U.S. Courthouse & Federal Building

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Built: 1892

Original Architect: Willoughby J. Edbrooke

Challenge

Complement the architectural and historical integrity of the 1899 Richardsonian Romanesque style structure through the restoration of its original decoration.

Solution

Conrad Schmitt Studios was commissioned to conduct an investigation to determine the original interior colors and decorative patterns for the U.S. Courthouse & Federal Building in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. No historic photographs were found to illustrate the original decorative scheme. By carefully removing layers of non-historic paint, original brush strokes were discovered. Color samples were examined microscopically and over 200 stencil patterns were discovered. The results of Conrad Schmitt Studios' investigation provide the only documentation of the original interior and a copy of the Studio's report is retained in the archives of the General Services Administration.

Following the investigation, the Studio was commissioned to execute the restoration of the entire interior scheme, including the dramatic five-story atrium.

The restoration work included stenciling, free-hand highlighting, glazing, gilding and wood refinishing.

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