In the Spring of 1879, Milwaukee architect E. Townsend Mix and Wight produced a second totally fire-proofed building in Milwaukee for Alexander Mitchell, the Milwaukee of Commerce at the southwest corner of E. Michigan and N. Broadway, adjacent to the Mitchell Building. Mix reflected the mood of the period in wanting something other than the Second Empire with an eclectic design that included a central tower, á la what Post and Hunt had recently produced in New York, that seems to have taken much of its inspiration from the towers in Siena’s Palazzo Pubblico and Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio.
Mitchell’s Chicago, Milwaukee, & St. Paul had succeeded in making Milwaukee an early grain-trading center. A major activity of the Chamber of Commerce was the grain exchange that the new building was to house. Its three-story Exchange room contained an octagonal trading pit, so configured to give better access and vision to the traders.
The columns in the Chamber of Commerce were similar to those used two years earlier in the Mitchell Building, except that they either had six flanges or were five-flanged Phoenix columns.
In addition to the columns and floors, Wight, also for the first time, encased the iron roof trusses in Loring’s porous terra cotta tiles.
(If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to eMail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org)