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Rufus King High School

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1932, Guy W. Wiley and Milwaukee School Board Staff Architects. 1801 W. Olive St.
  • (Photograph by Andrew Hope)
  • (Photograph by Andrew Hope)
  • (Photograph by Andrew Hope)

Built at a time when the Great Depression delayed much construction activity, this Art Moderne high school testifies to the ingenuity and frugality of its designers and builders. The U-shaped building has an impressive, robust character distinct from the Collegiate Gothic and vaguely classical styles typically employed for Milwaukee’s school buildings during the 1920s and 1930s. The large, soaring central tower with its setback piers and vertical emphasis is a feature common to many Art Moderne public and institutional buildings. Local artists embellished the tower with floral, foliated, and zigzag patterns and classical figures. The school honors an early Milwaukee School Board president named for his grandfather, Rufus King, a signer of the U.S. Constitution.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Rufus King High School", [Milwaukee, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 128-128.

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