MPA has been hunkering down in the cold these past few months working hard to build coalitions of support for a long term restoration solution for the Domes and the Soldiers Home, advocating for preservation of Milwaukee’s important LGBTQ history sites, and more. As the weather heats up, so does our advocacy. Dive in for our cheery Spring update!

This month’s MPA 20th Anniversary history tidbit: The Milwaukee Preservation Alliance truly is an alliance. We were born out of a desire to unify groups and individuals throughout the city working to save places that are important to Milwaukeeans. This same focus on being a bridge and resource, serving as a unified voice for the power of preservation, continues to guide us today! 

We want your stories!

MPA is 20 this year!

Were you around for the early days? We want to hear your stories, see your photos, and check out any communications from the organization you may have as we work to compile a history of the organization to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of our founding in 2003.

We've grown and transformed in many ways over our 2 decades but remain focused on "making preservation mainstream in Milwaukee." And we wouldn't be here without you! So let's hear those stories!

Please send any thoughts, stories, or photos to


First, don't miss our friends Docomomo-US/Wisconsin's great upcoming event, "Joe Pera Talks With You" Watch Party @Company Brewing, Tues. April 18 at 5:30pm. There will be a quick advocacy update about the status of the domes and then we'll watch Season 2 Episode 11 of the Comedy Central show where our friend from the UP visits the Domes and other iconic spots in Milwaukee. Food and beverage will be available for purchase! Register here.

On February 7, Milwaukee County released an RFP for a consultant to produce the "all options" report requested by the County Board in December. We're glad the County is engaging the services of experts for this incredibly important report, which is exactly what MPA had recommended. It is encouraging as well to see a requirement for public outreach. We are hopeful that this outreach will meaningfully engage the public in determining the future of the Domes. The RFP also indicates that the report will be scheduled for completion in September, not July as originally indicated.

On March 18, Urban Milwaukee reported that the contract had been awarded to The Concord Group, who plans to subcontract with engineers from GRAEF and McEnroe Consulting Engineers, and architects from The Kubala Washatko Architects. 

While we remain extremely disappointed that the County is exploring the possibility of demolition of the Domes, we maintain hope for the current undertaking. Taken in concert with past reports and work currently being done to provide a mock-up of a cost-effective reglazing solution for the Domes' glass (due late Spring), we believe this report can show the viability of the solution for the Domes the people of Milwaukee County have consistently said you want: Save Our Domes!

Additionally, we were pleased to see the Domes will be receiving $50,000 for new HVAC controls and $17,293 for general maintenance as part of a spending plan for $1.3 million set aside in a 2023 budget amendment.

MPA also became aware of a paper and presentation on the strength and historic significance of the Domes' design and construction from an engineering perspective developed for the Annual Symposium of the International Association for Shell & Spatial Structures conference based in Beijing last year. The paper notes that, "the existing glazing system is an intricate glass and aluminum enclosure that still constitutes, after 60 years, an aesthetic and functional system of exceptional beauty and innovative value."


Did you know there is a County Board election coming up as part of the April 4 election? This date will serve as the primary, with a Special Election to fill the District 14 Southside seat vacated by Dyango Zerpa to take place on May 2. MPA sent all candidates listed as “Certified for Ballot” by the Milwaukee County Election Commission 3 questions to better understand their perspectives on historic preservation topics. MPA does not endorse or oppose candidates for public office.

Supervisor Candidate Survey

The Domes are also getting lots of attention locally and nationally:

  • Local craftsman Adam Spoerri has created his own fun Domes advocacy tool for sale: Save Our Domes snow stamps! Even better, Adam is generously donating 25% of all proceeds from sales to MPA.
  • Don’t miss the return of Friends of the Domes’ Art in the Green, April 29-30. Local artists will have work for sale in the greenhouse with entertainment and food vendors throughout The Domes.

Save the Soldiers Home Updates

Get your Soldiers Home gear! We are pleased to offer two new Soldiers Home items for sale online and at our free public walking tours (scheduled to start in May, keep your eyes out for details!). All proceeds from your purchase directly help Save the Soldiers Home.

