500 W KILBOURN AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record


Architecture and History Inventory
500 W KILBOURN AVE | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Milwaukee Auditorium
Reference Number:73319
Location (Address):500 W KILBOURN AVE
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1909
Survey Date:2004
Historic Use:auditorium
Architectural Style:Neoclassical/Beaux Arts
Structural System:
Wall Material:Brick
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 State Historical Society, Division of Historic Preservation.

NORTHERN CONSTRUCTION COMPANY WAS THE BUILDER. This site has long held a place of public importance in Milwaukee. In 1835, Byron Kilbourn reserved the land as a public place and it became an outdoor market in the early history of the city. Market Hall, a small arcade was built later on the site; by the mid-1860s, it was the scene of many public events. Taking a cue from the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876, Milwaukee built its own grand exposition hall on the site. The Milwaukee Exposition Building was completed in 1881, an elaborate Victorian structure designed by Edward Townsend Mix. According to historian Mary Ellen Young, the hall "had the first electric lights in a public building in Milwaukee and featured a large pipe organ, an art gallery, and the group of artifacts that formed the nucleus of the Milwaukee Public Museum's collection." The building burned in 1905 and was replaced four years later by the more restrained Milwaukee Auditorium, constructed as "an auditorium, market hall, music and convention rooms,"

Previously surveyed in 1984 with map code of 152/7 on a map numbered 392.

"Our present auditorium replaced the sprawling, domed Exposition Building erected in 1881 on land donated by Byron Kilbourn. The elaborate strcuture was destroyed by fire in 1905. When Milwaukeeans began to discuss a replacement, members of the city's Arion Chorus urged construction of an auditorium suitable for concerts, pageants, and conventions. The Auditorium Company and the city sought to meet such specifications with the building completed in 1909." 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. Building permit. Latus, Mark and Mary Ellen Young, Downtown Milwaukee, Milwaukee Landmarks Commission, 1978, p. 83. 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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