Wisconsin Historical Society: The Nunn-Bush Shoe Company Factory in Milwaukee listed in national register of historic places

Contact: Kara O’KeeffeContact: Kara O’Keeffe  Wisconsin Historical Society
E-Mail: kara.okeeffe@wisconsinhistory.org

Milwaukee, Wis. – The Wisconsin Historical Society has announced the listing of Nunn-Bush Shoe Company Factory in Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, in the National Register of Historic Places. National Register designation provides access to certain benefits, including qualification for grants and for rehabilitation income tax credits, while it does not restrict private property owners in the use of their property.

The Nunn-Bush Shoe Company Factory building is the headquarters and primary manufacturing facility of the Nunn-Bush Shoe Company, one of the largest and longest-running manufacturers of leather shoes in Milwaukee. Established in 1912 as the Nunn, Bush, & Weldon Shoe Company with Henry Lightfoot Nunn (1878-1972) serving as President and General Manager, by 1930 Nunn-Bush was the second-highest producer of fine grade men’s shoes in the country. The company opened its own purpose-built factory on North 4th Street in Milwaukee in 1916, (the subject building) and under Nunn’s leadership the company flourished through the first half of the twentieth century. At a time when many of the oldest and largest of Milwaukee’s shoe manufacturers were closing their doors, Nunn-Bush expanded its operations in Milwaukee, constructing large additions to the original factory building in 1917 and 1919 to keep up with demand. The company utilized the latest methods of shoe production, specializing in the design and production of fine men’s footwear at their Milwaukee plant after World War I. The company established a second factory in Edgerton, Wisconsin in 1934, during the midst of the Great Depression, to produce lower-priced lines of dress shoes, but the company’s headquarters and main manufacturing operations remained in the 4th Street factory complex through the early 1970s.

The register is the official national list of historic properties in America deemed worthy of preservation and is maintained by the National Park Service in the U.S. Department of the Interior. The Wisconsin Historical Society administers the program within Wisconsin. It includes sites, buildings, structures, objects and districts that are significant in national, state or local history, architecture, archaeology, engineering or culture.

To learn more about the State and National Register programs in Wisconsin, visit www.wisconsinhistory.org.

About Wisconsin Historical Society

The Wisconsin Historical Society, founded in 1846, ranks as one of the largest, most active and most diversified state historical societies in the nation. As both a state agency and a private membership organization, its mission is to help people connect to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing stories. The Wisconsin Historical Society serves millions of people every year through a wide range of sites, programs and services. For more information, visit wisconsinhistory.org.

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