Pagoda Fine Jewelry – Cedarburg, Wisconsin - Atlas Obscura

Pagoda Fine Jewelry

Cedarburg, Wisconsin

The building was originally a gas station built to resemble a Japanese tea house. 


Not only does the building housing this jewelry shop have unconventional architecture (for the midwestern United States, that is), it also has an unconventional origin story. It was originally a gas station, harkening back to the days when the essential roadside structures supplied drivers with a bit of beauty in addition to fuel.

The building was constructed in 1926 as a service station for the Wadham’s Oil and Grease Company of Milwaukee. Architect Alexander C. Eschweiler was tasked with creating attention-grabbing stations to stand out against the drab structures that were so popular at the time.

Tapping into the early 20th-century interest in Japanese architecture, he designed more than 100 stations between 1917 and 1930. Though each building was its own unique design, each was capped with a pagoda-style roof made with stamped metal tiles. A number of them featured multi-tiered lanterns dangling from the corners of their cupolas.

Now, most of the pagoda gas stations have been demolished, leaving the Cedarburg location one of the few remaining examples. The pagoda was turned into a jewelry store in the early 1990s and has operated as one since.

Know Before You Go

You can walk by at any time. If you want to look inside, the jewelry store is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10:15 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Thursday and Saturday from 10:15 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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