Aerial of Milwaukee Soldiers Home

photo by: Mark Fay

National Treasures

Milwaukee VA Soldiers Home

  • Constructed: 1867
  • Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Since 1867, the Milwaukee VA Soldiers Home campus has provided care to veterans throughout the region. Though many of the Soldiers Home buildings remain in use, three of the largest and most visible – Old Main, Ward Memorial Hall, and Home Chapel – are currently unoccupied with roofs in danger of collapse. The buildings could be lost unless they are restored to support veterans’ needs.

A community advisory council has formed to help save the Milwaukee Soldiers Home. This group includes members from the veteran, preservation, and historical communities, as well as representatives of neighborhoods, associations, and organizations. The council has created a consensus report that describes the most critical veteran needs and how vacant Soldiers Home buildings could be used to meet those needs. The report is being shared with Veterans Administration personnel in charge of the site.

The Milwaukee Soldiers Home National Historic Landmark District is one of three remaining original Soldiers Homes in the country. It is an outstanding representation of the development of a national system of medical and residential benefits for disabled veterans. The homes were designed as places of refuge and recuperation for physically and mentally disabled soldiers who had survived the Civil War.

The Milwaukee Soldiers Home contains some of the oldest buildings in the VA system, and the majority of its recuperative village and designed landscape is still intact. Old Main is the only original Soldiers Home building in the country designed to combine multiple basic veteran care functions under one roof. The Milwaukee Soldiers Home is beloved by veterans who believe its recuperative powers should remain accessible to aging Vietnam vets and returning Iraq and Afghanistan vets suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.

Campaign Goals

  • Create and fund a plan that will identify how to best reuse the vacant Soldiers Home buildings and how much it will cost to restore them.
  • Find interested parties who can restore the buildings to provide services and treatment for veterans.


Save and reuse vacant buildings at the historic Soldiers Home to meet the needs of today’s veterans.

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