Walking Tours
Touring Around Town

Waukesha Pewaukee offers a host of fascinating walking tours including “GuitarTown,” murals, sculptures, historic architecture and more — not to mention a meandering, romantic river walk in Waukesha, and beautiful lakeshore stroll among shops in Pewaukee.


Waukesha Historic Architecture Walking Tour Map

1. Three Bronze Bears

Bank Street on the Fox Riverwalk
John Rawlins; 2006, bronze

2. Fox Statues

Civic Theatre rear exit, Moreland Boulevard Bridge, Public Library
Johnson Statuary; 1994-1997, cast concrete

3. New Dawn Bright Future

Main Street Plaza
Bill Taylor, 2000, acrylic

4. Standing Ovation

Main Street & Barstow Street
Paul Bobrowitz Jr.; 2007, stainless steel

5. Dragon Fly

Barstow Street & Corrina Boulevard Bridge
Larson Company; 1995, concrete, steel

6. Source

State Office Building
Kristen Theilking & Kevin Brunett; 2007, stainless steel, fiber optics

7. Life’s Ribbon

Brook Street & St. Paul Avenue
Richard Taylor; 2005, metal, paint

8. Veteran’s Sundial

West Avenue & Wisconsin Avenue
Ken Saiki Design and Hitchcock Design; 1998, concrete, limestone, metal

9. Sensing the Whole

Public Library
Michael Stanford Foster; 2006, oil on masonite

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Gibson Guitar has chosen the birth and resting place of guitar legend Les Paul, for its acclaimed GuitarTown community arts project. Featuring 10-foot tall fiberglass Gibson Les Paul model guitars, playable regular sized guitars and murals all artistically designed by visual artists with the focus on Les Paul, Waukesha’s history and Wisconsin. For more information about Waukesha GuitarTown and for listings of summer & winter 10-foot  guitar sculpture locations please visit: www.waukeshaguitartown.com.

Murals Walking Tour Map

Guitars Walking Tour Map

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Waukesha Historic Architecture Walking Tour Map

1. Nickell Building

338-340 W. Main Street; 1901
This Queen Anne commercial building housed the post office until 1914 when it relocated to west Broadway.

2. Dr. Roberts Building

726 N. Grand Avenue; 1927
Dr. Roberts was made famous for his lifesaving patented animal cures. In its original form, this Mediterranean style building had terra cotta trim and animal heads gracing the tops of the columns.

3. The Robinson Block

342-344 W. Main Street; 1857
This 1st stone structure in the city was built after a fire destroyed most frame buildings in the town. A mix of styles, the building housed a harness shop with rentals on the 2nd floor. A popular public social hall on the 3rd floor was where the first area call to arms for the Civil War was answered.

4. Angrave-Waite Block

337 W. Main Street; 1868
Curved to fit its corner location, this building served originally as a butcher shop and then as a tavern. The building blocks are ashlar – a popular building material of the early years.

5. W.T. Lyle’s Building

912 Clinton Street; 1890
This splendid example of Queen Anne style originally housed W.T. Lyle’s Furniture Store and Funeral Parlor. The facade is carved brownstone with decorative brickwork, pediments and exotic entablatures.

6. J.J. Clark Store

323-325 W. Main Street; 1888
A Victorian contrast to the surrounding Italianate building styles, this former dry goods store sports stone voussoirs and key-stone over the arched windows.

7. R.C. Beggs Hardware Store

920 Clinton Street; pre-1880
An Italian style of brick and stone with cast iron pilasters, the floral-incised stone hood molds on the 2nd floor windows and the 3rd floor hosts a pediment metal cornice.

8. Spring House

Bank Street on the Fox Riverwalk
During the hey-day of the Springs Era in Waukesha, many springs were opened to the public and an entire culture of health tourism brought thousands of tourists from all over the world to stay at lavish spas and hotels. Springhouses protected the purity of the water and marked the locations of the springs. A replica of the 1870 Silurian Springhouse currently stands.

9. Dieman Building

332 South Street; 1903
Although the lower story has been altered over the years, the second floor remains an excellent example of restrained commercial style Queen Anne with its simple pilasters, denticulated cornice, brick corbel table between pilasters and oriel windows.

