History2 > 1873-1881
Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. : A Chronological
edited and written by Michael R.
Reilly, copyright 1995
Date of Last Revision
One of the most nostalgically remembered of all that
the Germans brought to Milwaukee was the Biergarten. The beer garden was an important
gathering place for family groups, politicians, artists, and celebrities as early as the
late 1840's. The most pretentious beer gardens were extensive groves, selected for natural
beauty and often enhanced by landscaping. Some featured exotic plants, artificial ponds,
fountains, and rustic stairways descending into picturesque ravines. Conveniently placed
benches and tables served by nimble footed waiters invited rest , quiet conversation and
Schlitz Park, at 8th and Walnut, ( today the site of
Carver Park) was the most popular beer garden in the city in the 1880's and nineties. At
the north end was a large pavilion, open on three sides, where concerts and grand opera
were given. Several hundred listeners could be seated inside, while as many others sat at
tables "under the stars" and sipped their beer as they listened. In the center
of the park was a hill topped by a three story lookout pagoda, from which most of the city
could be seen, it was possible to look across the city all the way to Lake Michigan. At
the south end of the park was a winter dance hall, bowling alley and a refreshment parlor.
A big schooner of beer was 5 cents, and a quarter would buy the kiddies a long strip of
tickets good for pink lemonade, soda water, wieners and popcorn. Some days there were
special thrills for the youngsters, as when a tightrope walker teetered at dizzy heights
among the trees, or a balloonist ascended. The park was ornamented by two large fountains,
and the terraces of the hill were illuminated at night by 250 gas globes. The arched
entranceway to the park was "ablaze with 32 electric lights".
The Musikverein von Milwaukee - the Milwaukee Musical
society - gave its concerts here. Eugene Luening conducted the society's orchestra.
Christopher Bach and his orchestra played other nights, and the Liederkranz - choral
society - sang under his direction. Some nights, out of town orchestras or opera companies
performed : Theodore Thomas conducted the Chicago orchestra, or a Gilbert and Sullivan
company from Boston put on the Pirates of Penzance or Pinafore. Political rallies were
also in the big pavilion : Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and
William Jennings Bryan spoke there. 7-143
In 1882, Milwaukee's population was reported to be 135,000 people and
1882, National Brewers' and Distillers' Association formed.
Schlitz's employment level in the mid-1880s was reported to be over
To the right is an early lithograph of the brewery in the 1880's,
note the horse-drawn wagons - taken from an early
Bottling beer in Cleveland, Ohio began as early as 1883.
The first bottling works at 20 Merwin St. was managed by John
Schlitz, nephew of the late Joseph Schlitz. After managing the bottling
operation for a time, John owned and operated a saloon/restaurant with others
for a number of years. By circa 1900, bottling at East 55th St. near Chester
Ave. was managed by W. Marshall. 24-85
Uihlein family photo taken in the early 1880's - They are
[bottom row, from left]; Charles, superintendent of the bottling works; Edward, vice
president in charge of developing the Chicago markets; Henry, president. Top row [from
left]; William J., assistant superintendent of the brewery; Alfred, superintendent and
brewmaster; August, secretary and chief operating officer
In 1885 (possibly as early as 1883),William J. Uihlein brought back the
first pure yeast culture apparatus from Denmark to the United States after having studied
the importance and significance of cultivating yeast from one individual cell and growing
and multiplying this cell under sterile conditions thus insuring purity and uniformity in
fermentation. Emil Christian Hansen developed the yeast for the Carlsberg Breweries in
Christian Voechting became president of the Joseph Schlitz Bottling
Works in 1885. 1-93. See below.
"A postcard measuring 3" x 5" and bearing a
printed, pre-paid one-cent stamp and a postmark reading July 9, 1885, Milwaukee,
Wis. The address side of the postcard reads " Postal Card US - Nothing but
the address can be placed on this side." It is addressed to Messrs Lormore
& Tompkins, Elmira N.Y. The reverse reads " Milwaukee, Wis., July 8,
1885. Dear Sir: We received from you, per C.M. & St. P. (Chicago,
Minneapolis and St. Paul) 39 cases - - - $9.75, 92 pint bottles - - - $44.16
(total) $53.91, on which we paid for freight - - - And have placed to your
credit - - - Very respectfully, The Joseph Schlitz Bottling Works Limited."
It's funny because the name of the company is stamped over the original name on
the card which read VOECHTING, SHAPE & CO. This whole side of the card is
printed in italics, but the date, C.M. & St. P., numbers and figures are
hand-written in a beautiful script". Note:
Description from an eBay auction.
