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Fischer, Joan (ed.) / Wisconsin Academy review
Volume 51, Number 3 (Summer 2005)

Hayes, Paul G.
Hallowed ground,   pp. 29-36


Page 29

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It's within spitting distance of Miller Park. Cars whiz past it on 1-94.
But many area 
residents don't even know about Soldiers Home, a veterans' hospital and respite
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feel of a 
worlds apart from modern life. Plans are afoot to preserve it as a 
An evening sun illuminates the towers of the main domiciliary (1869). the
signature building of the 
Soldiers Home, which once housed as many as 1,000 veterans. In addition,
it held the dining hall and 
administrative offices. It was designed by Milwaukee architect William Townsend
Mix and is an 
example of Second Empire Victorian work. At that time, Soldiers Home was
located out in the coun- 
try, and Milwaukee residents would catch a trolley or train to spend a day
picnicking, visiting vet- 
erans, or seeing a performance in the theater there. 
RISING FROM HIGH GROUND IN THE VERY CENTER OF MILWAUKEE COUNTY, the 
Gothic Revival tower of a building called the main domiciliary at the National
Soldiers Home looks out in four directions. When it was built in 1869 it
dominated 
a largely rural landscape. The city of Milwaukee lay a few miles to the east
and 
only farms or crossroads settlements were nearby. 
By the 1890s, the domiciliary stood at the focus of what Marquette University
history professor James Marten called "a stately village" occupying
400 acres. The 
village had a hospital and convalescent wards, a library, an elegant theater,
a multi- 
STOR AN PHTO BY PAU G.HAE 
WISCONSIN  ACADEMY  REVIEW  SUMMER  2005  29 
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