10. The Putney & Oriental Blocks

301 W. Main Street-802 N. Grand Avenue; 1870-1891
The “Oriental Block” was built by Captain Foskett Putney. A veteran of the “Patriot War” the “Captain” dabbled in many things from farms to hotels. His son, Frank, razed the old hotel on Main Street to the north of his father’s block and replaced it with a stunning example of High Victorian style. Frank also built what is known as the “new” Putney block to the south of the Oriental Block on Grand Avenue. A splendid example of Queen Anne commercial design with coursed ashlar and corner sheet metal bartizan sporting a slate roof.

11. Waukesha County Museum

101 W. Main Street; 1893
This imposing stone building is the former Waukesha County Courthouse, and the current home of the Waukesha County Museum whose roots reach back for over 100 years.

12. Frame Park & Formal Gardens

Fox Riverwalk; circa 1930’s
In 1927, Mr. and Mrs. Frame donated the land which was formerly the site of Hobo Springs, one of the original wonders that contributed to the “Springs Era” when Waukesha was known as “The Saratoga of the West.” The two-acre formal garden, which is home to over 12,000 carefully attended florals, is still held in high regard as a horticultural work of art. Along the park and into the city a riverwalk has been developed.

13. 1st State Bank

744 N. Grand Avenue; 1890-1920’s
In 1890 the building had a brick and rubble facade. In the 1920’s a smooth “moderne” veneer was added. The almost “monument” nature of the building is due to the large-scale windows set with stylized ornamentation.

14. The Schlitz Hotel

294 W. Main Street; 1901
When the American House Hotel burned to the ground in the Main Street Fire, the Milwaukee beer magnate rebuilt on the site for an initial construction cost of $5,000. This beautifully detailed Queen Anne has a two story corner bartizan that continues across the frieze.

15. Avalon Hotel/Square

222 Park Place; 1871/1928/2003
Honoring of the old, by the new – the renovation of Avalon Square meant the dismantling of the 1871 Waukesha Hotel and its eventual connection to the 1928 Avalon Hotel. With careful consideration for Waukesha’s architectural significance, the indigenous limestone facade and architecture profile were maintained and replicated. The new construction blends the new building with its history, and honors the old hotel, which was a center of community activity.

16. Waukesha Post Office

235 W. Broadway; 1913
Dominated by a semicircular portico featuring six fluted Doric columns. The shallow dome is capped by a copper roof with an interior lobby sporting a colonnade of red marble columns with gold Corinthian capitals, and a coffered dome. This building was the first federally-owned post office in the city and now serves as The Rotunda banquet facility.

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Pewaukee Historic Architecture Walking Tour Map

1. Asa Clark House

206 E. Wisconsin Avenue; 1844
Built by the son of Asa Clark, the first white settler to the area, this Greek revival house once served as a hotel on Watertown Plank Road (now Wisconsin Avenue) and is currently the community’s museum.

2. Charlie Schumann House

209 Clark Street; circa 1889
Built with hand tools by its German immigrant owner, it’s the only house in Pewaukee built of native Pewaukee Limestone.

3. Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church

202 Clark Street; 1894
Parishioners and $740 built this church and carriage house, which became the Town Hall in 1950 when the congregation moved to the new church on Prospect Avenue (Clarks former apple orchard) and today the building serves as the V.F.W. Hall.

4. Brandt’s Grocery

346 Oakton Avenue; mid-late 1800’s
This building once served as carpenter & boat shops, broom factory, printing company, saloon, and now a retail gift shop. But many people remember it as Brandt’s Grocery where you got a bag of candy if you paid your monthly bill
on time.

5. Peter Larson House

322 Oakton Avenue; mid-late 1800’s
Mr. Larson was the first mason to arrive in the area and built his home with arched windows, mansard roof, and porthole window signifying he haled from Denmark – a seafaring nation.

6. McDowell-O’Neill House

316 Oakton Avenue; circa 1870’s
In 1901, the location of this charming café was the site where hardware store proprietor, Sherman McDowell, organized the first telephone service for Pewaukee.

7. Methodist Church

302 Oakton Avenue; 1870

The church, with its 15 inch walls and large oak beams, cost $4,000 to erect – over fifty times the cost of the land purchased from Asa Clark. After 90 years, the church moved and the site became the library. In 2005 the library moved to a new location and the site now serves as the Town Hall.

8. Masterson-Rombough House

237 Oakton Avenue; circa 1880’s

Thomas Masterson, a Scandinavian immigrant who operated a lime kiln, built the original tall, narrow, steep-roofed house. The stucco and block style porch was added by J. Rombough.

