Cream City Brick is a product of the predominant soil in southeastern Wisconsin, red lacustrine clay. When it was used in the manufacture of bricks, the clay turned a yellowish-cream color when fired. So many structures in the Milwaukee area were built using the bricks that visitors began to call Milwaukee "The Cream City." As a result, the bricks became known as "Cream City Brick."
Johnathon L. Burnham came to Milwaukee in 1818 and with his brother, George, opened a brickyard. The Burnham brothers brickyard was, in its heyday of the early 1880s, the largest brickyard in the world. The Burnhams employed 200 men and made over 15 million bricks per year.
Burnham's Cream City Bricks (and bricks from competing yards) were distributed widely and are commonly found in hundreds of buildings in eastern and southern Wisconsin. Many lighthouses around the Great Lakes were constructed with Cream City Bricks.
As you look at the structures, lighthouses and bridges in Southeastern Wisconsin and the Midwest, you will see many of them are clad with Cream City Brick and many with Lannon Stone. You might also notice many neighboring buildings and homes that use these distinctive materials.