Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

4001 S 6TH ST

Architecture and History Inventory
4001 S 6TH ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Town of Lake Water Tower and Municipal Building
Other Name:Robert A. Anderson Water Tower and Municipal Building
Reference Number:109581
Location (Address):4001 S 6TH ST
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1938
Survey Date:1979
Historic Use:water utility
Architectural Style:Art Deco
Structural System:
Wall Material:Concrete
Architect:William Darby
Other Buildings On Site:
Demolished Date:
Additional Information:A 'site file' exists for this property. It contains additional information such as correspondence, newspaper clippings, or historical information. It is a public record and may be viewed in person at the Wisconsin Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation.

HABS WI-357. Owners: Town of Lake 1937 - c.1953 , City of Milwaukee 1953 to present.

WPA Project: Town of Lake and William Darby, Engineer.

Built as a combination town hall and water tower, this massive structure is one of the area's most unusual and innovative public-works projects. The decision to combine two vital services of municipal government under one roof was seen in the late 1930s as a shrewd austerity measure during the Great Depression. The money-saving decision also ensured that Lake's town hall would rank among the most monumental and imposing government structures in Wisconsin.

The nine-story, Moderne building consists of an octagonal tower rising from a two-story, flat-roofed office block. The tower shaft encloses a steel structure supporting a one-million-gallon water tank, designed to stabilize the pressure in the South Side’s water mains. The building was one of the first major structures in the Milwaukee metropolitan area to feature exposed poured concrete exterior walls. The building's largely intact interior features ornamental plasterwork and iron railings, executed in an Art Deco-influenced style. Square terracotta tiles are employed extensively for wainscoting.

The base of the tower originally housed offices for the municipal government of the former Town of Lake. The City of Milwaukee annexed the town in the 1950s, and today various Milwaukee social service departments occupy these offices. The water tower remains part of the city's water distribution system.
Bibliographic References:-Bureau of Bridges and Public Buildings, City of Milwaukee -Legislative Reference Bureau, Milwaukee City Hall -Phone Interview with Val Reszel, Former town of Lake Official, April 6, 1979 -Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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