Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Oshkosh Saloons of 1902: Schlitz Hall

Schlitz Hall, Southwest Corner of Washington and State.
Fred Schild and Henry Wunderlich, Proprietors.

We’ve arrived at the ninth and final stop of the 1902 Oshkosh Saloon Crawl. I'm sure by now you've noticed a number of recurring themes along the way. For example, the Germanic heritage of so many of the people who ran these places. Fred Schild and Henry Wunderlich were steeped in that culture.

Schild was born in Germany in 1844. He came to America when he was 28 and soon after arrived in Oshkosh. Wunderlich was the son of German immigrants. He was born in Jefferson in 1859. In the mid-1880s, Wunderlich moved to Oshkosh and got a job tending bar at a saloon Schild was running on the south side of town.

In 1892, Schild and Wunderlich left the south side and launched Schlitz Hall at the corner of Washington and State. The building was owned by August Uihlein, chairman of the board and secretary of Schlitz Brewing. Like a lot of the saloons tied to Schlitz, Schild and Wunderlich had their place done up in a palm-garden motif. This saloon was unlike most others in Oshkosh. It was roomy and airy. It was a clean, well-lighted place.

The Schlitz Beer Hall; page 130 Oshkosh Up to Date, 1902.

The only beer they’d serve you there was beer made by Schlitz Brewing. At the time, that included a host of specialties. Things like Schlitz Porter, Schlitz Extra-Stout, Schlitz Budweiser, and the Schlitz version of a Vienna lager. But the featured beer was Schlitz Atlas Brau, an “old-time lager” drawn directly “from the wood” (a wooden barrel). This was a premium beer aimed at connoisseurs. Schild and Wunderlich were the only saloon keepers in Oshkosh allowed to serve it. Here's the two of them in an ad from 1903.

From the 1903 Oshkosh City Directory.

Here’s an outside shot of Schlitz Hall in all its glory. The domed cupola is directly above the corner entrance to the saloon at the southwest corner of Washington and State streets.

And to think we gave up that for a parking lot…. 

The Exclusive Company parking lot at the corner of Washington and State streets.

Well folks, that damned parking lot is where our 1902 Oshkosh Saloon Crawl ends. I thoroughly enjoyed putting this together. And I hope you enjoyed it, too.

To go back to the beginning of the crawl, click here.
To see all of the stops along the crawl, click here.

The Schild and Wunderlich place was not the first or only Schlitz saloon here. At the turn of the century Schlitz was gunning hard for Oshkosh. To learn more about that, click here.

I mentioned the variety of beer styles that were produced by Schlitz during this period. This ad from 1891 gives you a sense of the diversity of Schlitz’ offerings.