Beer barons rest in peace in historic Milwaukee cemeteries
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More than a century and a half after the opening of the first brewery in Milwaukee, the city's identity is still drenched in beer.
On the South Side, at Forest Home Cemetery, 2405 W. Forest Home Ave., many of the men who made the beer that made Milwaukee famous lie in repose amid 200 acres of gently rolling terrain.
For their sake, let's hope the polka standard got it wrong:
Every year, you can take a guided Beer Barons Tour at the cemetery, 2402 W. Forest Home Ave., and learn about men like August Krug, who founded what became Schlitz; Joseph Schlitz and many of the Uihleins; Capt. Frederick Pabst; Jacob Best, who founded what became Pabst; Falk Brewery founder Franz Falk; Fritz Gettelman Sr.; and many other beer barons who are interred in the historic cemetery.
The next tour, which meets outside the cemetery's Halls of History, is slated for Sunday, July 14 at 2 p.m.
You can search here to see who is buried at Forest Home.
There's a monument, but Joseph Schlitz was lost at sea in a shipwreck off the coast of England.
"The Beer Barons Tour is one of our biggest draws," says Jan Van Rens, the cemetery's executive director. "We get more people in on those tours (than for any of the other tours), especially if we have the Blatz Mausoleum open. The last time that we actually had it open, there were like 250 people who came on that tour."
Many of the brewers are buried in an area called Brewers' Row, and Forest Home's office offers a free brochure and map about the beer barons that allows visitors to go on self-guided tours.
You won't Frederick Miller and his family at Forest Home. They are buried at Calvary Cemetery, an equally history-laden cemetery for Milwaukee's Roman Catholic community (Solomon Juneau is spending eternity there). If you visit there, 5503 W. Bluemound Rd., you can find the large Miller family plot just down the hill to the north of the chapel.
Philipp Jung, who founded Jung and Borchert Brewery in 1879, is also interred at Calvary. His partner Ernst Borchert lies at Forest Home.
The Pabst/Schandein plot at Forest Home Cemetery. (PHOTO: Visit Milwaukee)
While you're out there, be sure to check out the Halls of History at Forest Home and grab a map and pay your respects to an astonishing array of Milwaukee's mayors, pioneers, notables and others, including Byron Kilbourn, George Walker, the Usingers, Ezekiel Gillespie, Beulah Brinton, Henry Harnischfeger, Frank Zeidler, Edmund Fitzgerald, the victims of the Newhall House fire (there's another Newhall monument at Calvary, too) and countless others.
Forest Home offers a wide array of themed tours, including "Women of the 1800s: Untold Stories of Accomplishment,' "Civil War," "Famous Germans" and "Mayors of Milwaukee," to name a few.
"We keep adding different ones," says Van Rens. "We have two new women's tours this summer. We keep adding new and different things because we do have a lot of repeat people who come.
"The big thing that we're trying to do is to share with people that this is the place of history. We've got tour guides who are very knowledgeable. If you want to know about Milwaukee history, come here."
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