Milwaukee’s bustling Pritzlaff Building is a city unto itself

Milwaukee’s bustling Pritzlaff Building is a city unto itself

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The name of Milwaukee’s Pritzlaff Building is a misnomer. It’s actually a series of buildings stitched together seamlessly into one complex at 305-333 N. Plankinton Ave., and they’re far busier than they look from the street. In addition to hosting weddings and all kinds of auctions and fundraisers in its beautiful events spaces, it’s also full of retail, housing and co-working spaces.

This week on Urban Spelunking, OnMilwaukee’s Bobby Tanzilo shares the history of the buildings, which date back to 1875. Six of the buildings remain of the original 16 buildings that were once there, and Bobby takes us on a tour of the complex while sharing the story of the buildings’ namesake John Pritzlaff, who started a hardware business that at its peak employed nearly 500 people.

The Pritzlaff Building | Photo credit: Bobby Tanzilo/OnMilwaukee.com
Photo credit: Bobby Tanzilo/OnMilwaukee.com

After John Pritzlaff Hardware Co. closed in 1958, Hack’s Furniture took over the buildings. But when that business closed in 1984, the buildings sat mostly unoccupied and neglected for years.

Thankfully current owner Ken Breunig has done an incredible job fixing up the buildings while preserving their history — and there’s a lot of that history. Some of the wood used to construct the building dates back to the 1600s.

Even the basement is beautiful | Photo credit: Bobby Tanzilo/OnMilwaukee.com

Hear Bobby give us all the details on this week’s episode below.

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