WTHP meet-up at the historic Pabst Brewery

Blue Ribbon Hall at Best place. Matt Jarosz talks about the Historic Tax Credit program. 

Blue Ribbon Hall at Best place. Matt Jarosz talks about the Historic Tax Credit program. 

The cavernous speakeasy on the lower level of Best Place.

The cavernous speakeasy on the lower level of Best Place.

The Wisconsin Trust for Historic Preservation held a social gathering at Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery on Tuesday. About 40 people came to drink beer, meet new board members, learn about Wisconsin's Historic Tax Credit program, and have a tour of unfinished areas of the massive building with the Jim Haertel, the mastermind behind the rehabilitation. 

Our new President, Jason Tish talked about recent activities. Board Member, and professor of Architecture and Urban Planning at UWM presented some findings from a recent statewide study of the state Historic Tax Credit program.

Then we all took a tour of some dark and dirty areas of the 1880 building, part of the sprawling former Pabst Brewery complex. 

Jim Haertel and his team offer great "Beer History Tours" on a regular schedule.  Best Place (named for brewery founder Jacob Best, the brewery was later purchased by Frederick Pabst), is a historic rehabilitation success story that was financed in large part with the state and federal Historic Tax Credit programs. Wisconsin recently increased the state credit from 5% to 20% of qualified rehabilitation expenditures. Haertel says the project would likely not have happened without the program. Now, Best Place is positioned to be a significant component in a complex of publicly accessible venues closely associated with Milwaukee's important brewing heritage. 

WTHP Meets for Mentoring Session with Michigan Historic Preservation Network

L-R - Matt Jarosz, Sarah Zaske, Annemarie Sawkins, Jason Tish, Anna-Marie Opgenorth, Nancy Finegood, Mark Ernst, Gene Hackbarth, Janet Kreger.

L-R - Matt Jarosz, Sarah Zaske, Annemarie Sawkins, Jason Tish, Anna-Marie Opgenorth, Nancy Finegood, Mark Ernst, Gene Hackbarth, Janet Kreger.

The board of Wisconsin Trust for Historic Preservation (WTHP) was recently awarded a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Peter H. Brink Leadership Fund.   The grant funded a two-day mentoring session with the Michigan Historic Preservation Network. Michigan's statewide preservation advocacy group is a mature organization that offers a wide range of programming.  Nancy Finegood, MHPN Executive Director, and Janet Kreger, founding member and super-volunteer, traveled to Milwaukee’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning September 5-6 to offer ideas and insights on successful advocacy and programming.

Discussion focused on MPHN’s programming, staffing, governance, and communications.  MHPN also advised the WTHP board on strategies to establish work plans and expand long-term goals.  The board came away from the session with renewed energy and enthusiasm. The WTHP board resolved to become a lighter and more focused organization advocating for statewide polices that encourage conservation of Wisconsin's historic places, and supporting local preservation groups throughout the state.

Wisconsin’s Historic Post Offices

Recently, the National Trust for Historic Preservation unveiled its annual list of “11 Most Endangered Places.” This diverse list highlights threatened historic resources located throughout the United States. One entry in particular, Historic Post Office Buildings, caught my attention.

It is no secret that the U.S. Postal Service has faced many challenges in recent years. In order to cut costs, the USPS proposed closing around 4,000 post offices nationwide, including many in Wisconsin. The prospect of closures, coupled with deferred maintenance on many functioning post offices, leaves many of these neighborhood mainstays facing an uncertain future. (Visit SaveThePostOffice.com for more information.)

According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s website:

Local post office buildings have traditionally played an essential role in the lives of millions of Americans. Many are architecturally distinctive, prominently located, and cherished as civic icons in communities across the country. Unless the U.S. Postal Service establishes a clear, consistent process that follows federal preservation law when considering disposal of these buildings, a significant part of the nation’s architectural heritage will be at risk.

Please consider nominating a threatened post office in your community to the Wisconsin Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2012 “Ten Places to Save List.” More information about the program, including a link to the nomination form, can be found on the Wisconsin Trust’s website www.wipreservation.org.

Historic Preservation Awards | Nomination Form

The Wisconsin Historical Society invites nominations of exemplary projects that have restored or preserved a part of the Wisconsin's historical, architectural, archaeological or cultural heritage. Two awards will be given each year, one for historic restoration and one for historic preservation.


  • Property must be in Wisconsin

  • Nominated work must have been done in the last two years and must be completed

  • Property must be listed on or be determined eligible for the State Register of Historic Places or be listed in a certified municipal register of historic properties

Please complete the form below or download this PDF and mail to the address at the bottom of this page.

Please attach the following and email to info@wipreservation.org.

  1. Description of the project in 500 words or less. Describe any special restoration or preservation techniques, research or difficult problems that were overcome. If property was threatened, identify  the type and degree of the threat to the property. Note any special efforts or plans to ensure the future protection of the property. [formbuilder:2]

  2. Please email four to ten color slides or digital images showing the historic property before and after the project was completed to info@wipreservation.org. Digital images must be at least 300dpi and 480X600 pixels. No materials will be returned and we reserve the right to use the images in publications, web sites and databases.

  3. Copies of historic photographs of property if available can also be emailed to info@wipreservation.org. Please site the source of the photographs. If the property is not listed on the State or National Register, attach documentation showing property was determined eligible for listing on the Registers by the Wisconsin Historical Society, or that the property is listed on a certified municipal register.

  4. If neither of these is the case, but you believe the property is eligible for listing on the State or National Register, please complete and attach a National Register Questionnaire (available here).

  5. Other documentation, such as magazine or newspaper clippings, photographs or brochures that support or explain the achievements of the nominee.

Nomination form and supporting material can be mailed to:

Historic Preservation and Restoration Awards Committee Division of Historic Preservation - Public History Wisconsin Historical Society, 816 State St. Madison, WI 53706

The Nurses Dormitory at Lake View Sanatorium

Lake View Hill Park was established as a Dane County park in 2004 in an attempt to conserve the significant natural and cultural resources associated with the former Lake View Sanatorium. Lake View Sanatorium operated as a tuberculosis sanatorium from 1930 until 1966 in Madison, Wisconsin.


As part of the Wisconsin county system of sanatoria, Lake View played an important role in providing education, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation for TB patients in Dane County. When planning for the institution, a great amount of attention was given to the selection of the site, and the beauty of the setting and grounds. The medical approach to treating tuberculosis included extensive bed rest, exposure to fresh air and sunshine, and a diet consisting of plenty of meat, fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. The emphasis on fresh air and sunshine meant that the buildings, site design, and surrounding landscape were considered vital factors in the recovery of patients.


Throughout the country, practitioners applied a similar approach in developing facilities for the treatment of TB, emphasizing the location and design of sanatoria to maximize exposure to outdoors. The effect of tuberculosis on our society has been dramatic, and yet most of us know very little about it. The story is tangible at Lake View.

Adaptive Use & Efforts of Preservation

Although the Sanatorium closed in 1966, the majority of the buildings and landscape have continued to be owned and used by Dane County. Adaptive use of the landscape as a county park and ecological restoration area has been successful. Continued use of the buildings by the Dane County Department of Health and Human Services has preserved them on site and provided pleasant office space.


Unfortunately, the Nurses Dormitory is the exception to this story. In 1984 the county ceased active use of the 20,000 square foot historic dormitory at the property. Since that time, the building has been used for storage. Maintenance has been minimal, and the roof is currently leaking.

Efforts to determine a feasible use of the building, by the county, have been unsuccessful. The county has budgeted funds for demolition of the building in the current fiscal year. In an effort to preserve this important part of the historic landscape at Lake View, the Friends of Lake View Hill Park have sought to find a partner to develop the building for a use that is compatible with the surrounding neighborhood, park, and current use.

You can learn more at:


The "New" Wisconsin Trust


While we are busy planning events to bring together former members with a new generation of Wisconsin citizens concerned with historic preservation, we need to keep a focus on what unites us. While there have been gigantic leaps in the methodology of historic preservation over the past decades, the landscape has changed markedly. With more groups competing for scarcer resources, we have come to rely increasingly on the private sector to revitalize our historic buildings and neighborhoods. While study upon study has shown that historic preservation makes economic sense, that is not enough of a catalyst to motivate developers to rehabilitate the old in favor of building new.

Historic preservation is inextricably tied to environmental sustainability, which is becoming an increasingly widespread core value in our society. As advocates for historic preservation, we need to work to achieve a similar status for our cause. We must make the retention and rehabilitation of our significant historic structures and sites the norm, rather than the result of a series of hard-fought battles.

While the Trust plans to work with communities across the state to save the places that matter to all of us, the ultimate goal of the "New" Trust is that historic preservation become more of a commonplace standard in the ongoing development of our communities.