East Side Commercial Historic District

Roughly bounded by E. Wells St., N. Jefferson St. and N. Broadway, Michigan and E. Clybourn, and N. Water Sts., Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Large commercial district in downtown Milwaukee filled with architectural gems


The Mackie Building, also known as the Chamber of Commerce Building, and the Mitchel Building anchor the historic district. Adjacent on East Michigan Avenue, the ornate buildings were both built by Alexander Mitchell, both are listed on the NRHP by themselves.

The first entries have captions taken from the City of Milwaukee Historic Designation Study Report.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in June 2014



Street Views 


The City of Milwaukee marked this area as a historic district and published a report several years ago. The City of Milwaukee vision of the district is considerably smaller than the area that became the NRHP listing.

A City of Milwaukee document that recommended that the east side commercial area be designated a historic district outlines about 5 square blocks. It defines several buildings in this area that make it a historic district, some of them are on the NRHP themselves.

The ultimate NRHP listing of this historic district includes 57 buildings that reside in roughly 18 square blocks, although the eastern boundaries of the area are a bit fuzzy. No doubt, however, the NRHP district includes the 5 square blocks defined by the City of Milwaukee.

The eastern side of the Milwaukee River was settled by Solomon Juneau and was known as Juneautown. It was one of three 19th Century communities, Juneautown, Kilbourntown and Walkers Point, that would merge in 1846 to become the City of Milwaukee. Byron Kilbourn laid out his street grid to not line up with Juneautown, his lasting legacy is bridges that cross the river at a skewed angle.

The East Side Commercial Historic District encompasses a large portion of the original Juneautown.

The first entries have captions taken from the City of Milwaukee Historic Designation Study Report.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on September 23, 1986
Reference number
Architectural styles
Mid 19th Century Revival: Exotic Revival; Victorian: Renaissance; Victorian: Italianate
Areas of significance
Commerce; Architecture; Social History; Performing Arts
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1875-1899; 1850-1874; 1925-1949
Significant year
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 56
Non-contributing buildings: 7

Update Log 

  • January 31, 2018: New Street View added by Michael Miller
  • July 13, 2014: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • June 22, 2014: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • June 16, 2014: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated Status, Added Photos and Added Description

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