This month’s ‘Spot a Clock’ is the Public Service Building clock, located at 231 West Michigan Avenue in Milwaukee. Designed by Milwaukee architect Herman J. Esser, the building was completed in 1905. The building served as the Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company’s main office, central terminal, and training facility.
The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company merged with the Wisconsin Electric Power Company in 1941. The transportation portions of the business were sold in the 1950s. The building continues in its role of supporting Milwaukee’s utilities, as it is the current head-quarters for We Energies.
The building was designed in the Beaux Arts Neoclassical style. A large clock is prominently featured above the main entrance. Medallions to the right and left of the clock provide the date that horse-drawn trolleys were first used by the company (1895) and the date electric trolleys began operation (1905).
The ornate neoclassical style of the building exterior is carried inside to the lobby and 2-story atrium. The building also served another historic role in Milwaukee. A plaque on the south side of the building commemorates a meeting held in 1919 establishing the Wisconsin department of the American Legion. The building is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places.