Chamber of Commerce (Makie) Building, Milwaukee Wisconsin

Date added: October 31, 2009 Categories: Wisconsin Commercial

Imposing example of large commercial structure of of the 1870's, typical of Milwaukee's rapid growth and commercial development following the Civil War. It is also a good example of the prevailing style, which is described in a contemporary document as "simple Italian." It was built originally by Alexander Mitchell under contract with the Chamber of Commerce to occupy the exchange room for twenty years beginning May 1881 at a yearly rental of $3,000.00.

The building is constructed entirely of gray Ohio sandstone with 160' center tower with clock on four faces. Roof is of slate. Window surrounds are elaborate heavy projections with pediments, brackets, and various other motives from the eclectic vocabulary. The entrance door is flanked by granite pillars with figures of "commerce" "bear," and "bull." Actual entrance door has been modernized.

The present interior has been variously modified to serve as an office building. The following description of the original interior is taken from The History of Milwaukee, 1881, "on the first floor, set back 12' from the entrance, was the Exchange room which measured 115' east and west and 60' north and south, and, extended through three stories to a height of 45'. On the south side was an alcove 20' x 60', for the president's desk. Offices for the secretaries, director, etc., together with a visitor's gallery surrounded the Exchange room on the upper floors. All was lighted by a center skylight."