The first is the "Milwaukee’s Soldiers Home" book (2013, Arcadia Publishing), a photographic history book researched and written by local historian Patricia A. Lynch. The book’s 126 pages are full of stories and historic photographs giving you a glimpse into the Home’s early history and growth. $25

We are also offering a Soldiers Home Badge. It is a replica of a "suitable badge to be firmly attached to the uniform, and at all times worn, by each beneficiary of the Asylum" (now known as the Soldiers Home) from 1867. $12


Have you seen Milwaukee PBS’ fantastic new digital docuseries “The Women Founders: Milwaukee Soldiers Home”? The 6-part series of short videos celebrates Women’s History Month by honoring the important women who brought the Soldiers Home to Milwaukee in the 1860s and continue to support it today. Keep a lookout for a longer form documentary on the Soldiers Home later this year as well!


In addition to our advocacy on behalf of the Soldiers Home buildings, we also help the VA fulfill their obligations as steward of this National Register listed historic site. As a WPA-era canal wall on the grounds is scheduled to be removed for regrading, MPA and our partners are working with the VA on appropriate mitigation measures.

Finally, keep a lookout very soon for the reveal of a newly redesigned Save the Soldiers Home logo and website. We’re very excited to continue our work to bring attention to the significance of this incredible campus, celebrate the preservation success at Old Main, and work toward a solution for the endangered Chapel, Theater, and Governor’s Mansion.

Preservation News

Local News

  • MPA was proud to join the Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project and County Supervisor Peter Burgelis at February’s Historic Third Ward Architectural Review Board meeting to speak out against the proposed destruction of a significant part of the City's cultural and architectural heritage. 266 E. Erie St. is one of the few buildings to have survived the 1892 Third Ward Fire and the only building with direct ties to the district's early Irish population. It was also home to the Wreck Room for many years, a site of importance to the LGBTQ community. The question of demolition appears to have been temporarily tabled but will need to go through the Historic Preservation Commission for any demolition permits, as the building is a local historic site. While the building does have a number of challenges, we believe that it is too significant to allow outright demolition and that a form of preservation must be the first choice.
  • The City of Milwaukee has a new, easier to use map interface to find local and national historic sites and districts. You can find your favorite older building, and if it’s not locally designated why not submit an application today? Details on how are available on HPC’s website. Check it out!
  • Ald. Robert Bauman has introduced a resolution asking the City to support the federal Historic Tax Credit Growth & Opportunity Act, which would substantially improve this tax credit that is so important to making preservation projects feasible nationwide. The resolution will likely come before the Judiciary & Legislation Committee at the April 10, 9am meeting. MPA plans to write a letter of support.
  • Wondering just how much better for the environment restoration is than demolition and new construction? The new CARE Tool can tell you! Just plug in the details of your project and see a quantified breakdown of the carbon impacts of each option. Check it out and spread the word!

National News

Share the Love!

Valentine’s Day may be behind us, but there’s never a wrong time to tell your favorite historic building and the businesses that operate in them how much you love and appreciate them! We've made it easy for you to share your love for the places that make Milwaukee special with our fun downloadable postcards.

Just download the postcard, print it out (card stock recommended), fill it in, and send it off (or even better, drop it off in person to see the look of joy your card will bring to the stewards of your favorite local historic building)!

Have fun, and send us a photo of your postcard or video of you hand-delivering it. Thanks for helping us spread the love for MKE's historic places!

Send Love

Another important way you can share the love and ensure the places you love so much are protected long into the future is by including MPA in your will or estate plan. For more details, please reach out to us.

MPA welcomes ZS LLC as a Business Member

For over a quarter century, ZS team individuals have been leading the profession in structural engineering, building enclosure consulting and forensic engineering, as demonstrated by the successful completion of countless challenging engineering projects. The ZS team is composed of experienced and insightful professionals, qualified to tackle a full range of challenging projects of all types and scales. Their team brings extensive experience in the public and private sectors, ranging from complex and sensitive historic restoration to fast-track design-build projects and intelligent virtual modeling of buildings.

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Your membership and support are appreciated!

With your incredible support, MPA has been able to advocate for effective Historic Tax Credit policy, continue our work finding preservation solutions at the Milwaukee Soldiers Home and Mitchell Park Domes, and spread the word about the environmental and economic benefits of historic preservation. Please join MPArenew your membership, or donate today to increase the power of your voice in support of the restoration and adaptive reuse of Milwaukee's architectural heritage. Thank you!

Milwaukee Preservation Alliance is a proud member of the National Preservation Partners Network.

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