Friday, September 20, 2013


The Milwaukee County Historical Center is a little gem of a building located on the Milwaukee River on the near north side of downtown.  It was originally built as a branch bank and celebrated its 100th birthday earlier this year.  The building had fallen into some disrepair until it was selected to be a backdrop for a Johnny Depp movie filmed in 2008, Public Enemies.  The Society was able to use the rental revenues to do extensive renovations on the building's interior.

The building has an unusual triangular shape, reflecting the wedge-shaped piece of land it sits on.  Here is a shot of the exterior taken from the building's southeast side.

The exterior includes some some nice ornamentation that I have featured in the following shots.

But it is the nicely restored interior that really shines.  The following is the widest-angled shot that I could muster with the lens that I have.

This is not a large structure, and the above shot probably incorporates half of the building's interior space.  The image illustrates the white balance challenges that I was dealing with.  The lighting represented a mixture of relatively bluish exterior light and yellow incandescent interior light.  Generally, I put the camera's white balance on Automatic and just let it run.

Here is another semi-panoramic shot from the stairway leading to the building's lower level.

Much of the restoration work involved the ornate ceiling, which had previously been covered up.  Here are a couple of shots that feature portions of that restored ceiling.

The building features three levels.  In addition to the main floor and lower level, there is a broad walkway on the second level surrounding the building's open center area.  Following is a shot of one of the walkways.

One of the curators confessed that the pillars were constructed of steel beams covered with plaster painted to look like marble.  I promised to keep that secret.

The building was originally constructed as a bank and it still features a couple of massive safes that add to the building's historical feel.

The structure also included a number of nice minor touches.


1 comment:

  1. Very interesting pictures. Love the closeups of the vault, clock, etc.