Public Sevice Building

Also known as: WeEnergies
231 W. Michigan St., Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee streetcar & interurban terminal, now part of a utility company campus


Overview Looking Southwest

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in March 2014




Henry Villard and Henry Payne, railroad financiers, purchased the Milwaukee Railway Company and the Edison Illuminating Company. Their concept was that a streetcar empire, powered by its own pwer plant, would be a profitable monopoly. The combination was named the Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company.

In 1938, the company was broken into two separate companies, the electric utility was named Wisconsin Electric Company, which has since become WeEnergies. (The streetcar and interurban operations became the Milwaukee Electric Railway and Transport Company and after the end of electric railroad service became known as the Milwaukee & Suburban Transport Company. The interurban era came to an end on June 30, 1951 when the last line was abandoned. The streetcar era came to an end on March 2, 1958. Milwaukee County took over the assets of the Milwaukee & Suburban Transport Company on June 1, 1975.)

In 1905, this Public Service Building became the heart of this empire, with 10 tracks and platforms serving the railroad with an additional three tracks outside the building. The large doors that allowed access are extant although probably inoperable.

Today, the PSB is part of an office complex of WeEnergies, the suppliers of electricity and gas to customers in Wisconsin and electricity to Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 20, 1998
Reference number
Architectural styles
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival: Classical Revival; Late 19th and 20th Century Revival: Beaux Arts
Areas of significance
Transportation; Architecture
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction; A - Event
Property type
Historic functions
Rail-related; Business
Current function
Periods of significance
1925-1949; 1900-1924
Significant years
1902; 1906

Update Log 

  • March 24, 2014: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated Status, Added Photos and Added Description