Stern, Andrew Charles
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This thesis examines the unique cream-colored brick produced in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and the ways the brick created an identity for the city in the nineteenth century. The brick, known as Milwaukee brick and later Cream City brick, was produced from deep bands of glacial clay with elevated levels of magnesium and calcium. The durable material became the ubiquitous masonry building material in the city in the nineteenth century and was sought around the country as a facing material. This thesis examines the methods of manufacture and producers of Cream City brick, as well as the composition of Milwaukee’s glacial clay. Architectural examples spanning the breadth of Cream City brick’s use are also detailed. Finally, the ways the brick and cream-colored architecture provided Milwaukee with exposure, produced numerous nicknames for the city, and ultimately culminated in an identity for the city, are also examined.