Today we have a broad palette of colors for buildings. But it wasn’t always that way. You may know that paint color was historically limited, so it is understandable that other materials would have limited colors as well. In fact, material types have in some cases created regional identities. For example, the Chicago common brick. As it turns out, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is one of these places. Milwaukee’s local cream colored brick has even given the city a nickname: Cream City.
Cream City brick came from local Milwaukee kilns starting in the 1830s. The characteristic color comes from the high concentration of lime and sulfur found in the Menomonee Valley clay. This local building material was used for a wide variety of buildings in Milwaukee up until the 20th century. Today, restoration efforts have uncovered and cleaned historic brick and even led to the creation of new cream brick to aid in the restoration of the city’s characteristic appearance.
Does your city have a characteristic color, material, or other building theme? I’d love to hear about it!
Sources and Further Reading:
Read more about Cream City Brick on Visit Milwaukee
This is not the first time I’ve written about building colors! If you missed it, check out Early American Houses: Why so Dark?
There are a variety of color trends that happened with bricks thanks to changing technologies and trends. Get a peek here.
One of my followers cued me into this trend. I always learn the best things from you guys, thank you!