1886's capacity exceeded 500,000 barrels annually, of which 1/16 (or
31,250 barrels) were sold locally. about 120,000 barrels were constantly kept on hand ,
along with 400,000 barrels of malt and barley. The plant was operated with a 150 hp steam
engine plus 20 and 25 hp engines for other departments. The plant also boasted of its 150
hp., Linde patent ice machine - the first imported machine of its kind in America;
purchased in 1885 in Switzerland. The brewery covered an area of 580,000 sq. ft. and the
bottling house produced 15 million bottles. They had branches in principal cities of the
United States- the employees numbered 25,000.
1886, National Union of the Brewers of the United States established
- "Annual capacity, 600,000 barrels, Harry Uihlein, Pres."
In 1886, a manager at Schlitz reported that each of his men drank an average of
40 "short glasses" of "free beer" a day; and
that the "plant champion" managed to put down 100 or more than 3
In 1887 Charles Uihlein left the superintendent position at
the bottling works and retired from the brewing business. His connection with the brewery
remained peripheral from then on. He was a relatively young man yet and he spent the rest
of his life traveling, collecting art, and otherwise enjoying himself. 9-1
Anna Marie Schlitz (Krug) dies on January 20, 1887. See important new
news about her will and that of her late husband.
Schlitz was reported to own in 1887, something like fifty retail
outlets (corner saloons) in Milwaukee. The corner saloon was one of the important economic
props of the brewing industry before Prohibition but it was also a focal target later on
of the temperance groups.
The United States Brewmasters' Association Of America
is formed in Chicago during 1887. Following Prohibition's repeal, it was renamed Master
Brewers Association of America.
100 Barrels of Schlitz Beer shipped from Milwaukee,
Wisconsin to Carter, Wyoming Territory Nov 1st, 1887 by the Union Pacific Railway Co.
Freight cost: $372.40
For Schlitz to sell its' product from coast
to coast, it was necessary to ship it over long distances that were both
expensive and extremely bothersome, and often it proved detrimental to the
beer's quality. 24-217/218.
1888- Brewery employees strike in New York, Chicago, and Milwaukee.
The Schlitz Hotel (shown with the Palm Garden, opened in
1896) in Milwaukee is built in 1889.-------------------->
In 1889 the brewery carried several brands of beer and it is
interesting to note the pieces of beer - Schlitz held 5 qt's to the gallon- and one box
(case) of two dozen quart bottles of Extra Pale beer sold for $3.75 while the same amount
of Stout brand sold for $1.45. at this time Christian Voechtens or Voechting
was president, August
Uihlein, vice-president, and Chas. E. Meyer, secretary-treasurer.
In 1889, a British Brewery syndicate proposes a plan for the
consolidation of the three leading Milwaukee brewers: Schlitz, Pabst, and Blatz for a
purchase price of $16,500,000; only Blatz eventually sells a share in his brewery. (Later
on ,1892-93, various British syndicates were responsible for a number of disagreeable and
unprofitable price wars due to the fact that they were not recovering their investments as
they had intended or thought).
June, 1890 - Internal Revenue Act changed to allow the piping of beer
from the storage cellars to the bottling house. A revenue officer had to be present at all
times the beer was flowing; not changed until 1933.
1890 - Charles Kirchhoff, Jr. designs a Schlitz tavern at
2249 N. Humboldt Ave, Milwaukee in the Romanesque Revival style that today
(February, 2000) is one of many historic buildings that are threatened by
development. Mr. Kirchhoff was born in Milwaukee on July 22, 1856, and received
his education in public and private schools of Milwaukee and the German-English
Academy. After leaving school, he learned the trades of carpenter and mason. He
then went to Boston and New York, where he spent two years in architectural
school. After his partnership with Henry Messmer dissolved, he designed the
Schlitz Hotels in Winona, MN and Omaha, NEB., along with the Globe Hotel, Palm
Garden, the Schlitz Hotel and the Uihlein theater in Milwaukee. Ref:
in part - "Wisconsin Men of Progress"
In 1891, the brewery had an output of 547,196 barrels, more than
doubling that of 1881.
1892, William Painter patents the "crown" with a thin disk of
1892 - Wood pulp coaster invented by Robert Smith of Dresden,
1892 - Richard
Bock talking about his work for the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. [Very likely
commissioned by Edward G. Uihlein] "It was almost a year before the opening of the World's
Columbian Exposition, better known as the Chicago World's Fair. All the buildings
were completed and ready for the exhibits to be put in place.
The immense Manufacturers' Building was a wonderfully impressive
structure, and, no doubt, deserved to stand next to the gem of all the buildings,
Sullivan's Transportation Building, with its rainbow arch entrance. . . ."
