Friday, July 22, 2016

Pabst Brewing, Oshkosh

As the city of Oshkosh became better connected by rail with Chicago, Milwaukee and north, goods were able to come and go at a lower coast, it was a boon to industry. It was soon discovered by many brewing companies that Oshkosh made an excellent distribution point for northern Wisconsin. The Oshkosh Times of March 29,1891 noted this fact in an article under the headline “A Center for Beer”, brewers from Cincinnati, St. Louis as well as Milwaukee's Schlitz and Pabst all had a presents in the city with some bottling plants, warehouse and beer halls. As early as 1876, Pabst had an agent in town to distribute their product. Captain Pabst was shrewd businessman and had turned his father-in-law's failing enterprise into the county's largest brewery. The company built numerous taverns in Milwaukee, surrounding cities and beyond. Early in 1896 the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern reported another purchase of land by the Pabst agent Lawrence Thence. The Light Street property, occupied by the Columbia Hotel was acquired from Mr. Charles Schriber for the sum of $8,500 and the stated intent was to erect a large three store brick storage and bottling plant. The day following that announcement came clarification from Mr. Thence who stated that work would start in the next week at an accelerate pace from plans that called for a two story building 40 x 120. More reports were published outlining Pabst's plans to acquire the entire block bordered by Jackson, Light and Pearl Streets. Mention was also made of a rumor that the brewer was interested the Methodist church property at the corner of Main and Merritt which was denied by a company attorney.
Perhaps the timetable put forth by Mr. Thence was overly ambitious because it wasn't until March 16,1896 that the announcement for sealed bids was publish. Interested parties could view the plans at the office of William Waters. Work on the building was underway by May with precaution taken dew to the wet ground. After excavating to a depth of four feet eight foot piles were driven in and covered with gravel for a solid foundation. Contrary to earlier report the building was to be two stories high and measure 30 x 78 with an office, bottling room and refrigerator on the first floor, living rooms and storage were on the second floor. It was customary for building of the Pabst Brewing Company to have certain look about them and a circular Pabst logo in the brickwork. Parapets and towers were part of the design by architect Waters, giving the building the look of a diminutive Rhine castle which was consistent with Pabst architecture. With the rise and dominance of local breweries the Pabst market share fell off and prohibition was the death knell for the breweries' presents in Oshkosh. The building was sold in 1925. Remodeling work removed the parapets and a general renovation many years ago made the building a show piece.

P.S. For a more comprehensive article on the Pabst Brewing company in Oshkosh, please visit, Oshkosh Beer Blog of May 9, 2016. It's a good read.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Stroud's Warehouse

George F. Stroud was a paint and oil merchant in the early days of Oshkosh. He was well established by the early 1870's. There is pictured in the 1886 city directory his retail store and his warehouse, side by side. The store was on the east side of Main Street's second block in a building erected by C. Griffin after the great fire of 1875 and his warehouse was on Otter Street. It was not uncommon for enterprises to picture their building in fictitious settings.
In 1884 there was and curious news item in the Daily Northwestern of March 7th. The Stroud warehouse had been located near Pearl and Market Streets and the Wisconsin Central freight depot. The article reported that Mr. Stroud was dismantling his warehouse and moving the stones to his lot near Otter and State Streets and that when, weather permitting he would erect a new factory and warehouse. The write up stated the building would be 44 x 100 with two stories and a basement.
The March 27th the Daily Northwestern published a notice for sealed bids to be received for the construction of George Stroud's new building, the plans for which could be seen at the office of William Waters. Mr. Waters planed a building that was of no great beauty as its' utilitarian nature didn't call for it. The structure was of plain limestone block, a material the architect was familiar with. There was but one truly decorative feature, a cornice of protruding blocks spaced about twelve inches apart. There was another announcement in late April that work had started on the foundation of the Stroud warehouse. 
The Stroud Company occupied the building for many years, for a time as Stroud and Thomson. In 1914 the building had two tenants: H. M. Wellman and C. O. Sweet followed by the Heco Envelope Company in 1920. The final company to inhabit the place before its' demolition was Mondl Manufacturing, a shoemaker.