Milwaukee Police Third District Project

This was an image research project for artists Gail Simpson and Aris Georgiades. Their firm, Actual Size ArtWorks, has the commission to create a public artwork for the new police station under construction on Lisbon Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets in the Milwaukee Police Department's Third District. The finished piece was installed in the fall of 2001.

Simpson and Georgiades asked me to find historical images and information about the police department and the neighborhoods surrounding the new station. Because the building would also house the city's dispatch center for both the police and fire departments, I also looked for images and information related to the Milwaukee Fire Department. In addition to providing the artists with copies of historical maps of the area and tracking down existing published histories, I also went through photo files at the Milwaukee Public Library and Milwaukee County Historical Society.


From the images I gathered, the artists selected about a dozen to incorporate into the final work. The map shown here is a Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of the buildings that were once located on the site of the new police station. (The pink building was the Uptown movie theater.) The final steel sculpture had a framework resembling a streetmap with simplified versions of the historic photos cut into steel plates.

Photographs taken by me in 2004

Overall view of the building with the artwork displayed at groundlevel on the side of the parking structure.

A closer view of the sculpture from the left side

View of the right side - the building pictured in the upper left is the old 3rd District station.

Because the building also houses the emergency dispatch center for both the police and fire departments, an image of firefighters was included.

Other on-line resources:

The Milwaukee Police Department Home Page includes a brief departmental history.

Aris Georgiades' website, UW-Madison

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This page updated 3 January 2005

Copyright 2005 C. M. Brady