Many structures in Southeastern Wisconsin, especially in the Milwaukee area, are constructed with materials known as "Lannon Stone" and "Cream City Brick." Milwaukee, in fact, is known as "The Cream City" but it has nothing to do with Wisconsin's reputation as "America's Dairyland."
Lannon Stone is actually dolomite. It's a type of limestone that runs through The Niagara Escarpment, which runs underneath most of the Great Lakes. In an area northwest of Milwaukee, in Waukesha County, the stone was found right on the surface. Settlers built thick-walled homes from the stone that they just lifted from the surface.
William Lannon was one of those settlers, and he recognized an opportunity. Quarries sprang up around an area surrounding "Lannon Springs" and the limestone that was quarried there became known as "Lannon Stone." Today, stone homes are actually frame structures covered with a veneer of Lannon Stone.
Many bridges in Southeastern Wisconsin, like this one, were built in the depression era and clad with a veneer of Lannon Stone. (See the listings of bridges in Milwaukee County.)
Lannon Stone was widely used in the construction of structures in the Milwaukee County Parks. It is still widely used today, and in the Milwaukee County bridge listings, you will find some modern bridges, as well as replacement bridges, that are clad in Lannon Stone.
Cream City Brick can also be found in many Milwaukee area structures, including bridges. The soil in southeastern Wisconsin is red lacustrine clay. When it was used in the manufacture of bricks, the clay turned a yellowish-cream color when fired. So many structures in the Milwaukee area were built using the bricks that visitors began to call Milwaukee "The Cream City." As a result, the bricks became known as "Cream City Brick." It was shipped widely, and many lighthouses around the Great Lakes, and buildings in Chicago, were constructed with Cream City Bricks.
As you look at the bridges in Southeastern Wisconsin, you will see many of them are clad with Lannon Stone and some with Cream City Brick. You might also notice many buildings and homes, in the background, that use these distinctive materials.