Friday, March 3, 2017

Forgotten Brewery Caves - New London Wisconsin

Today lets swing through New London Wisconsin and a "maybe" Forgotten Brewery Cave. 

Below is a nice brick building along the river at 327 E. Wolf River Avenue.  It was built in 1876 as The City Brewery.  It appears to have diversified fairly early, producing both beer and soft drinks.  Later it was called the New London Bottling Works and made soft drinks exclusively. The enterprise seems to have gone under in the 1920s.  It is worth noting that they had local competition for a rather small market, the Knapstein Brewery was a slightly earlier business and was just a couple of blocks away.

The City Brewery is now an apartment building.  This limits the scope of possible exploration a bit.  In the front view above I suspect the stone ring is where an old well was located.  But for the enigmatic feature that caught my eye we need to stroll around to what is the back side of the building in the above view....

A much newer metal building on the left, the City Brewery on the right.  But what is that slanted structure that extends out onto the cement slab?

The only thing that makes any sense is a set of stairs going downwards and into "something" along side the brewery.  This would be the likely location for a storage cave.  The river lies to the back of this photo and there is nothing there that looks like a road access.  Behind me the land is level, no place to pull wagons in to load the kegs on.  I have seen similar layouts on Sanborn maps from other breweries where they have an elevator to bring the beer up.  Its a fine theory.  It is probably even correct.  But darn it all, here is a photo from 1973 that shows nothing at all useful.  

The later building does not show.  It is an appliance repair shop that seems to be only intermittently open.  The cement strip looks to be more of a patio than anything else, but I do note that it appears to be on a built up berm.

Something must have happened when the later pole barn structure was built.  I think when digging the foundations they ran into a long forgotten brewery cave.  And I bet those stairs go down into it.

Alas on a day when the TV repairman was not in and the apartment residents were all behind closed doors there was nobody to ask.  Put this in the category of "needs an update".  Anybody out there know more?

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