Milwaukee VA Soldiers Home – Old Main


The Alexander Company


Milwaukee, Wisconsin


116,000 SF


Spring, 2021

The Milwaukee VA Soldiers Home – Old Main Building was constructed in 1869 as a domiciliary for veterans of the Civil War. The building was expanded through a series of additions from 1875 to 1937 and remained in use, serving veterans until 1989. For the next 30 years, the building sat abandoned and fell into a state of advanced disrepair. The building was included in the National Trust Most Endangered Historic Places in 2011 and declared a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service in 2012.

RAMLOW/STEIN worked with Madison-based Alexander Company to restore and repurpose Old Main to become 80 one- and two-bedroom apartments for at-risk or homeless veterans. The renovated building includes community rooms, a fitness center, and offices for home health care, counseling services, and building management.

The project was executed utilizing State and Federal Historic Tax credits. Our services included Architectural and Interior Design, Historic Tax Credit applications, negotiations and amendments, and Civil and Structural Engineering. Exterior restoration included exterior masonry, slate roof, wood windows, and details. Interior hallways, lounges, and entrance lobbies were maintained and restored to their historic condition. Adaptive reuse and renovation within these elements transformed medical wards to apartments, the main dining hall to community rooms, and added supportive spaces for residents.


  • Milwaukee Business Journal’s 2022 Real Estate Award – Best Renovation – Residential
  • Daily Reporter’s Top Projects of 2021 Award
  • ASID Wisconsin Design Excellence Award – Historic – Bronze
  • Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Awards