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Pfister Hotel
Featured site: Doors Open Milwaukee

Built: 1893

Architect:Henry Koch

Combining classic comforts with contemporary conveniences – comes naturally to the Pfister, since innovation is in the very DNA of this great house. When the Pfister first opened her doors on May 1, 1893, it represented not only the dedication of a new hotel, but the ushering in of a new standard for American hotels. Indeed, contemporary accounts referred to the Pfister hotel as “the Grand Hotel of the West” in recognition of her unique attributes: A stunning Romanesque Revival design by noted architect Henry C. Koch (the stately façade was executed in rusticated limestone, decorative terra-cotta, and distinctive Milwaukee “Cream City” brick) – A splendid two-storied lobby embellished with imported marbles, wrought iron, stained-glass, carved wood and ornamental plaster (whose magnificent fireplace corner became the meeting place in downtown Milwaukee) – and technological innovations including electrical lighting throughout (which was powered by the Pfister’s own twin generators and the “Mighty Corliss Engine” produced by the Milwaukee’s E.P. Allis Company) and the very first use in a hotel of individual heating controls for each guest room, courtesy of the Johnson Regulator Company – The Pfister Collection, the largest gallery of Victorian and Edwardian painting on permanent display in any hotel in the world – no expense was spared to guarantee that the guest would, at all times, be embraced in an atmosphere at once luxurious, comforting and unique to the Pfister.

The Pfister Hotel, built in 1893, has been the premiere hotel in the city for over a century and continues to celebrate the traditions of gracious service and elegant style that is the hallmark of the American Grand Hotel. This “palace of the people” was erected in response to Milwaukee’s emerging prominence as the “machine-shop of the world”, and was named to honor early investor and pioneer industrialist Guido Pfister. Begin your visit at the Café Rouge, viewing a brief documentary on history of the Pfister, followed by a brief talk by Peter Mortensen, Chef Concierge and Historian of the Pfister.

For description of the restoration by Conrad Schmidtt Studios click here.

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