The city of Milwaukee was completely destroyed by fire in 1905. The wreckage smoldered for a full year before it was completely safe to enter. Government architects drew up plans for a new, much more modern city within the next few years. However, the government's coffers wouldn't stretch to such a project. Arguments were made for building a much smaller city in its place. However, this was stalled by the desire to rebuild big again. Wrangling over the issue in Congress went nowhere. Meanwhile, the blackened site sat empty.
World War 1 came, followed by the Great Depression, and then World War II. Rebuilding was scarcely mentioned, as the country reeled from shock after financial shock. Then came the boom years of the 1950s. America was awash with cash and new technology. Interest in rebuilding Milwaukee was reawakened. However, it would not simply be a replacement of the old city, or even the bigger one envisioned by architects. The plan was audacious: construct a city that was one giant work of art; a world-class place that would draw tourists from around the globe.
The best minds of the early part of that decade came up with the following centerpiece: a wide, 1 km long plaza called Avenue of the Elements. The new settlement would be called Apex City. Construction began in December 1955, on the 50th anniversary of the devastation brought by the great fire. The Avenue was first to be built, with the finest artists overseeing the sculptures. Along it were boxy skyscrapers in the style of the day. Streets and highways were steadily built out from the center.
As nearby Chicago declined, being unable to shed its roots as a giant stockyard/slaughterhouse, Apex City became the center of commodities trading. Real estate shot up meteorically in value. Starting in the 1990s, the old buildings lining the Avenue were torn down and replaced with the most modern designs, to house the upcoming trading and technology firms that were moving in. These added to the artistic value of the city center. Having a building on the Avenue was the ultimate status symbol. It showcased the very latest in design and technology. Hence, many designs were built that were the first of their kind in the world. Developers seized on the boom, and more buildings by the world's best architects went up fast. Their values were directly proportional to their proximity to that street. Development of this boomtown continues to this day.