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1865 June 24: A Building for the Milwaukee Soldiers Home Fair

June 24, 2015

The following on the building for the Soldiers’ Home Fair in Milwaukee comes from the June 24, 1865, issue of The Prescott Journal.  It was reprinted by the Journal from the Daily Wisconsin.

The Fair Building

We herewith present out readers with a very neatly executed and accurate cut of the building now in process of erection for the Soldiers’ Home Fair.  From this cut and the description which we shall give, a very perfect idea of the building and its internal arrangements may be obtained.

From the Prescott Journal, June 24, 1865

From the Prescott Journal, June 24, 1865

The building occupies the lot on the northwest corner of Main and Huron Streets, and extends across the latter to the sidewalk on the South side.  It is three hundred feet long by one hundred and thirty-five feet deep.

The main entrance is on Main Street, and is twelve feet wide, with ticket offices on each side.  Passing in at this entrance you enter the main hall which extends entirely across the building, and which is directly beneath the great arch, the height of which is fifty feet.  In the centre of this hall will be the Floral Temple, where it is designed to have an exhibition, arranged in the most beautiful manner, all the flowers of the Season, from which will exhale all sweet perfumes–odors such as surpass the perfumers’ art—and which will be a very palace of beauty.  All around the sides of the hall are arranged tables for the display and sale of goods, and which we presume will be filled with such specimens of handiwork as the ladies only know to make.  Running entirely around this hall, at a height of twelve feet, is a gallery sixteen feet wide, around the sides of which will be arranged a row of tables similar to those below.  This gallery is reached by two spacious stairways at the further end of the hall and will be one of the most pleasant parts of the whole building.  The arch as well as the entire building will be most beautifully trimmed with evergreens, flags and flowers.  The manner of lighting it will be seen by the cut.  As a promenade both the hall and gallery will be superb, and will,doubtless, be the favorite resort of the youth and beauty of the crowds that are to be.

 The wings are sixteen feet in height, and are lighted as seen in the cut.  Through the centre of each of these wings in a hall, sixteen feet wide, running at right angles to the main hall.  Turning to the right as you enter the great hall, you enter the dining room which occupies the whole of the east half of the north wing— a room sixty by eighty feet.  Here the ladies propose to serve up to the hungry the substantials and delicacies of the season.  On the opposite side of the hall and at the north end of the wing are the kitchens which are connected with the dining room by a spacious passage way or room across the hall.  Over the passage way is a smoking room, where all those who delight in the “weed” can retire and enjoy a smoke without offending those who can discover no consolation in the meerschaum or cigar.  Next to the kitchen mentioned is the Holland Kitchen where are to be performed, in all their native neatness and simplicity, the culinary operations of the people who live in the land of green meadows.  Next south of the Holland Kitchen is the German Coffee Room, where that richest of all beverages, coffee, will be served up in that exquisite style which our Teutonic friends so well understand.

In the southwest corner of the main building is a commodious committee room.  Passing down the hall in the South wing, the first room to the right is one thirty-five by fifty-five feet, with a skylight.  This room was originally designed for the Fine Arts Department, but we learn that it is now in contemplation to put this department in a room outside of the Fair Building—perhaps the Chamber of Commerce.  Opposite the room above mentioned, on the other side of the hall, is another of the same size, devoted to the Department of Arms and Trophies.  Here will be gathered all manner of curious things in the way of trophies, military arms of every description, many of which will have strange stories connected with them—arms which have done good service against the rebels, and flags whose smoked and tattered folds will speak in most potent words of the fierce storms of battle.

Next to the last named room is another, about twenty by fifty-five feet in size, which is yest unappropriated.  The next rooms are the corner ones, and are fifty-five feet square ;  the one on the right, or southwest corner, is devoted to the Machinery Department ;  the one on the left, or southeast corner, will be occupied by the Public School Department.

As will be seen by the cut, there is a large entrance from Huron Street to the hall of the south wing.  There is also a small entrance to the dining room from the north.

The material of the building is undressed, pine lumber, nevertheless there is much taste and beauty in the structure.  It is strongly built, and is covered with the patent tar roofing.  Gas pipes have been laid allover the building and in the evening it will be brilliantly lighted with gas.

Had we space we might add to the interest of our description by making it more minute, but the reader must let this description surface until he can see the building completed and filled.  It may be necessary to a better understanding of our description to state that the building fronts the east.

When the building is filled to overflowing, as it will be, with the myriad articles of use, beauty and interest that are coming from all quarters, and when the presiding genii are all in their places, a walk through it will be worth a journey from the most distant part of the State.  In conclusion, we will advise all our readers to visit the Fair, and to come plentifully stocked with currency, for there will be so many desirable things for sale, and their merits will be next to impossible to refrain from purchasing.

The rates of admission decided upon at the last meeting of the Executive Committee, are as follows:

Season tickets to the main hall . . . . . . . . . . . . $1.50
     ”           ”        for children under 12 years . .  1.00
Single admission tickets on opening day . . . . 50
     ”           ”              ”       after opening day . . . 25
     ”           ”              ”       for children under 12 15
Aids’ tickets for season, giving admission
     to all parts of Fair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.00
Schools, in a body, accompanied by teachers,
     admitted to main hall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

It will be well to remember that a single admission ticket admits the holder to the Fair once, only, and that he can not leave the building for any purpose whatever and come in again, without again paying the price of admission, whereas, a season ticket will entitle the holder to admission at any and all times, and as often as the holder may desire.  This is one of the chief advantages of buying a season ticket.—Daily Wisconsin.

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