Baasen House-German YMCA

Also known as: Wisconsin House Tavern, Mercy House, Mount Sinai Hospital
1702 N. 4th St., Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Cream City Brick structure with an interesting history


Overview Looking Northeast

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in June 2013




The building is a three-story masonry design, clad with Cream City Brick, with a one-story gable roofed wing extending to the north.

The building has had several diverse uses over its lifetime. A gymnasium was added in 1889. Whatever happened to the YMCA, this reporter doesn't know but in 1884, the building became known as Mercy House. It was a home for "fallen women" that is indicative of the mores of the late 19th Century. Why? Fallen women included unmarried mothers-to-be and prostitutes trying to reform and leave the trade.

In 1903, several Jewish doctors and nurses were having trouble gaining employment at restricted hospitals, and they founded Mount Sinai in the old YMCA. They added a third floor in 1907 but outgrew the house and in 1914 moved to 12th and Kilbourn Avenue. (Mount Sinai is still in operation as part of the Aurora System.)

The house became a tavern in later years and today, it is back in the health care industry as a day care center for senior citizens.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on August 2, 1984
Reference number
Areas of significance
Ethnic Heritage - European; Social History
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event
Property type
Historic functions
Meeting hall; Sport facility
Current function
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899; 1850-1874
Significant years
1874; 1912

Update Log 

  • December 1, 2015: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated Alternate names and added description
  • July 3, 2013: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated Status and Added Photos