During Doors Open Milwaukee 2016 in mid-September, I visited 15 sites and took nearly 1,000 pictures. I shared a sneak peek in my September highlights post as well as a brief narrative of the full two days over on Niume. Now I’m sharing longer posts covering a few of the sites.
My first two longer posts highlighted Calvary Cemetery and Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. Today I’m highlighting the Tripoli Shrine. Modeled after the Taj Mahal in India, it’s been an iconic Milwaukee institution since 1928. The Shriners are best known for their silly side, with regular colorful appearances in parades, complete with uniforms, bands, and clowns. They also support 22 specialized pediatric hospitals, which offer burn care and orthopedic services.
There is so much attention to detail in the Tripoli Shrine construction. Right down to the door plates, each element in the building is customized and fitting with the overall design.
Every single tile in the Tripoli Shrine is hand placed. The work is intricate and flawlessly done.
There are quite a few unique artifacts around the building as well.
The Shriners had several tiny cars on the premises for people to sit in and pose for pictures. So much fun.
During Doors Open Milwaukee 2016 in mid-September, I visited 15 sites and took nearly 1,000 pictures. I shared a sneak peek in my September highlights post as well as a brief narrative of the two full days over on Niume. Now I’m sharing longer posts covering a few of the sites.
My first longer post highlighted Calvary Cemetery. Today I’m highlighting Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. It’s a little-known fact that the church is designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright has roots in both Wisconsin and Illinois. As such, Wright buildings and tours are promoted heavily in both states. But Annunciation isn’t discussed nearly as often as more iconic Wright buildings, such as Taliesin and the Oak Park home and studio. I had been to the church once as a kid but hadn’t been back since. I don’t ever find myself in that area of town so I’d never even driven by it during my time in Milwaukee. As it is a bit out of the way, I had to allow a big block of time for it during Doors Open, but it was well worth it.
Annunciation gave talks on the hour, spending half an hour talking about the church’s history and the changes in the Greek Orthodox church over the past 60 years or so. Then Doors Open attendees had half an hour to ask questions and explore the church on their own before the next tour began. I knew next to nothing about the architecture and construction of Annunciation or the history of the Greek Orthodox church. Needless to say, the talk was fascinating.
The light fixtures are undeniably one of the coolest aspects of Annunciation. I could have taken dozens of pictures of them.
Frank Lloyd Wright incorporates as many functional building elements as possible into the building’s design. The cross is actually one of the church’s heating / air-conditioning vents.
I took this picture right before leaving the church. It’s one of my favorite shots from the entire weekend.
Doors Open Milwaukee 2016 took place in mid-September, and it was amazing as always. We were blessed with beautiful weather both days, high 70s and sunny. I made it to 15 sites and took nearly 1,000 pictures. I shared a sneak peek in my September highlights post. I also shared a short narrative of the full two days with a few more pictures over at Niume. Over the next couple months, I’ll be sharing longer posts here with more pictures of a few of the sites.
Today I’m starting with Calvary Cemetery. I have driven by the cemetery dozens of times but had only stopped to take pictures once before, several years back. The only time I’ve ever seen the abandoned chapel on the property open to the public is during Doors Open Milwaukee. I was really sorry I missed it during the 2015 event and made it a priority to get there in 2016.
Not surprisingly, as the oldest existing Roman Catholic cemetery in Milwaukee, there is so much history packed into this modestly sized cemetery. The chapel dates all the way back to 1899. It would be amazing if more people got to experience it in full. However, I’m also glad that it’s so well preserved. If it were open to the public all the time, it would be covered in graffiti and would have suffered much more damage.
After touring the chapel, I spent nearly 45 minutes checking out the exterior and wandering through the rest of the cemetery.
I absolutely love the gate at Calvary Cemetery.
Finally, Calvary Cemetery offers my second favorite view of the Milwaukee skyline. (My favorite view, and undeniably one of the best views in the entire city, is from South Shore Park.)
This coming weekend, September 17 and 18, 2016 has arguably one of the best events in Milwaukee: Doors Open Milwaukee. For two days, more than 150 buildings in the city open their doors to the public free of charge. You can visit churches, government buildings, museums, art studios, theaters, hotels, and more. The event also includes ticketed tours and family activities, including Family Passport. It’s truly a one of a kind opportunity to explore the fantastic city of Milwaukee for free.
If you’re brand new to Doors Open, I recommend starting downtown at the U.S. Bank building or City Hall and then exploring other Doors Open sites in the downtown area, as there are many located in this region. If you’ve been to previous Doors Open weekends, I recommend studying the building list and making a game plan ahead of time so you’re sure to hit a few new sites.
Here are a few peeks of some of my favorite sites from the past two Doors Open weekends. Please keep in mind that the buildings list changes from year to year. As of publishing this post, with the exception of the Avalon Theater, all of the sites featured here will be open for 2016, but this is subject to change at any time without notice.
Basilica of St. Josaphat, another must see Doors Open location. If you’ve never been in the Basilica, use Doors Open as an excuse to take in the magnificent architecture and learn a little of its history.
Bay View Printing Company. Please pay the printing company a visit in 2016. It is such a neat business, and the staff is very friendly.
Milwaukee skyline from one of the rooftops in Walker’s Point. There are multiple Walker’s Point buildings that open up their rooftop levels during Doors Open.
Inside 88Nine Radio Milwaukee. You can tour the majority of the building and visit the rooftop garden during Doors Open.
The 6th annual Doors Open Milwaukee runs 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18, 2016. The website features the full list of participating buildings and ticketed tours. Don’t forget to tag your images #DoorsOpenMilwaukee on Twitter and Instagram and explore the hashtag throughout the weekend.
Are there any Doors Open sites you’re looking forward to visiting in 2016?
Feel free to leave them in the comments!