If you’ve seen fencing going up around some of the buildings on the Milwaukee Soldiers Home Grounds, don’t be alarmed…
These aren’t preparations for demolition or any other scary things that could happen to the buildings. At a recent meeting at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center, VA personnel advised a number of us representing historic preservation organizations/agencies that due to break-ins at the vacant buildings in the historic district, they felt they needed to secure Old Main (Building 2), Ward Memorial Hall (Building 41) and Soldiers Chapel (Building 12).
The VA has committed that these are temporary measures that will help protect the buildings from further intrusions and any potential damage to the buildings that could result. The fencing will also protect staging areas for upcoming work on these buildings.
Some other work planned for the Soldiers Home Historic District that has been reviewed and approved by the architects at the Wisconsin State Historic Preservation Office includes:
Repairs to the roofs of Building 2 (Old Main) and Building 41 (Ward Memorial Hall) should begin no later than the end of September or early October.
Preparation for construction of two to four new assisted living facilities – GreenhouseTM buildings – should begin in July. (For more details, see the Save the Soldiers Home e-newsletter.)
Drain tile was installed around the basement of Building 4 (Recreation Building) to prevent water infiltration.
A non-historic smokestack will be demolished.
Interior-only changes to Building 102 (Laundry) will be made to accommodate a change from laundry use to sanitizing instruments for the VA hospital.
We will let you know of other construction activity in the Soldiers Home Historic District as it is approved by the WI State Historic Preservation Office.