The mansion was built by Dr. Henry Harrison Button, a pioneer pharmacist, in the year 1875 when its present location at Waverly Place and State Street was considered the countryside, blocks away from the city. No records show which architect and builder did the splendid job but their genius is evident everywhere. The Italianate sub-style of Victorian architecture, of which the house is an example, was by far the most popular in Milwaukee. Among the thousands built here in all sizes and shapes and for all budgets, of which the Button’s cost $30,000, there were only a few which could be considered as finely proportioned and tastefully ornamented as the Button’s. In the beginning, it was a s spectacular asymmetrical plan with a stately square tower which rose one story above the roof. While that type of tower was popular in the East, only a few were built in Milwaukee and the Button’s was perhaps the most elegant. The exterior walls, of pressed cream city brick, are trimmed with carved sandstone and rest on a limestone foundation. The porch, cornices, canopies and brackets are decorated richly with pine woodwork. All ornament, whether in stone or wood, is matched carefully in character and custom made. The matching in style even extends to the interior where newelpost scrollwork closely resembles that of the exterior.
Come explore Wisconsin’s oldest and largest art gallery with over 6,000 works of art! The collection includes Modern Masters like Dali, Chagall and Van Dongen, African sculptures, vintage French posters, contemporary paintings, and much more all housed inside three floors of the historic Button mansion. David Barnett and gallery staff will be available to answer questions and guide viewers throughout the galleries. For a donation get exclusive access to the rooftop terrace for a spectacular panoramic view. Truly a unique experience filled with art and history from Milwaukee and far beyond.