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The Iron Horse Hotel represents the transformation of a 100-year-old warehouse into a modern luxury boutique hotel.
In 1907, William Berger commissioned the distinguished Milwaukee architectural firm of Buemming and Dick to build the warehouse for the Berger Bedding Company. The location on the railroad offered excellent shipping facilities. The building was divided into the factory (today’s hotel) and the warehouse (Smyth, located behind the building’s firewall). The bedding company remained until 1927 when it became the Molitor Box Company, after a purchase by George Molitor Hormuth. In 1955, it became cold storage until Tim Dixon of Dixon Development LLC purchased it in 2005.
The name of The Iron Horse Hotel reflects the duality of our unique location. Native Americans referred to the train as the “iron horse” as it sped through the prairies. Today, the hotel remains nestled along an historic yet active railroad. Located at the origination and termination point of the tracks means that The Iron Horse Hotel guest is treated to the slow chug of freight cars a few times each day.
Today’s pop culture also refers to the motorcycle as the modern iron horse, a name befitting our location near the Harley-Davidson Museum, a monumental achievement by this Milwaukee-based manufacturer.
After the name was chosen, it was discovered that the building’s century-old distinct carved capitals serendipitously resembled an “I” in the shape of a horse head and an “H.” The icon was born and now subtly graces areas of the hotel.