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611- 625 N. Milwaukee Street

PIONEER BUILDING (1864-65/1925-1926)

The core of this building was constructed in 1865 for the Milwaukee Musical Society and  a new façade and interior floors were constructed in 1925-1926. This 1920s façade is considered contributing to the East Side Commercial Historic District.  The Milwaukee Musical Society was established 1850. After its performance space,  Albany Hall, was destroyed by fire on March 1, 1862, they embarked on a subscription drive to build a better auditorium. The Musical Society Hall (also known as the  Academy of Music) was built at today’s 625 N. Milwaukee Street for $60,000 and  opened on January 29, 1865. Local architect Edward Townsend Mix designed the building based on plans initially drawn by a New York architect named Peterson. It was  the first theater in Milwaukee to have an auditorium on the ground floor and was one of  the few in the country used solely for performances and not other commercial activities.  The building was eventually sold to private interests and featured vaudeville acts, some  legitimate theater and even motion pictures. Over time changes were made to the façade.  It was last known as the Schubert Theater.

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