Doors Open Milwaukee was an event held this past weekend throughout the whole city of Milwaukee. Attendees had access to over 170 buildings for free, some of these buildings included the US Bank Center and the new Northwestern Mutual Towers and Commons.
On Sunday, I decided to tackle four downtown buildings involved in this event: The Ambassador Hotel, the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center, the Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery and the Brewhouse Inn & Suites.
The Ambassador Hotel was recently renovated in 2004 and restored in 2005, after having the original building be built in 1928.
This hotel was my first stop on my Doors Open Milwaukee adventure and upon visiting my eyes came upon these gorgeous bronze elevator doors.
The original doors were restored back to their 1928 glory and are in full function today. The doors must be pulled open before you enter the elevator and pushed open to leave.
The restoration of this building was done spectacularly and because of this, the original detail can be seen to this day.
My next stop was only a short walk from the Ambassador Hotel, about a block away on Wisconsin Avenue the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center is located.
This stop was a hidden treasure that I had happened to stumble across on the way back to my car. I had thought that since I was in the area that I should at least stop in and see what was in the building.
The Irish Cultural and Heritage Center is home to the Shamrock Club, which is responsible for almost everything Irish in the city.
The Shamrock Club was responsible for starting the first Irish Fest in Milwaukee, which is held annually now.
The center is located inside the former Grand Avenue Congregational Church after buying it in 1996. Within the church section, the old grand piano and organ remain.
As soon as I walked into the building, I was greeted with the welcoming sound of the giant organ being played by Dennis Jon Wolfgang.
The Irish Cultural and Heritage Center was filled with its volunteer staff that helps keep it running. They provided the historical background and history of the center to Doors Open participants.
This little-hidden gem is filled with books that can help people trace their Irish roots, beautiful stain glass work and a rich history of the Irish in Milwaukee.
My last two stops on my own Doors Open exploration were both close to each other, these stops were: The Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery and the Brewhouse Inn & Suites.
The Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery use to be a Milwaukee public school before being bought in 1890.
After it was bought, this former school became Pabst Brewery’s main corporate offices and visitor center. The building was designed and restored to mimic an old German Beer Hall, today there are plans to renovate the second and third floor of the building.
Right across the street from the Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery is the Brewhouse Inn & Suites. This would be my final Doors Open Milwaukee destination.
The Brewhouse Inn & Suites was established in 2013 after being the first Pabst Brewery brewhouse in 1882.
The unique factor of the inn is that the second-floor use to be the Pabst brewing floor. Which is easy to see at a glance since the kettles are still in place.
After wrapping up my Sunday adventure, I realized that Doors Open Milwaukee is a very important event that the city does.
Well, Milwaukee may not have a history that is easy to find in history books, the city does have a past that should be known. One of the ways that the city shows its’ history is with Doors Open Milwaukee.
The event allows the public to experience and see first-hand the rich history that the city has. I would never have known the information that I have learned if I would never have gone to see the buildings.
My only regret this weekend is that I had only managed to visit four of the 170 buildings open to the public.
So, I am lucky that Doors Open Milwaukee is an annual event.