9. Rombough Grocery

235 Oakton Avenue; circa late 1800’s

A typical retail blockhouse structure with false front, this store was covered with galvanized sheet iron with an embossing to simulate bricks.

10. Odd Fellow’s Hall

227 Oakton Avenue; 1876

The three links pictured in the relief on the building signify love, friendship and truth. This hall was Pewaukee’s social center for many years, and was the setting for plays, concerts, graduations, dances and public meetings.

11. Caldwell Store

215 Oakton Avenue; mid-late 1800’s

Justice of the Peace, Alexander Caldwell, arrived in Pewaukee in 1843. His grocery store occupied this building and was the temporary home for the library. The building was remodeled in 1905. Alexander’s sister, Margaret, became the first woman doctor in the county and one of the first in the state. Grandson, Robert Shaw, spent most of his childhood in the area and later became a screen writer for movies and television. (He wrote the infamous “Who Shot J.R.” episode of TV’s “Dallas.”)

12. First Water Works

214 Oakton Avenue; 1929
This classic little reminder of modern conveniences is now the home of the Chamber of Commerce.

13. Frank Garret’s Harness Shop

210 Oakton Avenue; circa late 1800’s
Frank took over the harness, furniture and saddlery business and added the 2nd story
years later.

14. Pewaukee State Bank

101 W. Wisconsin Avenue; 1914

This plain brick building housed the bank on the main floor, the 2nd floor was rented to a dentist & Bell Telephone Co. and the lower level housed a hairdresser and barber business.

15. Rexal Pharmacy

117 W. Wisconsin Avenue; 1900
Built around the turn of the century, in 1917 the building was altered and combined with the galvanized sheet iron building next door that formerly served as the post office. The owner rented the part of the newly formed building
for offices and the basement housed the “Canteen” – an ice cream parlor.

16. The Owl Theatre

119 W. Wisconsin Avenue; 1914

In the past there was an archway that said “Mutual Movies” over a ticket booth and had two clocks at the entrance indicating show times for the 100-seat theatre. A local pianist accompanied the movies. In 1928 it was remodeled for use as Alton’s Grocery Store, which operated long into the 20th century.

17. The Beach Front

Wisconsin Avenue

When Pewaukee first became a thriving community, the lakefront was dotted with harness shops, boat building businesses, a granary and icehouses. At one time a bowling alley was added, and a pub or two. Today it flourishes as a retail center, and the reconstructed train depot serves as a location for free concerts, ski shows and events on the waterfront.

18. Main Street Blocks

*The Zaun Hotel

100 Main Street

Built originally, as the Heath Hotel in 1847 to accommodate 50 guests, by the proprietor of a successful steamboat business on Pewaukee Lake. The popular “steamboat” architecture, filigree arches and balustrades were added.

*American Legion Hall

118 Main Street; 1929

A typical example of a hall of the era.

*Masonic Temple

126 Main Street; 1923
A classic temple style architecture.

*Baptist Church

175 Main Street; 1859 & 1875 parsonage (to the west)
The church’s bell tower was used for many years as a “town crier” announcing curfew, meetings, fires, services, midnight on New Year’s Eve and on July 4th. The bell tolled WWI Armistice.

19. The Heyday of Cinema

121 Park Avenue; 1950’s
Although serving new purposes today, you can still see the original marquee movie theatre architecture that made this cinema a typical example of its era.

20. The Anthenaeum

145 Park Avenue; 1905

This building constructed of natural Pewaukee stone, was once the cultural center of the area, containing a bowling alley, billiard table and bath house. The stage on the second floor was used for recitals, lyceum programs, plays
and graduations.

21. The Octagon House

370 High Street; 1856
This unique home is the source of many rumors and tales. There are unconfirmed tales of an under-ground passage that ran from the house to the barn supposedly harboring runaway slaves.

22. The Quarry & Quarry House

165 Capitol Drive; 1862
Watertown Cream City Brick finished off the home of the owner and operator of the quarry that used to exist from the backyard of the house through the condominium complex to the west of the park.

23. St. Bartholomew’s Church

140 Lake Street; 1900
Now known as Holy Apostles Church, the building housed St. Bartholomew’s congregation for a century until recently when a new structure was built. Notice the stunning colored stone that lends itself to the old world feel of this magnificent, towered structure.

24. St. Mary’s Cemetery

449 W. Wisconsin Avenue

The yard of St. Mary’s Church is the final resting place of many founders of the community.

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