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.