Doors Open to feature more than 160 sites

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:22 am

Historic Milwaukee, Inc. will unlock more than 160 of metro Milwaukee’s most coveted buildings this weekend when it presents the city’s fourth annual Doors Open event.


Through the weekend event, the general public is invited to explore Milwaukee’s architecture and built-in environment as well as check out buildings that are not very accessible or that sit off the beaten path.

The event “appeals to people’s innate curiosity about their environment,” said Stacy Swadish, executive director of Historic Milwaukee, a nonprofit educational and advocacy organization focused on promoting and preserving Milwaukee’s history and architecture.

This year’s event is slated to be the largest Doors Open that Historic Milwaukee has ever organized for the city. While last year’s tours drew about 20,000 people to about 150 sites, Historic Milwaukee anticipates close to 25,000 visitors between Saturday and Sunday – including 10,000 visitors to the U.S. Bank building’s observation deck.

Since its inception, Doors Open’s attendance has grown steadily by about 20 percent each year, according to Swadish, who took over leadership of Historic Milwaukee in August 2013.

The event has also continued to expand outward, Swadish said, as this year’s tours will be available at locations as far south as Oak Creek.

While tours are largely free, enabling visitors to wander through buildings at their own pace, Doors Open also features an extensive set of $5 in-depth tours at architectural gems like the Historic Mitchell Building, the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, and the Pabst Mansion, and the Milwaukee Club. Other in-depth tours will wind attendees throughout some of Milwaukee’s most colorful neighborhoods.

Additional guided public tours, free but ticketed, will run at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the Jones Island Water Reclamation Facility and the Soldiers Home Historic District, in addition to other sites.

Among the new sites added to Doors Open’s menu of locations are the St. Stanislaus Catholic Church, the St. Mary & St. Antonios Coptic Orthodox Church, and the Milwaukee Gas Light Company’s West Side Works campus.

The entire weekend caters to a broad demographic of residents from across Milwaukee, Wisconsin and outside the state as it draws families, senior citizens, young professionals and beyond, Swadish said.

“I think the great part of this is it appeals to every demographic,” she said.

For a complete lineup of Doors Open buildings and information on guided tours and operation hours, visit

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