Conference Stories | White Elm Nursery – Hartland, WI

The following excerpt was presented by the Wisconsin Trust for Historic Preservation at the 2013 Local History and Historic Preservation Conference in early October. This excerpt is the thirdin a series of eight stories we will publish to the WTHP blog over the next few weeks. Please check back often for more. You can find the whole series here.


The 1929 White Elm Nursery, designed by prominent Milwaukee architectural firm Eschweiler and Eschweiler, is a scholarly example of the Tudor Revival Style applied to an unusual building type. The first floor of the building housed office and retail space for the nursery, while the upstairs was living quarters for the property’s caretaker. A large brick chimney stack on the south facade serviced the boiler that provided steam power for the nursery. The building and its associated structures functioned as a nursery and greenhouse for almost 75 years. In 1986, White Elm Nursery was determined eligible for inclusion in the National Register Multiple Property Listing for Hartland. It is currently bank-owned and threatened with demolition for a proposed 36-unit apartment complex. The Hartland Historical Society is encouraging the owner and developer to search for creative solutions to retain and restore the Tudor Revival building.

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Eschweiler Update: Developer Stands By Stance to Raze Historic Buildings

The debate around the Eschweiler Buildings has waged back and forth for the past few months with the latest stance coming from Barry Mandel, the site's developer. Mandel believes razing the historic buidlings are the only workable course of action for the property. An excerpt from Jim Price's article has more of the story:

After a month of pondering alternatives, Barry Mandel, who wants to buy and redevelop the Eschweiler Campus on the County Grounds, repeated Wednesday that he would need to demolish three out of four historic buildings for his plan to work.

But preservationists were out in force to condemn any course that failed to preserve the buildings as a group, which they said has always been Wauwatosa's intention and official position.

Mandel, president of Mandel Group, with lead staff and consultants, made a second presentation Wednesday night to the Wauwatosa Historic Preservation Commission, after first coming to the panel on May 3. No formal proposal was made then or now, and no action was contemplated by the commission, but the message was strong.

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Help Save the Wauwatosa Eschweiler Buildings

URGENT – Please plan to attend the May 3, 2012 Wauwatosa Historic PreservationCommission meeting! The project developer may present a proposal to demolish four of the 1912 buildings. We need people on-hand to defend these architecturally and historically significant buildings and support their re-use as part of the site’s overall development plan.

The Tudor Revival Style buildings were designed by Alexander Eschweiler for the Milwaukee County School of Agriculture and Domestic Economy. All of the remaining buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


7:00 p.m.

COMMITTEE ROOM #2 Wauwatosa City Hall 7725 W. North Ave.

  • New Business

  • Approval of meeting minutes

  • Eschweiler Buildings Redevelopment Update – Initial discussion of proposed plans