|Don as a child and his father |
on Ash Street about 1940-41.
Schnitzelburg History Walks occur once in the Spring and once in the Fall. For each Walk, the route changes, so if you have been on a walk before, you may learn something new this time! Saturday's route will include parts of Hickory, Burnett, Shelby, Milton, Hoertz and Ash Streets.
The walks are narrated by Don Haag, a former resident of Schnitzelburg whose roots run deep in the neighborhood. If Don doesn't know about it, it didn't happen. Not only is Don a wealth of knowledge, his stories of yesteryear are a delight to listen to! Don began writing memoirs about his life growing up, collectively called "As I Remember It." Below is an excerpt from his memoirs that is a taste of what to expect on the history walk:
Schnitzelburg and Germantown were well-known for all the taverns, even today. At one time, there were five saloons on Hickory Street alone, and two other places you could buy beer. In Schnitzelburg, beer was part of the diet with most German families. Each night, Dad would walk to one of the corner taverns, usually Flabby Devine’s Tavern, and get his soup pot filled with draft beer for $1.00. When he got home he would sit the beer pot on ice in the sink and us kids would get out of bed and enjoy a glass of brew and peanut butter crackers.
After I was older and dating, Dad would be waiting on the porch when I arrived home and we would go to Flabby's for the pot of beer. We would also frequent other taverns such as Tim-Tam Tavern and Speckt’s. Of course, a few glasses of beer would be consumed at the tavern to quench the thirst while talking with old friends. Some would enjoy playing the pinball machines, as most taverns had pinball machines and would pay off games won at 5 cents a game.
Remember, before we had refrigerators in our homes, the only way to have fresh beer was to drink it at the tavern or tote it home from the tavern. Since one could not spend all of their time in a bar, a way to transport beer home from the saloon became necessary. This dilemma led to the development of the 'growler.' Early forms of this beer transport were just crudely made, galvanized metal pails. The deluxe ones had lids, and they were made of stainless steel. Old timers in Schnitzelburg and Germantown may remember being sent as a child to the tavern by their father or grandfather to fetch a 'growler' of beer. I'm told the name 'growler' originated as a result of children handling beer—if the child was not careful and splashed the beer out of the bucket, the old man was said to 'growl' (I bet) when they arrived home. I have also heard that when the beer sloshed around the pail, it created a rumbling sound as the CO2 escaped through the lid, thus the term 'growler' was coined. Before World War II, city kids used to bring covered buckets of draft beer from a local bar or brewery to workers at lunchtime or to their parents at dinnertime, a practice called 'rushing the growler.'There are still a few spots available, so reserve your spot today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The walk is free and takes about 2 hours. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes.