Gone Grove? Why Many Milwaukeeans Want To Preserve Dan Kiley's Chestnut Trees

Feb 14, 2019

It's under a foot of snow right now so no one’s spending any time there. But that doesn’t mean the Dan Kiley-designed grove of chestnut trees along the south side of the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts is out of the spotlight.

A little history: In December, the Marcus Center unveiled renovation plans for their entire complex; plans which included the destruction of the grove, which was put in 50 years ago when the Marcus Center was being built.

READ: Milwaukee Commission Considers Marcus Center For Historic Designation

Public reaction to the possible loss of the chestnut trees was swift. The opposition was strong enough to cause Milwaukee’s Historic Preservation Commission to vote to consider the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts and its grounds for historic designation. That effectively puts a halt to any restoration work, including destroying the grove, until a decision is made about historic status.

Mary Louise Schumacher is the former art and architecture critic for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and her last major feature for the paper was about the grove of trees and its importance. She joins us to talk about the significance of the building and the grove: