The Save the Soldiers Home Project is a local initiative and partnership between the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance, Inc. (MPA) and the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) to create awareness, rouse interest and build public support at the local level for the restoration and reuse of the Milwaukee Soldiers Home Historic District. The two organizations have been working closely for several years, but the momentum for the project was bolstered following the roof collapse at the rear wing of Old Main in February of 2010.
Subsequently, MPA nominated the Soldiers Home to be listed on the National Trust’s 11 Most Endangered List, a nomination it received in the summer of 2011. The same year, the National Park Service (NPS) designated the Milwaukee Soldiers Home a National Historic Landmark, the highest honor the NPS can bestow on places of national significance. In 2012, the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated the Milwaukee Soldiers Home a National Treasure.
Behind the Scenes:
Since the roof collapse in the rear wing of Old Main, a collaboration of local, regional and national stakeholders have been galvanized to work with the VA to find a solution for the stabilization, maintenance, restoration and reuse of the historic buildings in the Milwaukee Soldiers Home Historic District. These organizations and agencies have been working behind the scenes for several years to effect change in the VA’s treatment and perception of the value of these historic and cultural assets. Amongst these preservation partners are the Wisconsin State Historic Preservation Office, National Park Service, Advisory Council for Historic Preservation, Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission and Milwaukee Preservation Alliance.
As the local partner in this collaborative, Milwaukee Preservation Alliance understands the significance of the Milwaukee Soldiers Home to veterans as well as the Milwaukee community. Accordingly, MPA and the National Trust for Historic Preservation organized the Community Advisory Council to communicate the work that is going on behind the scenes and solicit feedback from community members and stakeholders and accurately represent the Milwaukee community. The CAC includes members from veteran groups, preservation organizations, representatives of neighborhood associations and civic and government leaders.
MPA continues to build awareness of the Milwaukee Soldiers Home and its value to Milwaukee, to Wisconsin and to the nation. The community is a part of the solution. You can help this project in various ways—visit the Save the Soldiers Home website, share your story, sign up for email updates, download the new Milwaukee Soldiers Home audio walking tour app or support MPA’s effort to install Soldiers Home signage. Make the connection between the history and the experience; visit the Soldiers Home—reflect on what it means to you—and share that story with others.