Milwaukee-Western Fuel Company’s choice of Tullgren’s design for their new headquarters led to one of Milwaukee’s most sophisticated structures. Tullgren elegantly wedded terra-cotta detailing and Art Deco elements to the machine-inspired aesthetic, producing an interwar masterpiece. The building’s abstract shapes, powerful lines, and exuberant, multicolored masonry are alluring. Repeated black banding introduces a streamlined horizontal motion across the column bases, subtly echoed by the lines of lighter-colored bricks laid into darker brown brick walls. Orange-colored engaged columns dominate the facade, lined up with machine-like regularity. Their strong vertical thrust abruptly terminates in black terra-cotta stripes and grooved orange caps. Decorative details complement Tullgren’s bold shapes, colors, and lines. Bas-relief pictorial panels trace the epic of American coal production. In heroic scenes reminiscent of New Deal–era public art, workers tear the coal from the ground, haul it by truck, train, and barge, and shovel it into the furnace’s raging fire. Less conspicuously, a small black diamond company trademark originally flanked the firm’s name in metal letters above the colonnade. Tullgren’s composition became an impressive advertisement for the company and the industry.
You are here
Izumi’s Restaurant (Milwaukee-Western Fuel Company Building)
If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.
SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.