That’s a lithograph produced for the Oshkosh Brewing Company at the turn of the century. But as I said last week, the brewery looked nothing like this. This print shows an amalgamation of OBC’s three separate brewing facilities. Each was located in a different part of town.
Let’s break this down. First, here’s the piece of the picture that represents the OBC facility located at what is now 1235-1239 Harney Ave. Prior to the formation of OBC in 1893, this was Lorenz Kuenzl’s Gambrinus Brewery.
It’s difficult to see, but the sign on the building with the flag flying over it says “Bottling Dept.” At this point OBC was bottling its beer here. That building had been used as an ice house when the Gambrinus Brewery was in operation.
As you’ll see, the artist took a few liberties with the subject. Here’s the real thing.
Now we head to the south side of town. They used to have a pet name for it: Brooklyn. I wish that were still an Oshkosh colloquialism. Anyway, at the end of Doty Street, in what is now the 2400 block, stood one of OBC's two brewhouses. This was formerly John Glatz and Son’s Union Brewery.
And here’s what that piece of OBC actually looked like.
Just up the road from the old Glatz Brewery was OBC’s other brewhouse. This was once known as Horn and Schwalm’s Brooklyn Brewery. Here’s the part of the lithograph showing that brewery. It was located in what is now the 1600 block of Doty Street.
Notice that it has “Established 1865” on the gable atop the malt house. That’s one of the few times OBC got its starting date right. That’s the date when Leonhardt Schwalm launched the Brooklyn Brewery, the oldest of the three breweries that merged to form OBC.
Here’s what the old Brooklyn Brewery really looked like.
Part of that brewery still stands. It’s the only piece of this picture that remains. This is what it looks like today.
The color lithograph wasn’t the first stab OBC took at painting itself larger than life. Here’s a drawing of the brewery from 1898. This one is even more delusional.
OBC certainly wasn’t unique in doing this sort of thing. At a time when photography was less common, brewery images were most often rendered by hand. And more often than not the artists aggrandized their subject. Here’s another example. This is a late-1800s drawing of the Glatz Brewery. The artist added a third floor to it.
And here’s an 1891 ad with a drawing of the Brooklyn Brewery. Again, an extra floor was added.
One last photo. Unfortunately, I don’t know when this was taken. I’m guessing it was shot somewhere around 1905-1910. This the former Glatz Brewery after it had been rebranded as the Oshkosh Brewing Company. These days it’s the home of Glatz Park. They don’t build ‘em like this anymore…