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Preserving the Eschweilers

Credit Susan Bence
Fine art photographer & writer Eddee Daniel hopes his exploration of the Milwaukee County Grounds will help preserve as much unclaimed open space and habitat as possible.

A group of historic preservationists and environmentalists will gather tonight at the Wauwatosa Public Library for what organizers hope will be a lively discussion. The central theme is the fate of the Eschweiler Buildings – four magnificent but crumbling structures that reside on the Milwaukee County Grounds. They occupy a large sweep of open space northeast of what is an otherwise congested Hwy 45 and Watertown Plank Road intersection.

"The Eschweilers" – so named for architect Alexander Eschweiler - were built in 1912 to house the county agriculture school. Over the years the compound housed various tenants, including the regional DNR staff. Two years ago the UWM Real Estate Foundation purchased some 80 acres - including the historic buildings. Early plans called for bringing the Eschweilers back to life. Now developers believe preservation would come at too steep a cost and raised the idea of saving only one of the four buildings, while tearing down the rest.

WUWM Environmental Reporter Susan Bence spoke with Milwaukee-based fine art photographer and writer Eddee Daniel. His new book is called The Milwaukee County Grounds: Island of Hope. Next Wednesday, the Wauwatosa Historic Preservation Commission is slated to discuss the fate of the Eschweiler buildings on the county grounds.

Susan is WUWM's environmental reporter.<br/>