Spot A Clock: Building 1, National Soldiers Home Historic District

This month’s ‘Spot a Clock’ is Building 1, also known as the Headquarters Building, located in the National Soldiers Home Historic District in Milwaukee. Caring for veterans returning from war was one of several issues the country faced in the aftermath of the Civil War. In 1865, Congress and President Lincoln authorized the creation of the National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Solders. The Milwaukee facility represents the Northwestern Branch, one of the three original branches. Construction began in 1867, with the majority of the buildings in the historic district being constructed by 1895. Among these is Building 2, the “Main Building”, often referred to as Old Main.

A 1941 Building Schedule lists 100 buildings on the 150-acre property, which is also the home of Wood National Cemetery. Among the first buildings constructed was Building 1, completed in 1896. This two-story Renaissance Revival building served as the headquarters for the complex until 1942, and was constructed at a cost of just under $10,000. Early photos show that the cupola atop the building had louvers on each side, but later photos depict a clock on the west side of the cupola.

The Seth Thomas factory records available on the NAWCC website indicate that the clock movement was a No. 6 time tower clock movement, purchased in June 1901 by the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. Discussions with facility staff indicate that the movement was replaced with an electric movement at an unknown date. Portions of the original movement are still present. In addition to its ongoing mission of caring for veterans, the complex is on the National Register of Historic Places. A walking tour is available through a downloadable podcast available for smartphones (search ‘Milwaukee’s Soldiers Home’ on your app store).

Recent Posts

The Mart will be on November 19th, at the Knights of Columbus

I hope everyone enjoyed the new location, it is: Knights of Columbus, 1800 South 92nd Street, West Allis, WI 53214. Everything went well and I heard the coffee was good.

Thanks to Robert Olney for his talk at the September meeting. His talk was on World War II ships clocks. He discussed that most of the ships clocks for the US were made by two different manufactures, Chelsea and Seth Thomas. While the clocks are similar there are many variances between the manufactures. Robert brought along many examples for us to see. Thanks for enlightening us about these clocks.

Brad Smith is going to do a presentation at the November 19 meeting on the Rolling Ball Clock he built.

We need presentations for upcoming meetings. If you have any suggestions or would like to do a presentation please contact Harry Schulz.

We will be having a board meeting after the presentation to discuss future chapter ideas. Please pass along any ideas you may have to me or any officers or board members.

Thank you,
Craig White

Novembers Show and Tell—Bring a novelty timepiece.

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