606 W WISCONSIN AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record


Architecture and History Inventory
606 W WISCONSIN AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Mariner Tower
Other Name:Wisconsin Tower Condominium
Reference Number:41849
Location (Address):606 W WISCONSIN AVE
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1929
Survey Date:1984
Historic Use:large office building
Architectural Style:Art Moderne
Structural System:Steel Frame
Wall Material:Granite Stone
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, State Historic Preservation Office.
Twenty-two story steel frame Art Deco sky-scraper. Polished granite sets off the first story and the main entry. The relief sculpture is by Arthur Weary, who also designed the frieze on the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL building (333 W. State Street).

Milwaukee's tallest 1920s skyscraper was designed by a Chicago firm in the Art Deco style at a time when a skyscraper was a relatively new building type. The architects emphasized the height of the soaring, twenty-two-story block by placing the vertical surfaces slightly forward of the horizontal ones. They eschewed the traditional projecting cornice atop the building, allowing the eye to scan uninterrupted up the walls and into the sky. The chamfered corners of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth floors, and inset two top floors taper its silhouette. The skyward sweep culminates in a needle-like 1920s radio mast, the last surviving one of its kind in the city.

The Mariner Tower's first two floors are clad in polished marble and ornamented with low-relief, Art Deco style metal castings designed by Arthur Weary, with its upper floors wrapped in smooth Bedford limestone. The entrance, with its handsome grilles, and the marble lobby exhibit beautiful examples of Art Deco design.

"The Wisconsin Tower, originally the Mariner Tower, was built by John Mariner, prominent Milwaukee businessman. The building was designed be a Chicago firm best known for it work in commercial architecture. Here Weary and Alford chose to restrict ornamentation to the lower floors, the unadorned shaft of the building rising to modest setbacks at the uppermost stories." Pagel, Mary Ellen & Virginia A Palmer, University Extension The University of Wisconsin, Guides to Historic Milwaukee: Kilbourntown Walking Tour, 1967.
Bibliographic References:MILWAUKEE HISTORIC BUILDINGS TOUR: KILBOURNTOWN, CITY OF MILWAUKEE DEPARTMENT OF CITY DEVELOPMENT, 1994, p. 14. MILWAUKEE CITY DIRECTORIES, 1930-1932. Building Permit. The Daily Reporter, 2 January 1930, includes a drawing of the tower building. The 13 February 1930 edition announces the permit information: Cost: $1,500,000, 22 stories and designed by Weary & Alford, Chicago. Buildings of Wisconsin manuscript. Pagel, Mary Ellen & Virginia A Palmer, University Extension The University of Wisconsin, Guides to Historic Milwaukee: Kilbourntown Walking Tour, 1967.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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