Wisconsin is home to beer, cheese, and some of the oldest buildings in the United States. Most of the buildings have maintained their structural integrity and kept their original infrastructure. Here are just five of the oldest buildings still standing in Wisconsin.
Basilica of St. Josaphat: Milwaukee, WI
The Basilica of St Josaphat is one of the oldest churches in the city of Milwaukee. The architect Erhard Brielmaier planned for the basilica to be made entirely of brick. It was decided that the Basilica would contain mixed materials salvaged from the Chicago Post Office. The Basilica was the product of the growing parish and Milwaukee’s Polish community in the late 1800s. This church has served Milwaukee’s south side for over 100 years, making it one of the oldest buildings in the city.
Milton House: Milton, WI
The Milton House, located in Milton, Wisconsin, was built by Joseph Goodrich in 1844. The building was a stop on the Underground Railroad, a safe place for runaway slaves for almost 20 years. Goodrich excavated tunnels for slaves to make safe passage until the 1860s. It’s also the oldest grout building in the United States, which is a rare sight in itself!
Fairlawn Mansion: Superior, WI
On the far northwest tip of Wisconsin there lies a hidden gem. That gem, the Fairlawn Mansion, is a Victorian-era mansion that has been restored and is now a museum. The mansion served as a children’s home for over 40 years, providing shelter for a couple thousand children in need.
Wakely House: Nekoosa, WI
The Wakely House, located near Wisconsin Rapids, is the oldest home in Wisconsin. The house was built in 1842 by Robert and Mary Wakely. The couple migrated from New York, selling lumber along the way, to finally arrive in Nekoosa. The Wakely House serves as the main attraction for people visiting the Wisconsin Rapids area.
Ernest Hueffner Building: Racine, WI
Racine’s Historic Sixth Street Business District hosts many buildings that are still standing after more than 100 years. The Ernest Hueffner Building was built in 1842, making it one of the oldest buildings in the business district. It was originally built with Cream City brick, a cream-colored brick native to Wisconsin. To find out more about the significance of Cream City brick, see our blog post on the history of Cream City Brick!
Want to learn more about the oldest building in Wisconsin? Stay tuned for the second part of this post.