On Sunday, September 21, 50 people had a unique opportunity to experience an invaluable historical asset to the nation – The Milwaukee Soldiers Home on the grounds of the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center.
The Milwaukee Preservation Alliance (MPA) teamed with the Milwaukee VA Medical Center to offer two “behind the scenes” tours as part of the fourth annual Doors Open Milwaukee. Doors Open Milwaukee provides rare access to more than 150 Milwaukee buildings, free-of-charge to the public. Each building boasts “hidden treasures” and “special stories.”
The Soldiers Home is no exception! The Milwaukee Soldiers Home is one of the three original Soldiers Homes in the country – facilities built to care for returning Civil War veterans – with some of the oldest buildings in the VA system. This was the second year that a Soldiers Home tour was available through Doors Open Milwaukee and the demand was high. People lined up for free tickets and they were gone in less than 10 minutes.
Tour participants, including veterans and some who had traveled from across the state, were enthralled with the historic buildings. They were also interested in the future of the District and, more specifically, its vacant buildings. This weekend was an excellent opportunity to share the Soldiers Home story with the public, provide an update on the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance’s progress toward helping the VA return the District’s vacant buildings to the service of veterans and raise awareness of one of Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s “hidden jewels.”
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