"Now that the
Schiller theater was completed, I [ Richard Bock], still, had a
considerable amount of work that needed attention. There was an exhibition piece [that] I
was to do for the Manufacturers' Building, the Schlitz Brewery trademark of a huge globe,
with a buckled belt around it. This globe was supported by four female figures, in playful
poses, representing the four hemispheres. At their feet were gnomes. Flanking this
centerpiece were four pedestals constructed of beer kegs, three to a pedestal, and, on top
of each, a herald blowing a trumpet. This work was in charge of an assistant
named Franz Rugiska, with whom I had made a partnership agreement. He had come to me from
Mr. Sullivan's sculptor, Mr. Boyle, who had worked on the Transportation Building, while I
was doing the Schiller Theater." [Editor's note
- it may very well be that future ornamentation for Schlitz buildings and literature
evolved from this World's Columbian Exposition work.]
In 1893, Baron Alfred von Cotzhausen, president of the Milwaukee Fine
Arts Co. - a lithographing firm that made beer labels for Schlitz - thought Schlitz should
capitalize on its Chicago goodwill gesture. He approached a Schlitz employee, Ernest
Bielefeld. The two met with August Uihlein, and on May 15,1893, the slogan "The
that Made Milwaukee Famous" made its advertising debut. The slogan was purchased for
$5,000 and brought millions to its purchasers.
|| Can anyone identify the date this tray was made? Here's details since its hard to
see: Above the globe in the hexagon is "Schlitz: The Brewer's Own Bottling,
Milwaukee USA" Running the length of the "Schlitz" in the middle of the globe above the belt is a steam locomotive train. Large print on bottom is
"The Beer That Made Milwaukee Famous". To the right and left of the globe
are etchings of hops, grain. Its a 12" pie, produced by F.E. Marsland, which
operated pre-prohibition. Please contact Wayne
Vrona or this editor. I know that it is after 1893 because of the
slogan use. Another example of this pre prohibition silver Schlitz beer
tray is also 12" in diameter and was made by the Carpathian Silver
Tray Co in New York; though it appears NOT to have the globe in the hexagon
"Schlitz: The Brewer's Own Bottling,
While among the brothers, August was the master salesman; Alfred who
was the brew master and superintendent and later president, was mild, gentle mannered,
most modest and best liked. He did his best by delving deeper into the idiosyncrasies of
yeast fermentation. For sixty years he personally supervised the buying and testing of all
the barley and hops which were used.
The JSBCo. brings suit against the Southern Pacific Railway in 1893 for
price discrimination (Schlitz wins).
In the 1880's George Pullman built Pullman Town to house his company's many workers; he never allowed
liquor to be sold to his workers in town. In *October, 1904, the Pullman Land Association sold the Schlitz company a choice, ten-acre plot just across the Illinois Central tracks at 115th Street for about $45,000. "Schlitz Row" (now called Front Street between 113th and 115th) was almost immediately built along two blocks with saloons, stables (11314-18 Front Street) and apartments.
Schlitz also built houses and more apartments for the use of branch managers and for rent to the general public. page 42-43 The stables were used for the Schlitz
delivery wagons and horses (near the top of the building are two horse heads). The manager's homes are along present day Martin Luther King Dr. , from 115th to 113th. There is an apartment house at 11429-31 king Dr. and houses at 11419 King Dr., 11347 King Dr., and 11337-39 King Dr. You can spot them by the distinctive brick colors and German architectural style.
Sources: The Saloon: Public Drinking in Chicago and Boston, 1880-1920, by Perry R. Duis, first written in 1943, this edition published by the University of Illinois Press, 1999.
American Heritage: A Magazine of History, pages 35-36.
*(Editor's Note: An excerpt from the American Heritage magazine says " During the (Pullman) strike Chairman Thomas Heathcote and the Strike Committee decided that the strikers should not frequent these saloons nor should the workers come here to pick up beer and bring it back to their homes in Pullman. The Strike Committee felt that drinking might cause trouble, which would bring an unfavorable public reaction and damage the cause of the union. Newspapers still print stories about the fights in the saloons of "Schlitz Row", but they fail to point out that the union had boycotted the saloons and that those men who were fighting were not the union strikers." Now the Pullman Strike occurred from May to July of 1894; ten years before the so-called "Schlitz Row" was even
built [from the paragraph above]. If you look at history, the Pullman operation was in trouble during the depression years, as early as 1893 or before. It would make more sense if the Land Association sold the parcel of land to the Schlitz company sometime around 1893, rather than 1904. The Schlitz company probably had saloons in the nearby towns of Kensington, Roseland ,and Gano already in the early 1880's to help satisfy the Pullman workers' thirsts.)
