While biking on vacation a week ago, my girlfriend and I came across the Milwaukee Soldiers Home along the Hank Aaron State Trail. This home is a national historic landmark dating back to post Civil War.
From the webside via the link above:
“The Milwaukee Soldiers Home was built in 1867 as a place of healing for veterans returning from the Civil War. As one of his last acts, President Lincoln signed legislation to create a national system of homes for disabled veterans. Since then, thousands of Wisconsin veterans have called the Milwaukee Soldiers Home their safe haven. One of only 43 National Historic Landmarks in Wisconsin, the Soldiers Home contains some of the oldest and most historic buildings in the VA system.”
“It is the most intact Soldiers Home in the country and the only one with the majority of its surrounding recuperative village remaining. Today, this great historic asset is threatened. In response, The Milwaukee Preservation Alliance, in partnership with key local, regional and national stakeholders, have spearheaded a renewed effort to protect, repair and rehabilitate the Milwaukee VA Soldiers Home District. The Milwaukee Preservation Alliance is at work to identify and capitalize upon opportunities to motivate the greater community and the VA to take steps to put the District, a national treasure, back into the service of veterans. With wise stewardship, the Soldiers Home can be a place of enhanced services to veterans, commemorating the Civil War and honoring the sacrifice of veterans of all wars.”
Visit the website for additional information and photos.
Rehabilitation efforts to restore and rehabilitate six buildings on the grounds were completed in spring of this year. Per an article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in October 2020, a project has converted buildings into 101 apartments for veterans and their families, some of whom are homeless or at risk of being homeless.
My friend and I talked to two gentleman who were sitting outside one of the buildings and told us of the apartments. They were at a smaller building, but stated the inside of the larger building above is “just beautiful.” I would have loved to see the inside, but with the pandemic continuing to hang on, a walking tour via an app is currently the only option.
“These grounds and buildings talked of an earlier time, when healing was not just about pills and procedures. It was about nature, fresh air, and majestic trees; where the buildings themselves are art. We could learn much from these healers of a century ago, to help our newest generation of veterans heal their wounds of war.” ~Bob Curry, Vietnam Veteran~
Kudos to Milwaukee and all involved with the Soldiers Home restoration, in helping America’s veterans with homes and healing.
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