Milwaukee Exposition Building

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Burned 1905

The Disappointed Tourist: Milwaukee Exposition Building, Ellen Harvey, 2023. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

The Milwaukee Industrial Exposition Building opened in 1881 as one of Milwaukee’s most spectacular buildings. Designed by Walter Holbrook of E. Townsend Mix Architects, the structure was a myriad of arches, windows, and spires and housed such varied spaces as a 6,000 seat music hall, a bicycle track, a fish hatchery and a massive organ. It was constructed entirely with private funds and was never profitable. The most notable event held there was the 1882 Grand Union Dairy Fair which included cabins made entirely of cheese. The Exposition Building was destroyed by fire during a skat card tournament on June 4, 1905. It was replaced by the Milwaukee Auditorium. This painting was based on a old uncredited postcard.

Requested by Anon.