B. Scott Holmes

Just trying to stay alive and keep my sideburns too

Academy of Music, Milwaukee, WI

611- 625 N. Milwaukee Street PIONEER BUILDING (1864-65/1925-1926)

The core of this building was constructed in 1865 for the Milwaukee Musical Society and
a new façade and interior floors were constructed in 1925-1926. This 1920s façade is
considered contributing to the East Side Commercial Historic District.
The Milwaukee Musical Society was established 1850. After its performance space,
Albany Hall, was destroyed by fire on March 1, 1862, they embarked on a subscription
drive to build a better auditorium. The Musical Society Hall (also known as the
Academy of Music) was built at today’s 625 N. Milwaukee Street for $60,000 and
opened on January 29, 1865. Local architect Edward Townsend Mix designed the
building based on plans initially drawn by a New York architect named Peterson. It was
the first theater in Milwaukee to have an auditorium on the ground floor and was one of
the few in the country used solely for performances and not other commercial activities.
The building was eventually sold to private interests and featured vaudeville acts, some
legitimate theater and even motion pictures. Over time changes were made to the façade.
It was last known as the Schubert Theater.

January 28 and 29, 1885

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