Excavation at the Second Ward Cemetery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Author(s): Patricia Richards; Catherine Jones

Year: 2016


The Second Ward Cemetery Association incorporated the Second Ward or Gruenhagen Cemetery, in 1850 after the association purchased the land from Joachim F. Gruenhagen. This Milwaukee cemetery consisted of between three and five acres and interments took place until 1870 when the Association defaulted on the property’s mortgage and the land was sold by Sheriff’s auction. By 1874 plans had been made to subdivide the property and an article appeared in the Milwaukee Sentinel announcing that burials needed to be removed in 30 days. The land formally occupied by the Second Ward Cemetery is a mix of houses and empty lots. It is also the location of the Guest House of Milwaukee, a homeless shelter for men. In the spring of 2014 several burials were disturbed when the Guest House installed a rain garden. Subsequently, an archaeological monitor was on site in 2015 when the Guest House broke ground for an addition to their building. Despite the addition occurring in an area that had been developed and disturbed multiple times since 1874, archaeological monitoring and subsequent stripping revealed the presence of over 55 intact interments. This paper presents preliminary results of the excavation of the Second Ward Cemetery.

Cite this Record

Excavation at the Second Ward Cemetery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Patricia Richards, Catherine Jones. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404743)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -104.634; min lat: 36.739 ; max long: -80.64; max lat: 49.153 ;