The New Law Building in 1924

Eighty-six years ago, the Marquette Law School community waited anxiously to move into a new law building.  The attached photograph is from the spring or summer of 1924 and shows the structure of what would later be known as Sensenbrenner Hall. 

The Sensenbrenner name would not be attached to the site for another three decades and, during its early history, the building was known simply as the Law Building.  (This apellation can be seen on the sign in the right hand bottom corner of the photograph.)

A note in the August 19 edition of the Milwaukee Journal newspaper indicated that by that date the building had been completed.  The official dedication ceremony—the subject of a forthcoming post—would be held later that month.

The Law Building was constructed on the site of the previous law school building, the renovated Mackie Mansion.  Where law school classes were held during construction in the spring of 1924 remains something of a mystery.  Older photographs show that the Mackie Mansion was set back from Wisconsin Avenue a good distance (while the new building fronted directly on the street), so it is possible that classes could have continued in the older building during the construction.

On the other hand, by the time of the construction of the new Law Building, Marquette University boasted a total of 15 university buildings, so there were likely a number of options where law classes could have been held.

(Editor’s note: The photo also shows the difficulty, even then, of finding an open parking space.)

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Gordon Hylton

    Father Hamilton’s 1953 history of Marquette University provides additional information on the construction of what came to be known as Sensenbrenner Hall.

    Plans for a new law building were approved by 1922, and construction actually began in 1923. From yearbook accounts, it appears that the new building was constructed directly in front of the Mackie Mansion, the existing law building, which remained in tact throughout the construction.

    Prior to 1924, the law school had obtained an additional structure (a house) located next to the Mackie Mansion on 11th Street. (I beleive this was located on the site of the current Sensenbrenner Library.) This building had been pressed into service as an annex for the law school and it may have been more extensively used during the construction of the new building.

  2. Joseph Hylton

    The cornerstone to Sensenbrenner Hall is dated 1923. This suggests that the building was likely substantially completed well before the August 1924 official opening. This also suggests that the above photograph, which originally appeared in the Marquette yearbook for 1924, was taken some time in 1923.

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