Renamed in honor of Israel’s first female prime minister, who was a pupil here between 1906 and 1912, the former Fourth Street School exemplifies Romanesque Revival styling. The exterior is noteworthy for its prominent round arches and steeply pitched roofs, above a rough-faced limestone base. Inside, wooden wainscoting warms the halls and many of the rooms, and simple incised woodwork trims the door jambs and window openings. The third-floor gymnasium windows retain their original stained glass insets. The four-story, H-shaped school was one of twenty-six new buildings constructed during a decade of unprecedented growth in Milwaukee’s school system.
The building is most significant for its association with Golda Meir’s formative years. Golda Mabovitch was born in 1898 in Ukraine, and her family settled in the Jewish neighborhood at the southern end of Brewer’s Hill in 1906. She graduated as class valedictorian here and later attended the state teachers’ college (now the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee), joined the Labor Zionist movement, married Morris Meyerson (the surname later Hebraized to Meir) in 1917, and moved to Palestine in 1921. She embarked on a political career in 1947, becoming prime minister of Israel from 1969 to 1974. In 1969, Meir visited her girlhood school on her only trip back to Milwaukee.