In *1893, the fledgling Louis Glunz company became the first bottler
for Schlitz in Chicago at 1204 North Wells Street just north of Division. Special
Exposition bottles were produced and are on display today in the Glunz museum. "This
Business was riding high on Schlitz." said Barbara Glunz Donovan, granddaughter of
the founder Louis Glunz. With its' Schlitz distributorship plus a growing wine, beer and
spirits trade, the business prospered until Prohibition. Retailers throughout the city
came in horse-drawn wagons to pick up their orders until the Glunz company purchased its'
own mule teams and dapple-gray horses. After Prohibition, the bottling of
non-pasteurized draft Schlitz in half-gallon bottles burgeoned at the new (Glunz or
Schlitz?) facility at Hill and Franklin. The ultra-modern (for its day) plant had
gravity-powered conveyors and a mechanically refrigerated cooling room. Louis Glunz
continued as a bottler and distributor of Schlitz beer until Schlitz built its' own
bottling plant in Milwaukee. Sources: Chicago Sun-Times, Thursday, August
11, 1988, article by Dee Coutelle, " Lift a glass to Glunz' 100 years in business".
The Schlitz Rhomboid, Winter 1951-52.
*Note: Christian Voechting became president of the Joseph
Schlitz Bottling Works in 1885. If this is true then the date that Glunz became first
involved with Schlitz must have been much sooner - perhaps soon after the Chicago Fire or
?. Also the Schlitz Rhomboid says that Glunz was with Schlitz since 1888.
note about Chicago Schlitz saloons: were plain in appearance, with the saloon and rear quarters for the proprietor and his family on the first floor and an upstairs divided into small flats. In others, the second floor was devoted to halls and meeting rooms. One building at Ninety-fourth and Ewing Avenues, in South Chicago, was topped with two floors of small sleeping rooms for workers.
On the fronts of its' buildings, Schlitz installed large stained glass windows and roof-line ornaments, both depicting the company's global trademark.
poster; 31 inches high by 21-1/2 inches wide. Each picture
surrounding Globe has sayings on them, ex. "Old Friend, A Charmer,
Above Par". produced by The Beck & Pauli Lith. Co. Milwaukee.
In order to avoid such headaches, the large national brewers sought
control of the railroad facilities they used. Joseph Uihlein, a JSBCo. officer, was the
real owner of the Union Refrigerator Transit Corporation with Emanuel Lorenz Philipp as
president (later governor of Wisconsin).
By 1895 its main plant was relocated from Walnut St. to
Cherry St.; the larger plant covering seven acres and the buildings, six stones in height,
comprised cooper shops, repair shops, ice houses and railroad tracks. Its malt house at
that time was one of the largest in the city. Great cellars and vaults extended 25 ft
It was reported in the American Brewer (v.28, p.20) that in 1895, the
Pabst and JSBCo. of Milwaukee "have just completed the organization of the
Mississippi and Northern Railroad Co. The officers are Gustav G. Pabst, president; Alfred
Uihlein, vice-president; E.L. Phillips (formerly connected with the Chicago and North
Western Railroad Co.), secretary.
In 1895 a female delegation visited the Daily (Milwaukee) Journal and
suggested that it turn over its publication to them for a day to raise funds to help the
poor affected by that year's depression; one of the delegation was Paula Uihlein. the
issue they printed was on February 22, 1895 (some issues were printed on silk) 6-0
November, 1895, Extensive improvements were being made
on the stock farm of the Schlitz Brewing Co. near Lannon (Mill Road hill). The 200 acres
were fenced and three horse barns, 180 feet long, were constructed (The barns
were to support a horse farm that would be used to haul the brewery's beer
wagons.). Outbuildings and two
homes were also planned, at a cost of over $18,000. Schlitz planned to breed and keep
horses at the farm, as well as other stock. 18-11/21/1995.
According to Sussex Historian,
Fred Keller, in an article "Old Mill Road runs from Whiskey Corners to
Tower Hill" (Sussex Sun, Tuesday, June 25,2002, page 32), the
Uihleins were busy purchasing most of the land east of Lannon Road on Mill Road.
This area today is known as "Tower Hill", whether the term came about
from the tower later built on the property or the fact that the hill is very
high and steep is unknown. Fred reports that a single barn (reportedly 400 feet
in length) was built in 1899 on the north side of Mill Road, and on the south
side, an observation tower over four stories high. From the tower, they could
oversee the horse-operation barns and the vast pastures in the valleys.
According to records, the tower had a main floor octagon dance floor, a wine cellar,
and the observation deck above; towering above all was the crow's nest
In 1902, the barn(s) was
struck by lightening and burned killing a reported 100 of the 104 horses housed
within. The tower remained but the main horse barn was never rebuilt. The
Uihleins would occasionally visit, climbing the tower to view Holy Hill to the
northwest, Milwaukee to the east, and Waukesha to the south. The Uihleins
eventually sold the land to the Becker, Schmitz, and other families. The tower
suffered from neglect and was torn down in 1920. Today (June 2002), the land on
which the tower stood is owned by Bob Becker (N64 W19783 Mill Rd.)
