Plankinton John

Located in the rotunda of the Plankinton Building on Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee

People build monuments to create memory for future generations. The statue of John Plankinton, built to commemorate a man who helped bring Milwaukee to prosperity, has failed to keep his memory alive and active. The statue’s meaning has been transformed from a significant object of memory to a simple object of visual interest. In 1892, the author of John Plankinton’s biography misread the future when he boldly proclaimed, “John Plankinton will need neither bronze statue nor marble bust to preserve his memory in the city which owes so much of its prosperity to his name.” One hundred and twenty years later, John Plankinton’s full-size bronze statue, in the Grand Avenue Mall in Milwaukee, greets visitors who no longer remember the “Milwaukee Merchant Prince and Princely Merchant” who built his fortune in the latter-half of the 19th century. Today, his memory has faded in the city he helped bring to prosperity.

A Short Biography

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