Wisconsin Historical Society

Property Record

137-139 W COOK ST

Architecture and History Inventory
137-139 W COOK ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:Eulberg Brewery Saloon/Haertel Brewing
Other Name:Bennett and Bennett/Mule Norman Cosmetics
Contributing: Yes
Reference Number:45284
Location (Address):137-139 W COOK ST
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1866
Survey Date:1992
Historic Use:retail building
Architectural Style:Commercial Vernacular
Structural System:Brick
Wall Material:Brick
Other Buildings On Site:0
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: Portage Retail Historic District
National Register Listing Date:4/27/1995 12:00:00 AM
State Register Listing Date:10/24/1994 12:00:00 AM
National Register Multiple Property Name:
Additional Information:The Haertel and later the Eulberg brewery was located behind 137-139 W. Cook, erected the building, and located its offices and saloon there. Born in the province of Hesse-Darnstadt, Germany, Carl Haertel established his City Brewery at the northeast corner of W. Cook and Clark in 1851-1852. By 1860, Haertel employed five individuals to produce 2,000 barrels of lager beer annually. He expanded his operations to about ten employees and 3,000 barrels by 1870. JacobBest Jr., the son of the Jacob Best who established his Empire Brewery concern in Milwaukee in 1844 (Wyatt 1986 [vol. 2, industry]: 9), came to Portage in 1876. He married Elizabeth Haertel and managed the Haertel Brewery after Haertel's death in 1876 until 1884. He added the bottling works in 1877. By 1880, the brewery manufactured 3,000 barrels of beer per year, a modest production in comparison to the larger Milwaukee breweries of the period. The Blatz Brewery manufactured 6,000 barrels per year in 1875 while Miller and Schlitz produced30,000 and 200,000 barrels respectively in 1880. Natives of the province of Nassau, Germany, Peter and Adam Eulberg purchased the Haertel Brewery i 1884 and leased the buildings for ten years buying the building complex in 1894. Although the building complex remained locally known as the City Brewery, the company became the Eulberg Brothers Brewery. Peter Eulberg had received training in the brewing industry reaching the position of brewmaster at breweries in Mineral Point and Dubuque. After Peter's death in 1895, Adam leased his brother's portion of the business from the heirs until his death in 1901. The Adam Eulberg estate continued the fbusiness until 1907. In that year, Adam Eulberg's sons purchased the property from the heirs of Peter Eulberg and operated and incorporated the concern as the Eulberg Brewing Company. At this time, they updated the operation adding a new bottling house and new equipment. The company expanded its annual capacity to 15,000 barrels, now producing its Crown Select in addition to its other varieties. The company's expansion ended abruptly in 1919. The Eulberg Brewery adapted to Prohibition by employing eight men to produce malt. Jacob, Julius, and Joseph Eulberg probably also illegally manufactured beer while fronting as a malting operation, a practice not uncommon during Prohibition. The federal government ended this production in 1930. At the close of Prohibition in 1933, William Eulberg reorganized the company and reopened the brewery. He operated the brewery until 1944 when the company and buildings were sold to Alvin and Lawrence Bardin who finally suspended operations in 1958. Outgrowing his original quarters, Carl Haertel began construciton of his brewery in 1855 and occasionally expanded his plant after 1857 until about 1880. The three story, red brick brew house facing Clark and immediately behind the Cook Street block was probably erected in 1855 as the first building construction in the complex. It measurered 78 by 48 feet. Additions were made to its south, north, and east sides beginning in 1857. To the south, an entrance into the brewery with wing used for barley storage above permitted access into the center of the complex. The north end of the building included a similar entrance entrance and wing which with the adjacent two story and cellar ice house provided a cool location in which to ferment the beer. Along the W. Cook Street frontage, the three story Haertel or Eulberg block was constructed to create five retail stores facing Cook Street