The Uihlein Theater, modeled after an English music hall 9-1, opens in
1896 but a few months later changes it name to the Alhambra . It had a check room for
bicycles on the second floor, served tea to patrons and had four (or was it two bars?)
bars that sold Schlitz. The combining of beer with the theater had some mixed blessings
when customers started bouncing the beer bottles down the stairs if they didn't like the
show. A local gal, Theodosia Goodman ,later know as Theda Bara or "Hell's
Handmaiden" became quite well known at the theater later on for her daring costumes
and racy dialogue. The Alhambra later showed movies until it was replaced by a parking lot
in 1959. 11-162
The year the theater opened, August ordered a large
evergreen installed there for Christmas and invited hundreds of local urchins to a party.
This raised his status considerably among younger Milwaukeeans. They would wave merrily
but respectfully at him as he sped along the streets in his carriage, and he waved back
unless he was having a drag race with another horseman. 9-1
The Alhambra Theater property was a good example of the multiple
ownership going on in Milwaukee. In 1959, City Hall records showed it belonged to 21
individuals and two trusts. One trust, established for Meta Kopmeier, represented
5.88235294 percent of the Alhambra's ownership; the other trust , for Minnie G. Uihlein,
owned 0.7843137 of one percent of the property. The 21 individuals were members of the
Uihlein, Brumder, Elser, Donnelly, Pabst, Kasten, Tallmadge, Schroeder, Flint, and Snell
| In the late 1890's a type of indoor beer garden known as the palm
garden came into vogue. The most famous of these was the Schlitz Palm Garden, opening in
1896 just south of the southeast corner of Grand Ave. (W. Wisconsin Ave..) and N. 3rd St..
The Schlitz hotel stood on the corner. The Palm Garden gave an impression of great
spaciousness, with its high arched ceiling festooned with lights, its pipe organ, and its
stained glass windows heightening the glow of color from the rich oil paintings along the
walls. The garden had its own red coated company of musicians, but nationally known
orchestras often played engagements there. Beer was the main refreshment served - up to 40
barrels a day - but family groups often brought a bag of sandwiches. The Palm Garden
closed when Prohibition came, and was converted to a short lived motion picture theater,
the Garden. 7-145 (postcard by E.C. Kropp, Milwaukee.)
||<--- Closeup of interior of Schlitz Palm Garden
In 1897, Edward G. Uihlein and Schlitz erected a $40,000 building near the busy corner intersection of Milwaukee, North, and Robey (now
Damen) avenues. Over the next eight years Schlitz constructed fifty-seven saloons worth some $328,800.
Source: The Saloon: Public Drinking in Chicago and Boston, 1880-1920, by Perry R. Duis, first written in 1943, this edition published by the University of Illinois Press, 1999.
When Commodore Dewey and his men captured Manila during the Spanish
American War in 1898, the Schlitz brewery sent several thousands of bottles of Schlitz
beer to the victorious sailors much to their delight. Dewey immediately ordered a
trainload (67 cars) to be sent. Seeing an opportunity to widely advertise their product,
the Uihleins shipped the beer over three different railroads, posting the cars with
Schlitz banners and posters. Over the course of the war, 700,000 barrels of beer were
shipped (an 1899 ad reveals 219 carloads were sent) to the Philippines much to the consternation of the National Women's Christian
Temperance Union who made their protest in a letter to Dewey. A Mr. Wuesthoff, then
manager of the Schlitz Brewery, countered by stating that any sensible person would know
that beer was very healthful for any person who was subjected to malarial diseases and
that Dr. Senn of the U.S. Army had given his opinion that beer was beneficial. At any
rate, despite the hopes of the Temperance Union to intercept the flow of alcoholic
beverages, the beer did arrive and was safely stowed away by the servicemen.
Promotion was the key note of Pabst's great period of
expansion from 1873 to 1893; and by the close of the period, the company was
expanding as much as $69,000 annually on this newly developing marketing
technique. Schlitz advertising men were equally resourceful. A reward
of 3,600 bottles (see above) of Schlitz to Admiral Dewey and his men for the capture of
Manila led to an order of sixty-seven carloads of the brew for the Philippines.
