said the $245,760 project included removal and replacement of three stone finials, stone facade repairs, wood window restoration and replacement of existing floor plates.


Repair work starting in May 2016 on the North Point Water Tower


Lewis wrote the tower would not be covered in scaffolding, but that “work may require a traffic lane for equipment and supplies.”

Lewis also noted that the Water Works appreciated “the historic significance of this structure and received a Certificate of Appropriateness from the City of Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission for the work. All required repairs will match the existing material and architecture of the building.”

A city inspection of the water tower in October 2013 revealed three of its four finials had structural issues that could present a hazard below, and they were temporarily removed.

The repair plans can be viewed here.

According to city historic designation study, the 175-foot tower, which was completed in 1874 and has since been an important Milwaukee and neighborhood landmark, “is significant for its role in early community efforts to improve public sanitation, as an example of nineteenth century technology and as a purely functional device of above average architectural quality. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, recorded for the Historic American Buildings Survey in 1969, named a Milwaukee landmark in 1968, and selected as a national landmark of the American Water Works Association in 1969.”

Historical newspaper articles from 1895 through 1973 about the tower can be viewed on HWTN’s website.

HWTN would like to thank the City of Milwaukee for taking care of this important historic building by funding its needed repairs and following the preservation ordinance to make sure the work is done correctly. Thanks to Mayor Tom Barrett; Ald. Nik Kovac; the Department of Public Works and Commissioner Ghassan Korban; the Milwaukee Water Works and Superintendent Carrie M. Lewis; and the Historic Preservation Commission and Carlen Hatala.



HWTN Co-Founder, Preservation Leader Barbara Elsner Honored by Historic Milwaukee Inc.

Barbara Elsner, one of Historic Water Tower Neighborhood’s founders and a national leader in historic preservation, was honored May 9, 2016, by Historic Milwaukee Inc. (HMI) with the group’s Spaces & Traces 2016 Preservation Award.

IMG_6220 (1) IMG_6226In honoring Barbara, HMI noted her board membership on many preservation groups; helping found HWTN and the Frank Lloyd Building Conservancy; and work that led to the City of Milwaukee’s preservation ordinance.




Barbara and her husband Bob purchased and preserved Wright’s iconic Bogk House in 1954 on Milwaukee’s East Side. where they still reside.

Barbara was given the award at a ceremony held at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.




Public Information Meeting About Lake Park’s Ravine Road Bridge Tuesday May 17

Milwaukee County Parks, GRAEF, and UW-Milwaukee are hosting a public information meeting to present a current study for addressing the repair or replacement of the Ravine Road Bridge in Lake Park on Tuesday, May 17, 2016.

Bridge copyDoors will open for the meeting at 5:30 p.m., and the presentation takes place from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The meeting will take place at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Room 110, 2131 E. Hartford Ave.

The presentation will include description of the bridge’s history, condition, options, current activities and plans moving forward.  All are welcome to attend and comment.

HWTN representatives are on the county’s work group established to review and provide input into three alternative replacement designs and cost estimates. See this story on HWTN’s website about the county’s plans for reviewing design options and this article about HWTN’s position, the county engineering study on the bridge’s condition and a discussion of the bridge’s history.