Cream City brick

Cream City brick
Dr. Fisk Holbrook Day House, located in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, shows the restored color of Cream City brick.

Cream City brick is a cream or light yellow-colored brick made from a clay found around Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the Menomonee River Valley and on the western banks of Lake Michigan. These bricks were one of the most common building materials used in Milwaukee during the mid and late 19th century, giving the city the nickname "Cream City" and the bricks the name "Cream City bricks".[1]



Cream City bricks are made from a red clay containing elevated amounts of lime and sulfur;[2] this clay is common in regions of Wisconsin, especially near Milwaukee. When the bricks are fired, they become creamy-yellow in color.[1]

Although light-colored when first made, Cream City bricks are porous, causing them to absorb dirt and other pollutants; this tends to make structures constructed out of them dark-colored as time passes. Once Cream City bricks absorb pollutants, they are difficult to clean, a problem with which restoration experts in Milwaukee have been facing since the 1970s. Initially, sandblasting was attempted; however, it not only proved to be ineffective, but damaged the bricks. Currently, chemical washes are accepted as the most effective method of cleaning Cream City bricks.[2] The historic Trimborn Farmhouse in Greendale, Wisconsin is an example of brick that has been cleaned to reveal its original color.

Structures built with Cream City brick

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is an example of a building constructed with Cream City brick, though its cream color has been darkened by the elements.

Cream City bricks are well-known for their durability; many buildings constructed with them in the 19th century still stand today. An example of the durability of Cream City brick is Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, which was built more than 125 years ago. However, since there were numerous brickmakers in the area, brick quality varied and some of the bricks were not manufactured properly: the Big Sable Point Lighthouse was constructed of Cream City brick, but it had degraded so much in 35 years that it had to be encased in iron plating.[1] See also, Grosse Point Light, which had to be encased in concrete.[3]

Because the regional headquarters of the United States Lighthouse Board responsible for building lighthouses around Lake Michigan was located in Milwaukee, many of them are built with Cream City bricks, including Kenosha Southport Lighthouse, the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, the McGulpin Point Light, the Old Mackinac Point Light, and many others.[1]

Cream City bricks were widely exported, making their way not only to American cities such as Chicago and New York, but also to western Europe, including Hamburg, Germany.[2]




  1. ^ a b c d Pepper, Terry
  2. ^ a b c d Paulsen, Eric
  3. ^ Terry Pepper, Seeing the Light, Grosse Point Light.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cream City Collectives — 1 year anniversary party The Cream City Collectives (CCC) are a volunteer run collective space located at 732 E. Clarke St. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It hosts The Mathilde Anneke Infoshop, the Milwaukee Screenprinting Collective, the CCC Gallery… …   Wikipedia

  • Wisconsin Cream City Chorus — Infobox musical artist Name = Wisconsin Cream City Chorus Landscape = Yes Background = classical ensemble Alias = WCCC Origin = flagicon|USA Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States Instrument = 20 30 voices Genre = Broadway, choral, classical, jazz,… …   Wikipedia

  • Cream cheese — Source of milk Cow Texture Soft Aging time none Cream Cheese in the USA Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz) …   Wikipedia

  • List of city nicknames in Wisconsin — This list of city nicknames in Wisconsin compiles the aliases, sobriquets and slogans that Wisconsin s cities and towns are known by (or have been known by historically), officially and unofficially, to local residents, outsiders or their tourism …   Wikipedia

  • Circuit City Stores — This article is about the defunct company that operated from 1949 to 2009. For the online retailer owned by Systemax, see Circuit City Stores, Inc. The final 2001 2009 logo Former type Public …   Wikipedia

  • Jersey City Museum — Shuttered museum building October 2011 Jersey City Museum is a former art museum that was most recently located in the Van Vorst Park section of Downtown Jersey City, New Jersey. Serving a diverse community, the Museum collects, exhibits,… …   Wikipedia

  • Oyster Point City Center — City Center at Oyster Point is one of the fastest growing central business districts in the Oyster Point section of Newport News, Virginia. It is a 52 acre high density mixed use development that has convert|230000|sqft|m2| 3|abbr=on. of Retail… …   Wikipedia

  • Tea brick — Block tea redirects here. For the encryption algorithm, see Block TEA. A compressed brick of pu erh tea . Individual leaves can be seen on the surface of the brick. Tea bricks (traditional Chinese: 磚茶; simplified Chinese …   Wikipedia

  • San Francisco City Hall — General information Type Government offices Location 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place …   Wikipedia

  • List of city nicknames in the United States — This partial list of city nicknames in the United States compiles the aliases, sobriquets and slogans that cities are known by (or have been known by historically), officially and unofficially, to municipal governments, local people, outsiders or …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.