Schlitz beer went to Africa with Theodore Roosevelt (see
bottles found in the stomach of a dead whale. From Europe to the Orient,
advertising tricks and by-words caused the product to be known. it was perhaps
only by inadvertence that two such slogans served to publicize Milwaukee, too;
but the result was such as to make the association of the product with the city
traditional. "The Beer that Made Milwaukee Famous" -the particularly
effective advertising line which the Schlitz Company purchased for $5,000 from a
smaller brewing concern, *Blatz; became the subject of a controversy between
Schlitz and Pabst advertising men in 1898. As a result, the Pabst Company
ultimately relinquished their original slogan because of its similarity to the
more famous one to which Schlitz had a prior claim.
*(It's interesting to note that in 1986 when the Heileman
Brewing Company was unveiling its new automated Val Blatz plant in Milwaukee,
that then CEO Russell Cleary made a statement that Heileman had uncovered some
documentation that supported the sale of the slogan from Blatz to Schlitz.
Mr. Cleary also mentioned that he would purchase
the slogan back from Stroh Brewing Company, the current owners of Schlitz, if
they had no intention of using it.)
When the slogan was first publicized nation-wide, a
brewery in Menomonee, MI. countered with "The Beer that made Milwaukee
Jealous", and a western brewery with "The beer that made Milwaukee
Editor's note - one or more Wisconsin
breweries also took exception to Schlitz's slogan and promoted similar offending
ones, sometimes ending up with the Schlitz brewery taking them to court.
The slogan became the subject of a controversy between
Schlitz and Pabst advertising men in 1898. As a result, the Pabst Company
ultimately relinquished their original slogan ("Milwaukee Beer Is Famous
- Pabst Has Made It So") because of its similarity to the
more famous one to which Schlitz had a prior claim.
The Spanish-American War in 1898 was the reason for a doubling of the beer tax
from $1 to $2 a barrel (a war-tax); lasted until 1901.
While Teddy Roosevelt was hunting in the African wilds, August Uihlein
sent him 80 cases of Schlitz beer at Mombassa. The photograph of Roosevelt receiving this
consignment found its way to many prominent and not so prominent newspapers; Schlitz
believed in advertising.
In the Summer of 1898 the new Schlitz Waukesha Hotel
opens in the City of Waukesha. Sometime before 1910 the Schlitz Hotel on
16th Street north of Harney was built in Omaha, Nebraska. See a picture of
Restaurant in Port Richmond, NY that offered its' patrons billiards.
There was a story of how August Uihlein gave prize canaries to his
favorite customers, who took them whether they enjoyed bird songs or not, or how in the
brewery's early days, he would hurry down to the brewery early in the morning because
there was no time clock for the employees to punch. 11-108
||A 1900 newspaper article describes the brewery's plans to manufacture
"As the manufacturers of glass bottles in the United
States have been steadily advancing prices of their output for the past year, the Schlitz
Brewing Company has determined to make its own bottles hereafter. The company's bottling
plant on South Bay St. will be remodeled for this purpose after April and a glass factory
will be erected which will give employment to 100 expert hands.
This step will be something of a new departure as there are but a few
brewing companies in the country which manufacture their own bottles. For this reason, it
will be much enlarged and its superfluous product will be put on the market.
'We are negotiating now with an expert glass blower,' said Eugene
Wuesthoff of the Schlitz Brewing Company, who will superintend the necessary alterations.
We have nine acres of ground on South Bay Street intersected by two railroads and since
1886, the old plant has been used for bottling works. We are planning for a ten shop
continuous tank furnace capable of making 15,000 quart and an equal number of pint bottles
during each season of ten months. We will make all our own bottles, and if the experiment
is a success, will also make them for other concerns."
Around 1900, the bottling industry started getting away from the
center-embossed bottles because of the beginning wide use of paper labels.
In July, 1901, the beer tax is reduced from $2 to $1.60; in July of
1902 it was further reduced to the pre-1898 level of $1 per barrel.
Tivoli Palm Garden
729 S. 5th St.
With the entrance still decorated with the Schlitz Brewery saloon globe, this was a
companion to the Schlitz Palm Garden downtown. It originally housed a barroom, cafe,
bowling alleys and barbershop. It is built of tan brick and Bedford limestone. http://www.msoe.edu/~reyer/mke/1901e.html
Schlitz began construction of a $100,000 ,two-story,
brick bottle house in 1902 on west Galena Street. It covered an area of 177 by 174 feet
and contained air space of 1,064,300 cubic feet. The plans were drawn by Louis Lehle of
Chicago and the construction was done by S.H. Stueve, a local masonry contractor.
| In August, 1901, a
Schlitz Hotel was built at the corner of Main & Collins streets in
Oconomowoc. Owned by the Schlitz company, the two-story building cost
$7,000 and contained a large office, public dining room, 12 sleeping
rooms, and a balcony. Maple was used for the flooring. The outside was
primarily brick. It was later restored and still stands; you can still
see the faded Schlitz Hotel sign painted on the rear side. The hotel
featured a Palm Garden and Tap Room. (Information and ad to left from "Oconomowoc: Barons to
Bootleggers" by Barbara and David Barquist, 1999.)