about 1866-67 (137-139 W. Cook; 135 W. Cook [56/25]). The Haertel and later the Eulberg Beer Hall and the brewery's offices occupied 135-137 W. Cook until at least 1901 (Wisconsin Daily Register 1862 [7/19: 3/1]). Additional improvements at the brewery in the 1880s included a malt kiln, malt mill, second ice house, frame warehouse. Haertel and the Eulbergs also owned and presumably suppied beer to saloons in the city other than the one in the Haertel or Eulberg block at 137-139 W. Cook. After the brewery finally closed in 1958, all but the Eulberg block was demolished in the same year and replaced by the Chamber of Commerce mall, parking lots, and the Columbia County Agricultural Building (Butterfield 1880: 515, 590, 878 Democrat 1900 [7/13: 8/6]; Portage Daily Register 1989 [11/13: supplement]; Wisconsin Power and Light ca. 1925: 6; Jones 1914 [2]: 697--98; Butterfield 1880: 635; Democrat 1958 [11/14: 1/1-3; U.S. Bureau of the Census 1860; 1870 [industrial schedules]; Hawes 1865; Chapin 1870; Democrat 1900 [7/13: 8/6]; 1897 [7/30: 4]). Since beer did not travel well, the breweries themselves sold their products locally. This brewery as well as the Fort Winnebago or Epstein Brewery included beer halls in their complexes and owned otherf saloons in Portage (Portage Daily Register 7/2/`952; Butterfield 1880: 664). Several managers in the saloon at the Haertel or Eulberg block were identified. They include Leigh D. Weider from at leat 1947 through 1955, William R. Miller about 1917, and E.W. Carroll from at least 1947 through 1955, William R. Miller about 1917, and E.W. Carroll from at leaset 1910 through 1912. A grocer occupied the Eulberg Block between at least 1889 and 1955. Between 1910 and 1917, Otto C. Kopplin ran the grocery in the Eulberg Building at 137 W. Cook. An unrelated establishment, the Universal Grocery Company occupied the adjacent space in this block at 139 W. Cook inthe late 1920s. Through at least 1927 to 1929, Fred Denninger also operated a meat market in the building. Peterson's Home Bakery located there by 1955. An unidentified drugstore also occupied the building about 1894. The Western Union office occupied the block between at least 1889 and 1894. Numerous meetingsd occur in the third floor hall. The Independent Order of Odd Fellows met int he hall between at least 1881 and 1894. The Elks located their meeting room there in at least 1917 (Portage Daily Register 1908 [4/16: 3/1]; The Grand Army of the Republic established their hall there about 1929 (Register-Democrat 4/20/1922; Portage Daily Register 7/2/1952). The Liederkrants Society met in the hall about 1910 (Portage Daily Register 7/11/1970). The block also included several professional offices.
Bibliographic References:Sanborn-Perris Map Co. 1929: double store 1918, 1910 grocery and saloon; grocery and saloon (hall on third in 1910) 1901: W. brewery office, E: grocery, hall third 1894: W. brewery office and saloon; E. drugs and Western Union Telegraph ffice 100F Hall third 1894: W. Brewery office and saloon; E. drugs and Western Union Telegraph Office 100F. 1889: W. same; E. groceries and Western Union; offices second and 100F hall third 1868: The building is present (Rugen) Columbia Co. Treasuer 1863- 1910-1930: Eulberg Brewing Co. 1905: Florian Wolf 1895-1900: Eulberg Bros. (1895 notes stores on Cook Street) 1885-1890: F.W. Schulze 1880: C. Haertel Est. 1865-1876: C. Haertel The valuation suggests that his building with the one to the east was erected between 1866 and 1867. 1947: (137) Boetcher's Home Bakery (139) Weider, Leigh D., tavern (Commonwealth Telephone Co.) 1937? 1929: Eulberg Building (137) Fred Denniger, meats (139) Universal Grocery Co. (Smith-Baumann) 1927-28: Universal Grocery Co. (R.L. Polk & Co.) not listed in 1925-25 Denninger meats not listed in 1927-28 1917: Eulberg Block G. of L.E. Hall (137) Otto C. Kopplin, grocer (139)Wm. R. Miller, saloon not listed in R.L. Polk & Co. prior to 1917 1915-16, 1913-14, 1911-12,: Otto Kopplin, grocer but not Miller (R.L. Polk & Co.) 1911-12: E.W. Carroll, Saloon 1910: (137) Otto Kopplin, grocer (139) Carroll, E.W. Saloon 1908-09: no busineesses listed
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Division of Historic Preservation, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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