Soldiers' Home Reef

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Soldiers' Home Reef
Soldiers' Home Reef is located in Wisconsin
Soldiers' Home Reef
Soldiers' Home Reef is located in the US
Soldiers' Home Reef
Location Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Coordinates 43°1′40″N 87°58′29″W / 43.02778°N 87.97472°W / 43.02778; -87.97472Coordinates: 43°1′40″N 87°58′29″W / 43.02778°N 87.97472°W / 43.02778; -87.97472
Built Silurian period fossilized coral reef.
NRHP Reference # 93001617
Significant dates
Added to NRHP November 4, 1993[1]
Designated NHL November 4, 1993[2]

Soldiers' Home Reef, also known as Rocky Point, National Military Asylum Reef, or Veterans' Hill is a fossilized coral reef rock formation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The reef formation was discovered by geologist Increase A. Lapham in the 1830s. It and other fossilized coral reefs that he discovered were the first geological reef formations described in North America, and are among the first described in the world.[2] This reef was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1993.[2]


The formation is located northeast of the junction of Wood Avenue and General Mitchell Boulevard, on the Clement J. Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center grounds.[1][3] It consists of the lower 35 feet (11 m) of a 70-foot (21 m) high bluff extending east-west for a distance of about 450 feet (140 m). The bluff is the only fully natural formation of its type remaining in Milwaukee County. It is located on the northern border of the VA grounds.[4]


The reef was formed during the Silurian period of the Paleozoic Era. It was first identified as archaeologically important by Increase Lapham, an amateur geologist, in the 1830s. It was first identified as a fossilized reef in 1862 by James Hall, marking the first such identification in North America. It was one of three other formations he identified; the other two have since been destroyed by quarrying and other alterations. The formation continued to be of significant interest to paleontologists until 1939, and still exhibits the diagnostic features used to identify it as a reef.[4]

A closeup of fossilized reef material.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b c "Soldiers' Home Reef". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  3. ^ Virtual Silurian Reef - Milwaukee County Stadium
  4. ^ a b "NHL nomination for Soldiers' Home Reff" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2017-03-26.