eastcastle place historic building

History in the Making: Eastcastle Place Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Eastcastle Place senior living community is proud to announce that our original building has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. An honor bestowed on us by the Secretary of the Interior, this designation gives our building – which was originally named Milwaukee Protestant Home for the Aged at 2449 North Downer Avenue – federal protections and benefits.

A Storied Past and a Promising Future

The Eastcastle Place community was founded in 1884 when a group of publicly spirited women became interested in the needs of Elizabeth Trevor Thomas, a retired schoolteacher. This motivated these women to create a home where seniors could age in comfort and with confidence.

The founders started the home in a rental building, which they quickly outgrew, so construction began on the new building on Downer Avenue, which is the building now being honored with the historic designation.

Designed by renowned Milwaukee architects Henry Koch and Herman Esser in 1892, the original Victorian Gothic building was styled after the châteaus of 16th- and 17th-century France and boasts original woodwork, Tiffany memorial stained glass, Cyril Colnik metalwork staircases, steeply pitched roofs and towers, long verandas, and more.

Koch made additions to the structure in 1897. To meet the changing needs of East Side seniors, Eastcastle Place has built considerable additions over the years, expanding in 1962, the mid-1970s, 2000, and most recently in 2023.

Our entire staff has been humbled and overjoyed by the designation. Recently, Executive Director Tyler Gudex shared his thoughts on the designation with McKnight’s Senior Living and commented on the significance of this historic recognition, as well as complimented his exceptional team members who keep Eastcastle Place running smoothly for its many residents.

“This is a tremendous honor,” echoed Michael Brever, philanthropy director for Eastcastle Place. “With this recognition, our building will now receive the benefits and protections of the program, which include eligibility for both state and federal matching grants for restoration.”

At present, Eastcastle Place serves more than 200 seniors and is a beloved part of Milwaukee’s East Side. Because Eastcastle Place is a Life Plan Community, seniors are drawn to the full continuum of care available should their health needs change.

“Our goal is to ensure our community is around for many more years to support the seniors who desire our services,” Brever emphasized. “And with this listing in the National Register of Historic Places, we are better set up for success to achieve that goal.”

To learn more about the vibrant resident life at historic Eastcastle Place, call us at (414) 240-0694 to schedule a visit.