Photo on left courtesy of Milwaukee Public Library, believed to have been taken in 1910.
Photo on right courtesy of Mark Wahl, taken 104 years later in 2014.
The Weisel building stands about as upright as its tipsy Water Street bar patrons. Just looking at Pourman’s Pub, it’s hard to not notice the structure is leaning. Its wood-pile foundations are breaking down below, and much like several Downtown Milwaukee structures, it continues to sink over time – see Bloomberg’s recent coverage of the ongoing issue. Step inside the pub and you automatically take in its old-world charm, though at the same time, you feel just a little lopsided. But take a trip downstairs to the basement, then look up at the uneven flooring, and you’ll suddenly feel three high-point Wisconsin beers in.
The building has led an interesting life. It started out as the Weisel butcher shop, and the slaughterhouse was right across the street by today’s Bar Louie. To think of livestock roaming Water Street (rather than today’s occasional sighting of a horse and buggy) is a trip. During prohibition, the Weisel building changed tunes and dabbled as a speakeasy and brothel. Adding to its immiscible history, rumor has it the building is haunted.