Finding Common Ground

Finding Common Ground

A Wauwatosa-based coalition, dedicated to preserving a delicate natural ecosystem, has aligned itself with the Wisconsin Trust for Historic Preservation in an effort to preserve a portion of the Milwaukee County Grounds that once was home to the Milwaukee County School of Agriculture and Domestic Economy. The building group was designed by Andrew C. Eschweiler, a prominent Milwaukee architect who began his practice in 1890. The school opened in 1912 and provided free agricultural training to students from Milwaukee County. As the City of Milwaukee grew over the next two decades and the county's rural population decreased, enrollments dropped and the cost of running the school became prohibitive. It closed its doors in 1928. The buildings functioned in different capacities over the next many years, including its operation as the Milwaukee County Children's Home in the 1940s; the site has been nearly abandoned for over a decade.

Limited use of the property has contributed to it supporting a biodiversity of plant and animal life, including (most importantly) it being a significant migratory pathway for the monarch butterfly. Its location near the convergence of rivers and its elevation make the site a irreplaceable treasure for Milwaukee County and the State of Wisconsin.

The coalition, comprised of concerned environmental groups, prepared its "County Grounds Preservation Proposal," which promotes the rehabilitation of the Eschweiler buildings and their ongoing low-impact use as part of its over-riding objective of preserving the landscape. The WTHP is proud of its association with the coalition and believes that there is much common ground to be shared with those dedicated to raising environmental awareness. We all are committed to preserving the places that matter.

(Photo courtesy Eddee Daniel)