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Steve, JLA Architects Community Connection

Community Connection: Burlington Historical Society with Steve

Steve WagnerSteve Wagner, JLA’s Milwaukee Office Director, has an architectural career that has spanned industries. His project portfolio includes work in the sectors of: K–12 education, churches, recreation, retail, as well as 10+ years of multifamily/mixed-use experience.  He is also passionate about historical buildings and their preservation, which is why we sat down with him to learn more about his involvement with the Burlington Historical Society and Historic Preservation Commission.


In what capacity are you involved with the Burlington Historical Society and the Burlington Historical Preservation Commission?

I served on the board of the Burlington Historical Society about 10 years ago and now my wife Lisa serves.  I am currently a volunteer with the Society which allows me to pick and choose the projects I work on with them.  I have helped to care for and restore the Pioneer Log Cabin in Wehmhoff Square.

I am also a Commissioner with the Burlington Historic Preservation Commission.  We work to care for the historic buildings in the city.

Pioneer Log Cabin Restoration

How did you get involved with each organization?

I have lived in Burlington for 18 years and my wife’s family has lived here for five generations, so the connection to this city is strong.  I was appointed to the Burlington Historic Preservation Commission about six years ago.  As for the Burlington Historical Society, I have been involved in various capacities for over 10 years.

What impact does the Historical Society and the Preservation Commission have on the Burlington community?

Both organizations seek to care for and preserve the rich history of the area.  The Burlington Historical Society was established in February 1928 to collect and preserve historical records and artifacts pertaining to the Burlington area. It was the first historical society in Racine County (courtesy of https://burlingtonhistory.org/)

The Commission oversees and approves the regulation of construction, reconstruction, and exterior alteration to buildings within the Historic Preservation Overlay District of Burlington.

How has your involvement impacted your work at JLA or as an architecture professional?

“Working with historic buildings is a wonderful and constant reminder to be thoughtful of what we contribute to the built environment as architects. “

Buildings outlive their original occupants and outlive their original intended use and, for this reason, whenever possible, care should be taken during the building’s design phase to consider its entire life cycle.



Here at JLA, we believe giving back is the right thing to do so we support organizations working to make the world a better place. Through our community outreach program, JLA Gives Back, our team works hard to make a positive and tangible impact in our local Colorado & Wisconsin communities. In this blog series, we’re sharing some of the causes and industry organizations that are nearest and dearest to our team member’s hearts.  Whether we are designing a library or volunteering at a food pantry, every day we are driven to create change in our communities through the practice of action in tangible ways.

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