Phister Hotel

Walk 1 – Building 4
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Phister Hotel

424 East Wisconsin Avenue

Architects: Henry C. Koch and Herman J. Esser 1892-1893

The Pfister Hotel is among the last buildings to use the local Wauwatosa Limestone in its construction. The production of Wauwatosa limestone for building stone declined after the mid-1890s for several reasons. The Depression of 1893 resulted in a sharp drop in construction activity for several years. By the time the economy rebounded, other building materials, such as brick and Bedford (Indiana) Limestone, were available at lower prices. In addition, the style in architecture had changed significantly with the smoother finished and abundantly carved ornamentation of the Beaux-Arts style replacing the massiveness and rough finish of the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Bedford limestone, from southwest Indiana quarries, was among the preferred stones of the Beaux-Arts style because it could be carved and dressed easily, it took a smooth finish, and the price was reasonable.

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