Constructed in 1910 and added to in 1927, this historic building once housed the headquarters of the Blommer Ice Cream Company. The business operated in this white glazed brick and cream-colored terra cotta factory until 1929, when it was sold to National Dairy. The Blommer family then moved into the chocolate business, and celebrated its 70th birthday in 2009. Today the factory building houses 38 luxury apartments in the up and coming Walnut Way neighborhood.
Blommer Ice Cream Company began in 1909, when established Milwaukee confectioner Conrad Blommer opened his factory on the site of the Blommer farm, where the first Milwaukee Blommers settled. In his hands the small operation became one of the Midwest's largest producers and distributors of ice cream by the 1920s. He also pioneered sanitary practices for factory working environments that remained standard for years after.
The building was designed by architect Herman Esser in 1910, and an addition was designed by his son Verner Esser in 1927. It is constructed of white glazed brick, giving it a modern, sleek appearance. The addition was made out of a cream-colored glazed terra cotta, with hints of the architectural styles of the Italian Renaissance seen in the decorative elements on the roof. All of the architecture was made to reflect the attention to cleanliness and modern sanitation practices going on inside.
After Blommer sold the company to National Dairy in 1929, the Blommer family moved forward, creating the Blommer Chocolate Company in the 1930s, which still exists today. Their original factory's windows were bricked up and the space was used for storage. After that, the building remained vacant for about 20 years until restoration projects for the surrounding neighborhood began in the 2010s. In 2017 the old factory gained a place on the National Register of historic places. Plans to convert the building into apartments were created in 2014, but it wasn't until 2018 that the project was completed. Today the ice cream factory is now the Legacy Lofts, a collection of 64 apartments in two buildings. The former factory houses 38 apartments, while a new adjacent building houses the rest.
O'Keefe, Kara. The Blommer Ice Cream Company In Milwaukee Listed In National Register Of Historic Places - Wisconsin Historical Society Press Release. The Wheeler Report. September 20, 2017. Accessed August 01, 2019. http://www.thewheelerreport.com/wheeler_docs/files/0920whsbloomber.pdf.
Blommer Companies Timeline. Blommer.com. . Accessed August 01, 2019. https://www.blommer.com/_documents/blommer-timeline.pdf.
Daykin, Tom. Conversion of historic former ice cream factory to Milwaukee central city apartments nearly done. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. November 23, 2018. Accessed August 01, 2019. https://www.jsonline.com/story/money/real-estate/commercial/2018/11/23/milwaukee-ice-cream-factory-conversion-apartments-nearly-done/2023807002/.
Tanzilo, Bobby. Legacy Lofts will transform old Blommer Ice Cream factory into apartments. OnMilwaukee.com. November 08, 2017. Accessed August 01, 2019. https://onmilwaukee.com/raisemke/articles/legacy-lofts-groundbreaking.html.