Walter Schroeder (May 19, 1878 – July 18, 1967) was a Wisconsin hotel and insurance magnate.
Schroeder's formal education ended with the eighth grade and he began working at age 14 as a clerk in the Office of the Milwaukee Register of Deeds. There he learned about mortgages, deeds, and other legal instruments related ro real estate. Shortly after beginning work at the deed office, Schroeder also began working as a staff member of the Milwaukee Daily Reporter. Schroeder began his own paper only two years later, the Daily Abstractor, captured most of the Reporter's readers, and then bought out the Reporter.
In Chris. Schroeder & Son was asked to refinance a bond issue for the Wisconsin Hotel, the largest hotel in the state at that time. Schroeder saw that the hotel industry lacked competent management skills, and so decided to enter the hotel business.
In the 1920s Schroeder opened the:
- Schroeder Hotel, now the Hilton Milwaukee City Center, a 25-story landmark at 5th and Wisconsin streets in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
- Astor Hotel (now the Astor on the Lake) in Milwaukee
- Hotel Northland in Green Bay, Wisconsin
- Hotel Loraine on Capitol Square in Madison, Wisconsin
- Retlaw Hotel in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin - now the Ramada Plaza Hotel
- Wausau Hotel in Wausau, Wisconsin
- Duluth Hotel in Duluth, Minnesota
He also acquired the:
- Calumet Hotel in Fond du Lac
- Vincent Hotel in Benton Harbor, Michigan
Schroeder was a generous philanthropist. His foundation provided a $3 million grant to help fund the Milwaukee School of Engineering's Walter Schroeder Library in 1978. Other facilities named after Schroeder include the Walter Schroeder Lounge at the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center, and the Olympic-size Walter Schroeder Aquatic Center of the Metro Milwaukee YMCA. He was also a benefactor of Marquette University.
Schroeder's ghost is said to haunt the Ramada hotel in Fond du Lac, the Aquatic Center, and the Schroeder Hall.