Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

MillerCoors Won’t Move Gettelman House

Historic home will be restored, but plans to move it across the street are canceled.

By - Sep 27th, 2018 03:13 pm
Gettelman Brewery malt house demolition. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Gettelman Brewery malt house demolition in August 2018. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The former Gettelman Brewery malt house, and the lager cellars underneath it, are now gone, but MillerCoors has changed its plan for the historic Gettelman farm house.

As part of a complicated deal with the city, MillerCoors had agreed to move the house at 4400 W. State St. across the street to be closer to its visitor center. The company, which acquired Gettelman in 1961, had sought to demolish both the farm house and malt house in 2017 as part of its “State Street Yard Reconfiguration Project” designed to expand truck shipping capacity at the Milwaukee brewery.

Both buildings date back to the 1850’s, with the malt house sitting atop an underground beer cellar. The cellar was used before modern refrigeration was invented, but because it is in the interior of the building it’s not eligible for protection by the city’s historic preservation ordinance.

“While we previously planned to move the Schweichart/Gettelman farmhouse to a different location on campus, it has ultimately been decided that the building can remain in its original location. This decision, which has been shared with Historic Preservation Commission staff and city officials, was made after additional study by brewery and project leaders,” said a brewery representative in a statement.

MillerCoors will also restore the house by replacing the windows, doors and a porch. Because the home, which was used as an office for deacdes, has been designated historic by the city, any exterior changes will be subject to oversight by the Historic Preservation Commission.

But while the brewery intends to restore the exterior of the house, the company did not designate a future use for the facility. It will be surrounded by a “grass buffer.”

The brewery has adaptively reused three other former Gettelman buildings as a fitness center, company store and warehouse. The Gettelman complex was immediately west of Miller’s brewery in what is today the city’s Miller Valley neighborhood.

According to a historic designation study by city staffer Carlen HatalaFritz Gettelman, who became president of the brewery in 1929, invented and patented a number of innovations in the home, including a steam brush bottle washer, steel beer keg, glass lined storage container, ice cutter and farm tillage machine.

The malt house was used for a variety of purposes by Gettelman and was later used as a warehouse by Miller. It had been vacant for a number of years.

Both buildings are believed to date to the 1850’s formation of the Schweickhart Brewery. Adam Gettelman married into the family-run brewery in 1870 and eventually assumed control of the brewery, renaming it after his family.

Demolition Photos

Historic Designation Study Photos

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