At the northwest corner of Prospect Avenue and Windsor Place stands a beautiful rendition of the Mission or Spanish Revival Style popular in Milwaukee during the late 1920s. Constructed in 1927 according to the designs of Martin Tullgren & Sons, the Bertelson Building exemplifies the style with its clay tile roof, round arch entryways and windows, and relief carving. The style is one that draws from the architectural traditions of Spain’s American colonial settlements and primarily emerged following the Panama-California Exposition of 1915 held in San Diego. The style did not proliferate in Milwaukee, but there are several great examples, not the least of which being the Bertelson Building.
In regard to the the architects, Martin Tullgren & Sons were among Milwaukee’s early twentieth century architectural firms. Born and trained in Sweden, Martin Tullgren arrived in Chicago in 1881, and following a stint out west, Tullgren arrived in Milwaukee in 1902. Initially he partnered with another former Chicago resident, but later established Martin Tullgren & Sons in 1909 with his two sons Minard and Herbert who had previously worked as his draftsmen. During this period, the Tullgren firm produced buildings such as the Astor Hotel and the Downer Theater. After their father passed in 1922, the brothers continued Martin Tullgren & Sons under the same name. The Bertelson Building is an example the firms work under the direction of Minard and Herbert as well as the Watt’s Building at 761 N Jefferson, a phenomenal example of Revival Architecture with Moorish influences. Following Minard’s death in 1928, Herbert Tullgren continued the family firm until 1935 amidst the Great Depression. The Art Deco Northwestern Hanna Fuel Company Building, constructed in 1934 at 2150 N Prospect, is an example of Herbert’s solo work.