Historic Preservation

Milwaukee’s Historic Water Tower Neighborhood, which covers the city’s historic East Side, is one of the largest and most beautiful residential historic districts in the country. Our homes are listed in an number of overlapping city and federal historic districts!

More than 1,000 of our neighborhood’s historic homes have won the honor of being recognized by inclusion in five National Register of Historic Places districts. This designation makes certain renovations eligible for 25% state income-tax credits. HWTN paid for the neighborhood surveys that won these National Register designations, so we strongly encourage you to take advantage of these credits. Tax-credit applications need to be approved before any work begins – so plan accordingly.

Our neighborhood also enjoys the protections of the City of Milwaukee’s Historic Preservation Commission (HPC). Guidelines in place, in part because of HWTN activism, protect the entire neighborhood from destruction. Homeowners are required to follow historically appropriate guidelines for all exterior renovations and receive specific approvals from the HPC for projects.


Renovating Your Historic Home

Local Historic Districts

Local Historic Districts






















City Requirements

City ordinances protect many of the historic homes and other buildings in the HWTN from inappropriate changes and destruction. These protections benefit us all. As a result, each of us in a local historic district is required to obtain advance approvals from the Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) for any exterior work on our properties. More information on the process can be obtained here. City staff is dedicated to working with residents like us, and they’re also very knowledgeable and dedicated to preserving our neighborhood.

For more information, please contact HPC staff:
Carlen Hatala, carlen.hatala@milwaukee.gov, (414) 286-5722

How To Restore An Historic Home

Free, spiral-bound copies of excellent restoration guides, written and published by city staff, are available to homeowners in historic districts by contacting Carlen Hatala or Paul Jakubovic (see above contact information).


The Story of Your Historic Home

Researching Your Home’s History

Want to learn about the history of your historic home? Here’s how: