A downtown hotel steeped in Milwaukee history

A downtown hotel steeped in Milwaukee history

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A beautiful leaded glass skylight towers above the hotel's lobby.Nate Imig | 88Nine Radio Milwaukee

A beautiful leaded glass skylight towers above the hotel’s lobby.

88Nine Radio Milwaukee
Downtown Milwaukee's Hilton Garden Inn

Unless you’ve been inside the Hilton Garden Inn in Downtown Milwaukee, you’d probably never guess it one of the “loveliest and most stately Richardson Romanesque buildings” in all of Milwaukee.

That’s according to OnMilwaukee’s Bobby Tanzilo, who visited the building as part of the OnMilwaukee’s Hotel Week.

“There’s beautiful detail work everywhere,” Tanzilo said in our interview. “It’s just really an incredible place.”

The building originally opened as the headquarters for Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company in 1886.  It was built on the site of the former Newhall House Hotel, which was obliterated by a deadly fire three years earlier.

To ensure fire wouldn’t destroy the new construction — and to portray a sense of security and trust — architects designed the building with abundant granite, tile and leaded glass.

Walk inside the hotel today, and you’ll immediately notice the beautiful glass skylight and grand staircase in the lobby, original to the building and beautifully restored.

Click the player above to hear my conversation with Bobby, and be sure to read his complete story for more.