Milwaukee County Historical Society

Milwaukee, WI

The Situation:

The headquarters of the Milwaukee County Historical Society is located along the Milwaukee River in downtown Milwaukee. Once upon a time, it was the Second Ward Savings Bank, owned and operated by the beer barons of the late 1800s. Today it houses a museum, a research library, offices and some of MCHS’s extensive collections.

The Solution:

Because KMI has experience and expertise in all aspects of masonry, we were selected to replace old limestone and make extensive repairs to damage at the cornice level.

This iconic building has obvious and significant historic importance and restoring it was an exciting challenge. Even in the planning phase, attention to detail was critical because all materials had to go through an approval process. New stone had to match the old stone, which required close communication and coordination with both clients and vendors.

We made extensive repairs by carefully cutting away damaged stone and replacing it with new stone. Our team was also required to work with a type of lime mortar that hasn’t been used for new construction in over 150 years.

The new mortar had to match the color and texture of the old mortar, and it needed to have greater vapor permeability and be as soft or softer as the old mortar.

Planning is vital to all masonry projects, but historical buildings will always present unforeseen challenges. Because of our expansive knowledge, skill and experience, KMI was able to restore the architectural beauty and structural integrity of this important Milwaukee landmark.