MILWAUKEE ATHLETIC CLUB
On September 18, 1882, eight young men established the Milwaukee Athletic Club — known colloquially today as the MAC — for the purpose of "developing of the bodily powers through gymnastic and other exercises." The focus quickly grew to include a breadth of amateur team and individual sports, such as swimming, basketball, track, and baseball. After joining the Amateur Athletic Union, the members of the MAC participated in several early Summer Olympics, as well as local competitions around the nation.
Where athletic success came easy, finding a permanent home for the club was more of a challenge. The MAC was previously located in seven different spots around Milwaukee before the final location was decided.
That final location is the building we see today — a 12-story neoclassical clubhouse designed by architect Armand Koch in 1917. This new structure offered the club and its members not only a place to call home, but a shift in purpose as well. The expansion allowed for departments of the MAC to grow their offerings to members and maintain a state-of-the-art facility with the highest quality safety measures in place.
In 1954, the club performed a nine-year restoration. It was during this period that a few of the most significantly historical rooms were developed by Eschweiler & Eschweiler, including the Bali Room, Elephant Room, and the Men's Lounge. Having been a club strictly for athletics, the new space now offered an opportunity for social and business life to thrive in addition to fitness. More and more the clientele began to diversify, featuring the athletic-minded, the professional-focused, and many who were plenty of both.
As the Milwaukee Athletic Club undergoes yet another historic expansion, it is poised to once again build upon its storied past — one of athletic, professional and social traditions more than a century in the making.