The Gas Light Building

626 East Wisconsin Avenue Milwaukee, WI


Designed by the local Eschweiler & Eschweiler firm, the Milwaukee Gas Light Building opened in 1930. It rises 20 stories, to a height of 250 feet and is a staple of Milwaukee's skyline. The building took only a year to complete, with 1000 builders and contractors working around the clock. Easily distinguished by its bronze sunburst motif and the graduated setbacks of the upper floors, it is the city's most notable example of the Art Deco style. The fade in brick color towards the top was a deliberate decision, intended to give the impression of a much larger structure.

During the 1950s, the iconic weather flame was added to the building. The flame serves as a guiding light for vessels on Lake Michigan, as well as a broadcasting mechanism for the upcoming weather forecast. In recent years the building underwent a significant amount of restoration. The current owner has done much to correct previous renovations-gone-wrong and much of the building's original aesthetic value has returned.

A personal favorite of mine since childhood, I never tire of gazing up at this building. Whenever I've been away for the weekend, I don't feel like I'm home until I spot the Gas Light Building in the skyline. To find out more about the building, the weather flame, or the Eschweiler & Eschweiler firm, read my entries in the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee. The site recently went live, so check back regularly if they're not up yet! emke.uwm.edu

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