Pryor Avenue Iron Well
Milwaukee’s historic Pryor Avenue Well in Bay View is located in the 1700 block of East Pryor Avenue west of South Superior Avenue.
The well is the last remaining public well in Milwaukee. It is owned by the City of Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Water Works maintains the site of the well but does not treat the water. The well is not connected to the water utility's treatment and distribution system. The Milwaukee Water Works holds a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permit for a "transient, non-community well." The DNR privatized its water testing in 2011 and awarded the contract to the Ozaukee County Health Department, which tests the water for Total Coliform Bacteria monthly and for Nitrates annually, and performs periodic inspections.
The Pryor Avenue Well dates back to 1882, when it was measured at over 1,500 feet deep. The well originally was an artesian well, in which groundwater rose to the surface by natural pressure. The aquafer pressure dropped over time and a submersible electric pump was installed in the 1980s. The well depth as of December 2014 was 118 feet. The Milwaukee Historic Preservation Commission designated it a historic structure in 1987.
The well was lovingly restored in 2011-2014 with more than $10,000 in funds donated by friends and neighbors, including Donna Pogliano and the late Paul Jakubovich, among others, the Bay View Neighborhood Association, the Bay View Bash Community Fund, and a City of Milwaukee Community Improvement Project Grant. The Bay View Historical Society did not contribute financially but acted as a fiscal agent. Donna and Paul volunteered their time to work with a contractor they selected and hired, with the approval of Ald. Tony Zielinski and the Milwaukee Water Works. Restoration of the monument covering the well to its original appearance of 1919 was approved by Historic Preservation Commission. The group also restored the Clement Avenue-brick-covered pavement around the well.
Strontium levels in the Pryor Avenue Iron Well water exceed the USEPA Lifetime Health Advisory Level (HAL). You may wish to consider avoiding consumption of water from this source. Please read this notice for more information or call the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, (608) 266-1120, or the City of Milwaukee Health Department, (414) 286-3521. This notice does not apply to Milwaukee’s treated drinking water.
Strontium is a naturally occurring element found in the earth, including the bedrock of natural underground aquifers. The strontium in this well is thought to be from natural sources. It is important to note that consuming strontium at levels exceeding the HAL will not necessarily lead to health effects. The USEPA may regulate strontium in the future.