Dr. Robert J. Faries, a native of Youngstown, Ohio, came to Milwaukee in 1844. Dr. George Barber Miner was born in Ogden, New York. Dr. Miner was both a physician and dentist. He lived in Milwaukee in 1845, when he and Dr. Faries began to practice together. A record of this partnership was engraved in stone in front of their office on Water St. in downtown Milwaukee until it was razed to clear a site for the Pfister hotel.
Dr. Faries was a man of many talents. He was an accomplished engraver, whose woodcuts are believed to have been the first used in Milwaukee. Some of his woodcuts and copper plate engravings are found in the old United States Hotel, which stood at East Water and Huron Streets and City Hotel, which later became the Kirby house.
His dental work was also revered. He won an award at the Paris International Exposition for his work on a set of dentures he carved. In addition, he is also believed to have built the first telescope made in Wisconsin. He grinded the lenses and frames by hand.
In the early 1840s, Dr. Faries built a frame house on the southern bluff of the lake shore near East Wisconsin Avenue and North Cass Street and in the 1850s, Dr. Faries built another house on Watertown Plank Road, of what is now North 27th Street. It is now located at 3011 West State Street. The houses that he built had a flat roof, which served as an astronomical observatory.
In 1856, Dr. Faries built the first brick house in the village of Wauwatosa. The house eventually became Dr. Faries dental practice, where he practiced for nearly 20 years. He was Wauwatosa’s first resident dentist and only practiced there as the only dentist for some time. After 33 years of dentistry, Dr. Faries retired due to his failing health.
Many Milwaukeeans admired him so much that they traveled by train or horse and buggy to see Dr. Faries in Tosa. His business card mentioned his practice’s accessibility by train.
After Dr. Faries died in 1878, his Wauwatosa home was sold to an artist, Jean Kavanaugh. The street it is located on was named after Jean – Kavanaugh Place. Many believe it should have been named after Dr. Faries instead. Today, Dr. Faries’ house is now the Carmelite Sisters Convent.
Dr. Robert Faries