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Saturday, December 27, 2008

Banholzerian underground zymurgy

For those interested in reading more about Banholzer ancestry the family also had a brewery in St. Paul, where they stored beer bottles in a mile and a half long cave they dug beneath the city:

From The Master Brewers association of the Americas website:

“Frederick Banholzer, who was born in Wurttemberg, Germany, in 1824, had been since 1856 a busy St. Paul stone mason and contractor, working primarily around the Uppertown district. Described "as a man of great humor," Banholzer was less interested in brewing than was his son, and so after only six years in the trade he sold his interest to 30-year-old William.

A rotund man with a handlebar moustache, William Banholzer "was all business." Almost single-handedly, he turned a 1,000 barrel-a-year brewery into a 12,000 barrel-a-year operation. "Banholzer's North Mississippi Beer" became by the 1880s one of the five most popular brews in the city. The company's facilities included nine buildings and a one-half-mile deep, multi-chambered cave.

The cave was accessible from both the bottom of the river bluff (south of the brewery) and from the top of the cliff (right inside the plant's main stone building). Today this cave still runs from the river bank, under Shepard Road, to the vicinity of Butternut street and one can still see the old stone archway at the lower entrance - a lasting reminder of Banholzer's Brewery.

In 1886, William established "Banholzer's Park" in the empty lots north of the brewery. The park was to serve as a recreation area for neighborhood picnickers who drank at Banholzer's outdoor beer garden, and it provided barbeques, outdoor bowling, German band music, balloon rides to Lilydale and, of course, cold kegs of North Mississippi beer.

THE FINANCIAL SUCCESS of the North Mississippi Company can probably best be measured by the prosperity of its owner, William Banholzer. In 1885, he built a magnificent stone house at 689 Stewart Avenue for $10,000, a great expense for 1885. The still-standing mansion is one of the more impressive 19th century houses in St. Paul, a testimonial to the success of the North Mississippi Brewery.”

Evidently, spelunkers still explore the streets beneath St. Paul in search of an elusive Banholzer Beer. I can almost taste the foamy suds from one now…

http://www.citypages.com/content/printVersion/12739

Uh-oh! Just discovered some bad news about why the brewery began floundering: A worker fell into a hot vat of beer and was boiled to death!

http://fieldguide.fmr.org/site_detail.php?site_id=215

Now, I’m not so thirsty as before.

4 comments:

S.P. said...

Hey, he's a hero in my book (despite the tragedy in the vat of beer)


"In 1886, William established "Banholzer's Park" in the empty lots north of the brewery. The park was to serve as a recreation area for neighborhood picnickers who drank at Banholzer's outdoor beer garden, and it provided barbeques, frisbee golf, German band music, balloon rides to Lilydale and, of course, cold kegs of North Mississippi beer."

What a great idea! We need more parks like this...

JBanholzer said...

They should add a Frisbee disc golf course and hand out free Banholzerian beers, whenever you score a hole in one.

Max Action said...

This just in from A.B. via Zap Zang:

Alright, well as far as that house goes its pretty easy to get tours of the place, provided you just contact hazelden and say you're interested about the treatment programs they offer there.
I heard rumors that there may have been a passage from the Banholzer residence down to the cellars. In the cafeteria (which, back during Frederick's or William's day would have been the back yard) there was a 3 x 3 foot panel on the floor which could be opened by removing some rubber stoppers. When I opened this, rushing air blasted me in the face and I could immediately smell the sandstone smell that all of the other sandstone tunnels in this area have.
Inside the shaft I opened there had been some sewage pipes routed down, with some really old looking rope and metal bars tied to it, looking as though some explorers had tried climbing the pipes long ago to see what was on the other side of the trap door.
About 20-30 feet down, the sewage pipes went underground and on the side of the shaft closest to the mississippi there was a small opening leading to some low sandstone tunnels. I tired going down to investigate making it just far enough to peer in the immediate void and see that it looked like it went further than what I could tell from the shaft.
Before I had a real chance to check it out, staff came by and got really pissed that I was crawling around tunnels under their facility. The next day the whole cafeteria was recarpeted, the trap door being carpeted over.

Nancy Thompson said...

Banholzer purchased the North Mississippi Brewery, or what was
left of it, in 1871 from F. A. Renz. Renz purchased the brewery in 1866 and unfortunately the "curse" of the brewery continued when the brewery burned the same year that Renz bought it. Anyone have anything to add to Renz's misfortune that cost him property and left him in debt?
Regards,
The great granddaughter of F. A. Renz


















renz