Note: during Prohibition, c. 1924, a John Geitzen
ran a rowdy "soft drink parlor" in the former Schlitz Hotel
building. Such an establishment was often linked to selling moonshine,
"spiked beer", "bathtub gin", etc. Circa 1920,
a R.E. McKensie applied for a license to run a "soft drink
saloon" in the same building but was turned down, due to, either he
had been known to sell illegal beverages, or the previous business in
the building had a reputation for doing so.
December, 1902 - Schlitz surpasses Pabst, making it the largest in
Milwaukee and the world. 8-56 Over 1 million barrels of beer sold in a year,
surpassing the next largest Milwaukee brewery by over 100,000 barrels.
A 1903 Schlitz ad tells of not only filtering
the air used to cool the beer, but that the beer itself is filtered through
masses of white wood pulp.
A 1904 Schlitz ad reveals that the brewery
gets their water supply from six artesian wells 1400 ft deep, not from the
Milwaukee River or Lake Michigan.
It's 1906 and August Uihlein gives up one of his many responsibilities
and makes his first born, Joseph Sr. general manager of the brewery. 9-2
<----!906 Schlitz ad.
The following are excerpts taken from the "Bucket Boy" by
Ernest L. Meyer concerning his recollections of events concerning the Schlitz Brewery and
Park. These recollections were written in 1947 and may or may not provide an accurate
picture of what was actually there.
Regarding the Schlitz Park: page 21, "This was Schlitz Park, a
place of pavilions and picnics, of long open-air tables and benches where lusty
Mannerchore roared drinking songs between rounds of steins, and children frolicked on the
carousel. The merry-go-round was operated by an ancient brewery-wagon horse, once a
tremendous Percheron in glittering harness, but now old and thin and half blind, ..., but
needing no whip or spur to keep him jogging amiably in the round-and-round routine that
was the life of horses and men. Just a little cluck of the tongue and they were off,
obedient, and bearing no malice whatever".
About the brewery location: page 45, "We bathed in beer's aroma.
The house where we lived for some years was only two blocks away from the vast, sprawling
Schlitz Brewery. The smell of hops blanketed the neighborhood. It was sweet and heady, a
clean smell, but mostly-on account of its familiarity- we were unconscious of it. Often
visitors from other parts of Milwaukee came to our house. They would raise their heads,
snuff greedily, and murmur: "Ah!" Then, swelling suddenly with local pride, we
would join in the "Ah!" and boast about the medicinal value of that laden air.
Everybody knew, of course, that it was good for "lung-fever".
" As a boy I found a never-failing delight in that brewery; in
some ways it was quite like a circus. Every day the brewery wagons, dozens of them , would
clatter, laden, past our house in the early morning and return in the late afternoon, with
empty barrels. They were drawn by teams of magnificent Percherons whose great shod hooves
struck sparks from cobbled street. The harness dazzled the eye with the gleam of sunlight
on polished brass. Perched on the very high seat of the van were the driver and his
helper, robust fellows in leather aprons and clean peaked caps, and so strong they could
lift and roll full barrels of beer with the apparent ease of a child trundling a hoop. We
boys of that district took parochial pride in the horses, the trappings and the drivers of
the Schlitz Brewery. Sometimes visitors from a little farther west would prate about the
superiority of the Pabst Brewery: how the horses, for example, were bigger and stronger
and glossier because the Pabsts maintained a pure-bred Percheron stable at Lake
Oconomowoc, raising their own stock on a tremendous farm. We would reply, with proper
indignation, that such talk was nonsense, and we would wonder privately how anyone could
be so blinded by neighborhood prejudice as to utter such fantastic fables".
