Wisconsin Department of Transportation

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I-94 East-West Corridor - Environmental info., Historic Preservation (Section 106)

The purpose of this webpage is to share information about the ongoing consultation between the I-94 project team, the public, and interested stakeholders, under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

If you have questions related to Section 106 and this project, contact:

Dobra S. Payant, P.E. WisDOT Southeast Region
(414) 750-2677

National Historic Landmarks adjacent to I-94

National Historic Landmarks are nationally significant historic places designated as such by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States. For more information on National Historic Landmarks visit the National Park Service website.

Northwest Branch National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers/Soldiers’ Home National Historic Landmark

The I-94 East-West study area is adjacent to several significant historic buildings and properties. Most notable is the Soldiers’ Home National Historic Landmark. The site’s formal name is the Northwest Branch, National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, and it covers most of the Department of Veterans Affairs campus just west of Miller Park, including Wood National Cemetery, which is bisected by I-94.

The National Asylum for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, as it was originally called, was established by Congress in 1865 as part of a system of National Soldiers’ Homes to provide care for soldiers who had been disabled through loss of limb, wounds, disease, or injury during service. The Milwaukee Soldiers’ Home campus was one of the first three nationally designated campuses. It is the only one of the three original sites with its Soldiers’ Home intact, and it is also the only one with the majority of its surrounding recuperative village remaining.

The Soldiers’ Home National Historic Landmark houses 25 post-Civil War and turn-of-the-20th-century buildings, as well as the oldest portion of Wood National Cemetery. The most historically significant and architecturally dominant building is the Soldiers’ Home (Building 2 or “Old Main”). Designed by Milwaukee architect Edward Townsend Mix, it was a domiciliary with long rooms, common foyers, and sitting rooms. The building was used for veteran housing until the 1970s, but the basic interior design remains as it was in 1869.

Soldiers’ Home Reef National Historic Landmark

The Soldiers’ Home Reef National Historic Landmark is located within the boundaries of the Soldiers’ Home National Historic Landmark. The geological feature was discovered in the 1830s. By the 1860s, it was recognized that the feature was the remains of 400-million-year-old fossil reefs, making them the first ancient reefs discovered in North America and among the first described anywhere in the world. Soldiers’ Home Reef is a steep, rocky hill mostly covered in vegetation.

Places adjacent to I-94 eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places

The National Register of Historic Places is America’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. There are two places adjacent to the I-94 study area that are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places: Story Hill neighborhood and Calvary Cemetery.

The Spring Hill Cemetery and Beth Hamedrosh Hagodel Cemetery were evaluated to determine if they are eligible for the National Register. It was determined that neither of these two cemeteries were eligible. View an exhibit showing the location of the significant historic properties.

Story Hill Neighborhood

The Story Hill neighborhood is located on the north side of I-94, just west of US 41. It was determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places because the style of homes and the period in which they were built represent examples of notable architectural styles built by well-regarded Milwaukee architects and builders. The neighborhood is divided into two different historic districts, one north of Bluemound Road and one south.

Calvary Cemetery

Calvary Cemetery was also determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The cemetery’s entrance is on Bluemound Road, and its southern boundary is a couple hundred feet north of I-94. Calvary Cemetery is eligible for the National Register because of the architecture of some of its buildings and mausoleums, and several notable Milwaukeeans are buried there, including Solomon Juneau.

Laws in place to protect historic buildings and properties

The National Historic Preservation Act requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties. For the I-94 East-West Corridor Study project, the Federal Highway Administration, in cooperation with WisDOT, is undertaking the reconstruction of I-94 between 16th Street and 70th Street.

The National Historic Preservation Act also guides how the Federal Highway Administration provides opportunities for state and federal agencies, interested parties, and the public to comment on the planned reconstruction of I-94. The following parties are involved in commenting on the project:

  • The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs because it is the owner of the Soldiers’ Home National Historic Landmark and the Soldiers’ Home Reef National Historic Landmark
  • The National Park Service because it has jurisdiction over National Historic Landmarks
  • The federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
  • At the state level, the State Historic Preservation Office, part of the Wisconsin Historical Society
  • Native American tribes
  • Several federal agencies
  • The City of Milwaukee, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance have asked to be consulting parties
  • WisDOT and the Federal Highway Administration are also soliciting input from veterans groups

The Federal Highway Administration and WisDOT have set up regular meetings with these groups and agencies.

How Will Reconstructing I-94 Affect Historic Buildings and Properties?

No land will be acquired from any of the historic properties as part of the I-94 East-West Corridor project. Additionally no graves will be displaced from the Wood National Cemetery, Spring Hill Cemetery, Beth Hamedrosh Hagodel Cemetery or Calvary Cemetery. However, some of the alternatives under consideration could have an Adverse Effect (visual) on identified historic properties.

Federal Highway Administration and WisDOT in consultation with the Section 106 consulting parties have determined whether the planned I-94 East-West corridor project would have an Adverse Effect on those resources. These determinations are outlined in the Revised Federal Highway Administration Assessment of Adverse Effects for the I-94 East-West Corridor Project memorandum. Federal Highway Administration and WisDOT will continue working with the consulting parties to identify appropriate mitigation measures.

SSI - Project contacts Questions about the content of this page:
WisDOT Southeast Region Office, ser.dtsd@dot.wi.gov
Last modified: December 10, 2014

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