A new documentary on the Milwaukee Soldiers Home will premiere on Milwaukee PBS next month.
“A Hallowed Home for Heroes,” produced by Maryann Lazarski and Scottie Lee Meyers, traces the history of the Soldiers Home from its roots in the waning days of the Civil War to the recent $44 million effort to restore the 1867 building as part of a supportive housing development for veterans. The documentary also features some of the people and families who have lived at the Soldiers Home over the decades.
Located on the grounds of the Milwaukee VA Medical Center just west of American Family Field, the Soldiers Home began when a group of women in Milwaukee raised $100,000 in 1864 to create a temporary home to provide veterans with meals and medical care. The next year, a month before he was assassinated, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation to create a national system of homes for disabled veterans, and the local women turned over the money they’d raised to the effort, planned for a hill on the western edge of town.
The original Soldiers Home opened in 1867 and provided housing and other assistance to veterans for generations before it fell into disrepair and closed in 1898. Amid efforts to repair and preserve the site, the Soldiers Home grounds, including the original building and surrounding structures, were declared a national historic landmark in 2011.
A $44 million renovation and preservation effort, led by Madison-based Alexander Company, began in 2019 and opened in 2021.
This article was originally published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.