The National Soldiers Home Historic District in Milwaukee was recently named one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The National Soldiers Home was created in 1867, just after the Civil War, under the authorization of President Abraham Lincoln. The 90-acre campus, located near Miller Park and the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center, was built to provide care and a place of solitude for U.S. war veterans. Several historic buildings remain at the campus, which is owned by the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, maintenance has been deferred on many of the buildings and they are in poor condition. The Ward Memorial Hall building is in imminent danger of collapse and one portion of the roof of the Old Main building collapsed when a roof truss gave way under the weight of snow, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, said she has fought to make sure the National Soldiers Home is only used to serve veterans and said she is working with the VA and the Department of the Interior to preserve the buildings on the campus.
“These buildings have served veterans since the Civil War. They are a rich part of Wisconsin’s history, and I will keep fighting to see that they remain part of Wisconsin’s legacy,” Moore said. “We have this spot in Milwaukee where those who fought to save our union received care because of legislation under President Lincoln. And now it’s our turn to ensure that those who have fought since then have a home here too.”