Milwaukee County School of Agriculture and Domestic Economy Historic District

Abandoned
Also known as: Eschweiler Buildings
9722 Watertown Plank Rd., Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

High School Campus designed by a prominent architect, abandoned in 1928

Photos 

Overview Looking East

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in April 2014

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Map 

Street View 

Description 

This is one of the saddest historical sites in Milwaukee County, at least, to this reporter, it is. My heart goes out to all who have ever thought, worried, plotted or otherwise tried to find a use for these wonderful old buildings.

As difficult as it is to imagine today, at the start of the 20th Century, Milwaukee County was still primarily rural. Milwaukee County established a high school for agricultural and hired the prominent Milwaukee architect, Alexander C. Eschweiler, to design the buildings for the high school campus including an administration building, a dormitory and classrooms. The school opened in 1912.

Sadly, the enrollment never reached projected levels. Even after a growth spurt at the conclusion of the Great War (World War I) by 1928, there was hardly a student population and the school was closed. Only 215 students matriculated from the school in its 16 year history.

The buildings have been more or less abandoned every since. One building was demolished. Snooping around the area is discouraged with No Trespassing signs everywhere, the windows are all boarded up and the doors are bolted. Roads were blocked off - literally - with large blocks that have since been removed but remaining roadways are chained closed.

Several plans for development of the area have been tossed about, but none have ever come to fruition.

In 2010, the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee announced plans to develop the campus into an innovation park. A new road has been constructed across the area. ABB has constructed a large facility on the campus while the Eschweiler buildings remain, as of this writing, untouched.

National Register information 

Status
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on March 19, 1998
Reference number
98000258
Architectural style
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival: Tudor Revival
Areas of significance
Architecture; Education
Level of significance
Local
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
District
Historic function
School
Current function
Business
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1925-1949
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 5

Update Log 

  • May 24, 2017: New Street View added by Michael Miller
  • April 12, 2014: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated Status, Added Photos and Added Description

Sources