Schlitz Palm Garden

Of the four days and three nights we were Milwaukee for the OAH we spent one day getting there, one day sightseeing, and one day and a half days actually going to the convention. On Saturday we spent the morning going through the book exhibit which wasn’t as impressive as I thought it would be. Then I went to a session on the Schlitz Palm Garden.  I wrote about the Garden in Brewing Battles so I was interested in heard James Deutsch from the Smithsonian Center for Folk Life and Cultural Heritage speak on it.

The Schlitz Palm Garden was on Third and Wisconsin and was attached to the Schlitz Hotel. The Palm Garden was an attempt to have the fellowship and community of outdoor beer gardens year round. The Schlitz Brewing Company also wanted to have an indoor drinking establishment that was not a saloon.

The Palm Garden opened in 1896 and closed in 1921 because of Prohibition. In 1922 the Palm Garden reopened as the Garden Theatre and was a movie theater until the 1960s. In 1963 a bank and parking lot were built on the site of the Palm Garden. These were demolished in 1980 to make way for a mall.

At his presentation, Deutsch served Schlitz beer and cookies. The Schlitz beer came in a package that said it was 1960s style and did not indicate that Pabst owns it or that Miller brews it. It is not brewed in Milwaukee. The Schlitz was warm and tasted similar to Budweiser which is to say it tasted like nothing.

Palm Garden

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10 Responses to Schlitz Palm Garden

  1. Jan Whitaker says:

    Beer and cookies? Ugh!

  2. Jess Kidden says:

    “It is not brewed in Milwaukee.”

    According to this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article , although originally brewed by Miller in Eden, NC, Pabst’s Schlitz “Gusto” 60’s formula is now also brewed in Milwaukee at MillerCoors’ facility there – after the recent renovations that also allowed MC to brew some Coors and other Pabst brands (like the krausened Old Style) at Miller’s flagship brewery. Of course, one would have to check the codes to confirm from which brewery a particular bottled originated.

  3. Herb Sloan says:

    Hola, Amy!
    Guess what? When you google “faculty wife” one of the first things to come up is Brewing Battles Blog. I’m looking for references to the early twentieth-century history of the species–am describing someone as a “faculty wife” (she was her husband’s research assistant, etc., etc., etc.), and want to rely on just a bit more than the fact that I knew scores of them when I was growing up (including, of course, my mother).
    Trust all well up there in the north country.

  4. John Hansen says:

    As a volunteer for the Friends of the Paragon Carousel, I have been researching Paragon Park, a mini-worlds fair/amusement park which opened in 1905. One of the primary attractions was the Schlitz Palm Garden, which seated 2000 for dinner, accompanied by orchestras and entertainment, and was part of the park until prohibition. If anyone has any information, photos, etc to share, we would love to have them. We are having a scale model built for display in our museum and our builder would like to know if we have any info on the 8 sculptures at the entrance, which seem to be female shapes with large shells framing the heads.
    Amy, as a student at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. one of my economic professors took us on a field trip to the Schlitz brewery. We spent 15 minutes touring the brewery and 3 hours in the Rathskellar learning about the brewing processand sampling the product – outstanding!

  5. Daniela says:

    Hello Amy. I came across a Schmitz beer palm garden collector plate and began research researching the history of the pal garden. Very interesting and the plate is quite pretty. Do you know of any collectors that may be interested in this sort of memorabilia?

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