Lannon Stone

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Many structures in Southeastern Wisconsin, especially in the Milwaukee area, are constructed with materials known as "Lannon Stone" and "Cream City Brick." Milwaukee, in fact, is known as "The Cream City" but it has nothing to do with Wisconsin's reputation as "America's Dairyland."

Lannon Stone is actually dolomite. It's a type of limestone that runs through The Niagara Escarpment, which runs underneath most of the Great Lakes. In an area northwest of Milwaukee, in Waukesha County, the stone was found right on the surface. Settlers built thick-walled homes from the stone that they just lifted from the surface.

William Lannon was one of those settlers, and he recognized an opportunity to quarry and sell the stone. Quarries sprang up around an area surrounding "Lannon Springs" and the limestone that was quarried there became known as "Lannon Stone." (Today, stone homes are actually frame structures covered with a veneer of Lannon Stone.)



State Historical Marker in the Village of Lannon.

Many structures and bridges in Southeastern Wisconsin were built as PWA, CCC and WPA projects in the depression era and were clad with a veneer of Lannon Stone.

The famous stone was also shipped to locations around the midwest.

Lannon Stone was widely used in the construction of structures in the Milwaukee County Parks. It is still widely used today, and over on the Bridge Hunter Milwaukee County bridge listings, you will find some modern bridges, as well as replacement bridges, that are clad in Lannon Stone.

Cream City Brick can also be found in many Milwaukee area structures, including bridges. The soil in southeastern Wisconsin is 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."

Cream City Bricks were distributed widely. Many lighthouses around the Great Lakes and buildings in Chicago, were constructed with Cream City Bricks.

As you look at the bridges and landmarks in Southeastern Wisconsin, you will see many of them are clad with Lannon Stone and some with Cream City Brick. You might also notice many buildings and homes, in the background, that use these distinctive materials.


Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Station (Des Moines County, Iowa)
Streamline design station, clad with Wisconsin Lannon Stone, built in 1943 and still in use
Cyrus Davis Farmstead (Waukesha County, Wisconsin)
Davis, Cyrus--Davis Brothers Farmhouse (Waukesha County, Wisconsin)
Private residence, Lannon Stone Farmhouse from mid-19th Century
Old Waukesha County Courthouse (Waukesha County, Wisconsin)
Romanesque couthouse, clad in Lannon stone, now serving as a museum.
Pokrandt Blacksmith Shop (Waukesha County, Wisconsin)
Free standing, two story structure with fašade clad with Lannon stone.
St. Matthias Episcopal Church (Waukesha County, Wisconsin)
Gothic Revival Church clad with Lannon Stone
Thomas Camp Farmhouse (Waukesha County, Wisconsin)
Private residence, Lannon Stone Farmhouse from mid-19th Century
Village Park Bandstand (Waukesha County, Wisconsin)
Octagonal Bandstand with Lannon Stone Foundation