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Historic Preservation Commission

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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 may be made to the exterior unless the owner first obtains a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) from the Historic Preservation Commission.​

HPC ordinance (PDF - Section 320-21)

HPC by-laws


Certificate of Appropriateness (COA): If possible, please submit applications by email only until further notice. Click here for more information.

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 www.wisconsinhistory.org/taxcredits.

Please note: If you intend to apply for historic preservation tax credits for a project that also requires the approval of the Historic Preservation Commission, you must apply to both the city and the state simultaneously. The state will not approve tax credits for work completed prior to their approval under any circumstances. City and State reviews follow similar guidelines, but there are substantial differences in documentation requirements, so the two reviews are not considered equivalent. An approval from the city’s Historic preservation Commission does not constitute an approval for historic tax credits.

Likewise, an approval for historic tax credits does not constitute an approval for a certificate of appropriateness from the Milwaukee HPC.  You must not begin work until you have received both approvals in writing and any required building permits. Inform all parties (Milwaukee HPC, Wisconsin Historical Society, contractors, etc.) that you are making both submittals.

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 30, 2019
at Best Place at the Pabst.

For photos of the event, click below:

2019-5-30 Cream of the Cream City Awards


To view past award winners, please visit: milwaukee.gov/hpc/CreamCityAwards

City of Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission

Zeidler Municipal Building
841 N. Broadway, Room B-1

Milwaukee, WI 53202

(414) 286-5712
(414) 286-5722

hpc@milwaukee.gov


Important Notice!
Historic Preservation office is not currently open to the public. 
Videoconference meetings and exterior site visits are available by appointment.


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