88Nine Radio Milwaukee

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Cream City Brick/Make Milwaukee 2012 Week 6

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If you’ve driven throughout different parts of Milwaukee, then you’ve picked up that some buildings have a cream or light-colored brick. It’s called ‘cream city brick’. It’s actually made from red clay that was found around Milwaukee and in the Menomonee River Valley. These bricks were one of the most common building materials used here in Milwaukee during the mid to late 19th century.

I wanted to learn more about Milwaukee’s history of cream city brick and how these bricks were in such high demand that they were exported to Chicago, New York and even Germany.

Here’s Paul Jakubovich, Preservation Planner in Milwaukee’s Department of City Development, to explain the history behind Milwaukee’s nickname, ‘Cream City’. 

*Take a tour yourself to see some of Milwaukee’s well-known cream city brick buildings: The Blatz Brewery, Pabst Brewery, Hack Furniture/Pritzlaff Hardware, The Tannery, The Wicked Hop, St. John the Evangelist Cathedral, St. Hedwig Catholic Church, Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Matthew Keenan Townhouse, & Abel Decker Double House.