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Historic Preservation Commission

The Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) administers Milwaukee's historic preservation ordinance, adopted in 1981, which provides certain kinds of legal protection for buildings or sites that have been declared historic by the Common Council. The HPC is responsible for designating historic landmarks and historic districts and for approving Certificates of Appropriateness (COAs) for permission to alter historic buildings.

Any individual or group may nominate a building or place for designation as a Historic Structure, Historic Site, or Historic District. The Historic Preservation Commission reviews the applications and makes a recommendation to the Common Council that a structure or site should be declared "Historic." The Council then acts upon the Commission's recommendation.  

After a designation has been approved by the Common Council, the structure, site or district is under the protection of Milwaukee's Historic Preservation Ordinance, and no changes which require a building permit may be made to the exterior unless the owner first obtains a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) from the Historic Preservation Commission.

This certificate (COA) is the Commission's written affirmation that a proposed change is sympathetic to the historic character of the property and is consistent with the intent of the ordinance. When a permit is applied for, the Milwaukee Development Center will check to see if the property in question is a designated Historic Structure, Historic Site or within a Historic District. If it is, the applicant is required to obtain a Certificate of Appropriateness.

Certificate of Appropriateness (COA)


HPC Press Release Archive

Preservation Information

  • Historic Tax Credits - If your property is National Register-listed or State Register-listed, you may be eligible for Historic Tax Credits. Please consult the State Historic Preservation Office website at and click on Historic Buildings and Preservation, then click on Building Owners.

City Hall
200 E. Wells St., Room B-4

Milwaukee, WI 53202

(414) 286-5712


Cream of the Cream City
Historic Preservation Awards

Thank you to all who attended the 
Cream of the Cream City Awards ceremony held on May 29, 2014
at Best Place at the Pabst.

View photos of the event below:

Created with flickr badge.

To view past award winners, please visit: