I’ve found the most buried-from-mind buildings while cursing my GPS and praying I didn’t turn up another one-way street.
A few years ago, that happened with the Pabst brewery. Finding it was an accident. And once I did, I stood there gawking over this city of bricks, wanting learn more about this piece of Milwaukee history.
With the recent talk about bringing back Pabst, I wanted even more to get inside these old buildings. Although the restoration efforts at the site are impressive, I wanted to see the dustiness that once was Pabst—the areas that are closed off because of safety and uncertainty. Those that leave you thinking “I could probably use a hard hat right about now.” Below are some things we ran across.
and medical equipment were housed in these parts.
Behind this doorway, you can see a boarded-up gate. This was the carriage landing for Captain Fredrick Pabst. As his carriage would arrive, the doorman would let down the gate to allow entry.
Best Place owner, Jim Haertel, left a pack of beer in a downstairs fridge. He came back to find the beer missing. He lurked around the building to
find a homeless man sleeping in this room, beer cans strew around him. After a heart-to-heart, the man told him he needed a place to stay just for two weeks (and that he ‘d already been residing there for two months anyways). Haertel said sure, but he had to keep the place safe and the riff raff out. Haertel also learned the room, with its several windows flowing with natural light, was much warmer. He took note and started working out of the warmer office location. “I learned it from the homeless guy.”
What a view from The Grain Silos. We’re about 150 feet up in the air. You can see for miles. Our chariot to this landing was a seemingly-ancient freight elevator.
of Pabst Select beer that was produced. By 1892, the brewery was buying over
300,000 yards of silk every day.
I ventured to Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub on a Friday night and walked upstairs to the Brewhouse copper kettles. There was a man admiring the once-were machinery, and he was holding a photo album. He had worked this kettle in the 1990’s. We flipped through the old album (he rocked some pretty sweet facial hair with his Pabst duds back then). He laughed and reminisced on the good ol’ days. His eyes darted around the now-elaborate, former Pabst factory floor as he said “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.”