John A. Dahlman was born on a farm in Ripon, Wisconsin in 1873 and came to Milwaukee to work in construction when he was eighteen years old. He was employed by Northwest Tile Company and learned the trade of quality concrete work.
On July 27, 1908, John along with his wife, Minnie, William Dunphy and Adolph Schwefel, formed Dahlman Construction Company founded on the principles of integrity, quality, loyalty, and fairness. As this reputation became apparent in the Milwaukee community, John became known as "Honest John."
With the focus on concrete and masonry construction, Dahlman Construction contributed to building the City of Milwaukee's infrastructure. A list of notable projects include: the Lakeside Power Plant, Oak Creek Generating Plants, buildings for the Wisconsin Telephone Company (AT&T), and the Primate House at the Milwaukee County Zoo.
Dahlman Construction also constructed a number of schools and churches in the Milwaukee area including buildings at MATC (pictured), Milwaukee Lutheran High School, buildings at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and St. Sava Orthodox Cathedral (pictured).