Wisconsin History

I've been searching through an online database of scanned documents at the Wisconsin Historical Society, and I'm finding all manner of interesting information.

For instance, did you know that there was a tribe of indians in Wisconsin known as the Mascouten? At least there was until sometime around 1800. Most sources guess that they were absorbed at that time by the Kickapoo, but nobody knows where they went for sure. How are we not taught this in grade school? A mysterious disappearing indian tribe! That oughta get the kids interested in state history. Moreso than interminable talk about lead mining, anyway

And another f'rinstance: Miller brewing was founded around 1855. But by 1880, they were still a small concern, as witnessed by this scan (click for readable version):

They're only brewing about 8.5% of what the top guy (Phillip Best) is brewing, and rank fifth in production among Milwaukee brewers with almost 31,000 barrels a year. That's still around 5 times what Lakefront brewed in 2006, but a drop in the bucket compared to Miller's current production. And among the breweries listed in the scan, only Miller remains. Maybe being number one isn't all it's cracked up to be.

There's some pretty cool stuff in this database, check it out!


Just found this image in the database. Kind of confusing. Perhaps Budweiser was being used to mean Pilsener?


Anonymous said...

You'd probably also enjoy Odd Wisconsin (www.wisconsinhistory.org/odd), put out a couple times a week from the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Nemo said...

I was struck by the difference between the beer brewed and beer sold totals, a disparity of almost 84000 barrels. Was this beer lost in kegging or was it filling a warehouse? Were free samples the rule of the day back then? If so, it truly was a Golden Age. The flowing of free beer would give a more satisfactory explanation of the street layouts near downtown Milwaukee than the more commonly accepted German vs French urban planning.

The Fishmonger said...

Yeah nemo, I noticed that, too! I mean, Best alone made nearly 40,000 barrels that it didn't sell. What's up with that?

There were around 120,000 people in Milwaukee in 1880. That would work out to about 10 gallons per person just from Best. Twenty gallons per person if you factor in the other breweries. That just happens to be just about the current US per capita beer consumption. I think you may have stumbled on something, nemo!

(And if you figure that half of the population probably didn't even drink beer (children, the infirm, prohiibtionists and other teetotallers), then each person probably would get around 40 gallons of beer apiece! Excellent!)