Monday, March 30, 2015

Then and Now: Oshkosh’s Southside Breweries

Click the image to enlarge it.

Here's a couple of pictures of Southside Oshkosh taken about 85 years apart.

The top picture is from 1925. It shows the looming presence of Oshkosh’s two largest breweries: Peoples Brewing Company and the Oshkosh Brewing Company (OBC).

The lower picture is a satellite image from 2011 courtesy of Google Earth. Both breweries were long gone by the time this view was captured.

Construction of the OBC brewery shown here began in 1911 and was completed in 1912. The brewery closed in 1971. Demolition of the six-story OBC brewery began in 1986.

Construction of the Peoples brewery began 1912. It was completed in 1913. Peoples Brewing closed in 1972. Demolition of its four-story brewhouse began in 1974.

In 1925, these breweries dominated the Southside skyline. But that’s about all they dominated. At the time of this picture, Prohibition had been in effect for five years. Each brewery had become a shadow of its former self.

Peoples was limping along producing soda, malt tonics and near beer. At OBC they were selling malt extract, near beer, soda, and using portions of the brewery to pasteurize and process eggs.

Unlike most American breweries, though, these two managed to survive the dry years. When Prohibition ended in 1933, both breweries abandoned their stopgap ventures and went back to doing what they were made to do – they brewed beer.

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