"The nearness of the Schlitz Brewery added to our loyalty for a
quite selfish reason: we were able to get free beer there. Not that I or any of my friends
was a toper. It was simply that on a stifling summer day we thought it would be a sensible
idea to down a cool, foaming stein, especially if we could get it for nothing. So that in
mid-afternoon we would sometimes walk to the brewery and wait for the strategic time,
which was sight-seeing time. In those days, the Steamship Christopher Columbus, known
affectionately as "The Whaleback", used to bring daily a great crowd of
excursionists from Chicago. During their shore leave, most of them took a rubber-neck tour
of Milwaukee, and Schlitz Brewery was a favorite stop-off both for reasons of history and
of hospitality. If we maneuvered modestly and with proper discretion, we could attach
ourselves to one of these conducted tours of the brewery. Always, of course, we would join
in dutifully in the exclamations of surprise at the hugeness and cleanliness of the copper
kettles, the cleverness of the bottling machinery, and so forth. This was really no
surprise at all; with repetition it had become, for us, quite bore some. But at the end of
the tour we were rewarded, in a large, cool brewery Gast-Schenke, with a large stein of
chilled beer and a snack of lunch, all free. This was no surprise either, but it was very
"One of the departments of the brewery I liked best was the
cooperage. In summers the doors were wide open and the sound of the hammers hitting empty
barrels was cheerful. The floors were always wetted down, and a moist, woody fragrance
wafted out into the street. The coopers drank a great deal of beer and were a singing,
lusty lot. Some of them suffered from rheumatism, due to the dampness, and it was well
known that beer was good for rheumatism. It sort of equalized the dampness, within and
More on Schlitz Park - page 163, "It was a little after eight
o'clock; the arc lamps had just come on, and the leaves of the elms cast swaying shadows
on the graveled paths. Most of the younger children had gone home, but the carousel was
crowded with older boys and girls and even a number of women and men. The ancient brewery
horse went round and round at a slow, thoughtful pace; she did not have to hurry, for she
moved in her own circuit a little distance from the merry-go-round, and a clever system of
cogs and a shaft attached to the carousel made it spin at really a breezy clip. The
tootled melodies of the carousel pipes vied with the music from the distant bandstand. The
benches around the tables under the trees were comfortably occupied by family groups, and
on the outskirts at smaller tables young couples made decorous love. Weaving in and out
among the tables like great moths in the semi-darkness were the waiters, stout fellows in
billowing white aprons and so deft at their trade they could carry five big and brimful
glass steins in each hand and hustle them from bar to customer without spilling a drop. A
few of the more waggish and vigorous waiters carried on their shuttlings in time to the
band music. This was easy enough in moments of an ordinary Sousa march, but when the band
swung into something really galloping like a polka everyone would hold his breath, fearing
catastrophic collisions and splashings".
From page 165, "...., a platter of mixed cold cuts, and a heap of
bread and butter". "... prepared himself a gargantuan sandwich of layers of
metwurst, tongue, Swiss cheese, and ham, all topped by two halves of a hard-boiled egg. He
consumed this pyramid with amazing dexterity and speed, and groaned, "Not nearly so
tasty as the free lunch at the Pabst Buffet, and the villains here have the gall to charge
forty cents for this platter of morsels. Ah, well ..."
Note to you readers: On page 221 of the "Bucket Boy", the
author confuses Captain Fred Pabst with Joseph Schlitz.
Things weren't always as rosy as sometimes pictured for the common
worker in Milwaukee. During the 1870s and 1880s, various workers were surveyed about their
recreation time; most were too tired in the evening to go anywhere (for example the
Schlitz Palm Garden). They didn't have much money to spend, practically the only
recreation was the purchase of a so-called pint of beer for five cents. It was a two-quart
pail, the inside rubbed with butter to keep down the foam. This was the evening's feast
for the worker, his family, and possible guests. Those workers who frequented saloons were
not going to get ahead in the world. Their nickel pint was a pint, and may explain how the
"free lunch" was paid for. 14-541
| PARAGON PARK, Nantasket Beach (Mass.) souvenir
paperweight, circa 1905. Sepia tone photo of the renowned Schlitz Beer Palm Garden--so
exclusive that, according to Doc Bergan's OLD NANTASKET, the town selectmen weren't
During 1907 the brewery reached its
pre-prohibition peak of 1,500,000 barrels of beer, and the capital stock was valued at $12
Despite the Uihlein's wealth, the brothers (except for Edward)
continued to live for some years within walking distance of the brewery. They had built
Victorian mansions on what became known as Uihlein Hill. Later, several of them also had
summer places in the unspoiled countryside along the river on North Humboldt Ave..
August's house at 4th and Galena was typical; it had a large yard where
the children rode their high wheeled bicycles. The stable held three carriages, four
horses and a harness room on the first floor, six more horses and the family cow in the
Alfred's house at 1639 N. 5th had 13 rooms, including a third floor
ballroom. It was not torn down until 1969. One of the ornamental fireplaces, sections of
hand carved oak paneling and other mementos of its elegance were saved from the wreckers.
They were preserved by the Milwaukee County Historical Society which is located,
appropriately enough, in what used to be the Uihlein's bank.
August remained in his house until after Erwin, the youngest , was
born; but as the original brothers got older and richer, most of them moved away from
congested Uihlein Hill.
Henry did not move however; he liked to be within walking distance of
Ma Heiser's, now (the former) John Ernst's Cafe, where he and Alfred often went to eat, drink Schlitz,
and play poker dice. Besides, Henry preferred to put his money into investment real
estate, not a new home. 9-1
History2 > 1873-1881