April 13, 2024


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The old power plant on the VA campus is being taken down. That means original Cream City bricks can be saved and reused.


Scott Ladwig, engineering technician at the VA Medical Center, said the goal in taking down the old power plant on the site is to save about 1,500 Cream City bricks for use elsewhere.

Scott Ladwig, engineering technician at the VA Medical Heart, stated the objective in having down the aged ability plant on the website is to conserve about 1,500 Cream Town bricks for use somewhere else.

Demolition personnel are tearing down the previous electric power plant on the Milwaukee Veterans Affairs campus this month.

Well, “tearing down” is not definitely the ideal description.

They’re not using it down brick by brick, but the approach is fairly close to that. The target is to maintain about 1,500 of the bricks so that they can be applied to aid mend other properties on the campus.

The explanation for the special treatment? These are first Cream Town bricks, the iconic bricks that are however element of Milwaukee’s identification — not to mention a single of its nicknames.

“We will reuse them below on campus or the historic society,” Scott Ladwig, Milwaukee VA engineering technician said. “At some level, we’ll arrive up with a way for some others to use them if essential for other historical properties.”

With the previous Product Metropolis brick company closing in 1929, preserving the bricks that developed the city in its early decades has turn out to be important.

In 1967, a new power plant on the web site opened and the outdated energy plant was turned into a storage place. It was most not too long ago made use of to retail store salt for melting ice on the campus, which covers 245 acres. The making was deteriorating and elements of the roof experienced collapsed.

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Ladwig claimed the demolition started June 6, and should be completed by the end of June. When the bricks are safely and securely preserved, they will be sent to a organization that specializes in bricks and masonry. It will thoroughly clean and type out the bricks, a chronic trouble for restorationists since Product City bricks are porous, and turn dark from dirt and pollutants over time.

After cleaned and sorted, the usable bricks will be despatched back again.

“I imagine we’re heading to use some of them comparatively immediately. We’ve obtained properties that are as outdated as 150 a long time old,” Ladwig stated. “We’ve received like 50 buildings right here and 200 acres, so there’s constantly building, and typically which is restore and transforming.”

The previous energy plant web page is remaining turned into a parking ton, incorporating 47 new areas. The parking ton task is planned to be finished in September.

At the Milwaukee Veterans Affairs campus, the old power plant made out of Cream City bricks is being demolished, but good bricks are being saved.

At the Milwaukee Veterans Affairs campus, the outdated electricity plant designed out of Cream Metropolis bricks is staying demolished, but superior bricks are being saved.

The start of a signature look

The very first bricks of a cream colour were created in Milwaukee in the 1830s. First brickmakers considered the brick was unpleasant, as they had been applied to the red brick from the East Coast. The color came from clay deposits found in the town, specifically all over the Menomonee River Valley and Kinnickinnic River.

The detrimental sentiments transformed right after the brick was uncovered to be long lasting, and much more folks warmed up to the colour, said Andrew Stern, who wrote his master’s thesis at the University of Georgia on Cream Town bricks.

The use of the brick expanded as Milwaukee grew, drawing extra consideration by way of the a long time to the issue that it grew to become the city’s signature appear.

“It was seriously an crucial portion of our early history in that it form of helped place Milwaukee on the map when the Midwest was just opening up,” Stern stated. “Men and women would write these glowing reviews from all around the country about Milwaukee and especially about the brick.”

The New York Moments referred to it as “the yellow Milwaukee brick.”

It failed to hurt that the bricks were tied into the city’s major early breweries. Stern reported the Miller, Pabst (then known as Ideal), Schlitz and Blatz breweries had been manufactured in complete, or in section, with Product Metropolis bricks.

“It was utilised for these grand factory properties and producing structures. It was also utilized all more than downtown,” Stern explained. “It was applied in some of the noteworthy mansions and significant-fashion residences. But it was also form of an daily brick around the metropolis, far too.”

By the latter half of the 19th century, Stern wrote, production in a number of brickyards exceeded tens of hundreds of thousands of bricks yearly. Price tag wars and a adjust in architectural flavor, even though, led to the brick’s demise.

Its conclusion has meant that preservation is vital.

“It truly is a finite source. The bricks have not been made for virtually 100 a long time, so what is actually remaining is what is all that is at any time likely to be,” Stern mentioned. “It is kind of important that we regard the history and try to do every little thing we can to preserve the cream brick architecture that we have all around the town.”

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This posting originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Milwaukee’s Product City bricks on VA campus are getting a next existence


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