The SSHM Museum makes it home in the Schleisingerville Union Depot that was built in 1911. The Depot replaced one that was built in 1867 and is still a residence in Slinger. You can tour the depot, see original blueprints, read stories of railroad life, and see many artifacts and documents about the railroad. Schleisingerville/Slinger is very unique to have two railroads that run through town. The founding Baruch Schleisinger realized that the railroad would bring people, business, and secure a future for the Village way back in 1845 when he met with officials from the LaCrosse Railroad (later the Milwaukee & St. Paul Road). In 1884 the Wisconsin Central Railroad completed its line that ran from St. Paul through Schleisingerville and on to Chicago.
Benedict Kornburger and his family saw opportunities in Schleisingerville. In 1868, Benedict, along with his sons Charles and Otto, built a brewery on Schleisingerville’s south side along the LaCrosse Railroad line. The hill south of the brewery provided enough stone and lumber for building the aging cellars. Little did the Kornburgers know that their brewery would brew beer for the next 90 years. Late in 1870, Benedict Kornburger sold his brewery to Lehman Rosenheimer, the former Bavarian butcher, for about $3,000. William Hartig and H. Charles Storck developed a friendship while working for the Blatz Brewing Company. Together, they developed brewing skills and made plans of starting their own brewery. By the time L. Rosenheimer’s health began to fail in 1877, Hartig and Storck traveled to Schleisingerville to look into purchasing the small brewery. Hartig and Storck inspected the brewery and decided to purchased it for $5,000 on September 10, 1877. Both invested $7,000 in improvements and hired Carl Panko, Schleisingerville’s cooper, to supply locally-grown hardwood barrels for their beer. Storck and Hartig’s first beer sale was packaged in a 1/8 wooden barrel and sold for $1. Capacity increased to 2,000 barrels a year by 1881. The brewery was expanded again and H. Charles Storck built his home behind the brewery in 1881. William Hartig had dreams of running his own brewery and sold his interest on June 27, 1884 to Schleisingerville’s station agent, Charles Ehlert, for $6,000. After the death of H. Charles Storck on June 9th, 1903 his sons took over the brewery. Early in 1904, the company reorganized as the Storck Brewing Company. Advertising became important to Storck during the 1910s. The Storck Brewing Company purchased a KisselKar truck to deliver their beer in 1914. When the Volstead Act became law on January 17, 1920 in Wisconsin, some breweries produced “near beer,” a substitute for the real thing. However, this was not the case at Storck as gallons of ice cream rolled out of the cold rooms instead of barreled beer. The brewery was reorganized as the Storck Products Company and was converted into an ice cream plant. Some 200,000 gallons of frozen ice cream was turned out yearly by Storck Products Company. Prohibition did not completely shut down Storck’s brewing operations in 1919. As the children ate ice cream and played outside the factory, their fathers drank real beer out of the shiny copper mugs that hung in Rathskeller. Henry Storck took daring chances during Prohibition. Some time in 1922, Chicago mobsters paid Henry Storck a visit. The mobsters, with the help of one Chicago Prohibition Officer, turned the Storck’s business into a distillery and made hard liquor for the Milwaukee and Chicago markets. On Sunday, March 7, 1926, Storck Products Company was finally raided by two Chicago special Prohibition agents. By early 1933, Slinger residents voted Prohibition out with a 99 percent of the voters against it; they wanted their local brewery operating again. Harry Truman introduced a program to help Europe contain its food shortages. His plan included the 70 percent reduction of malt brewers could use compared to their 1945 levels. This act started on March 1, 1946 and caused beer shortages in Milwaukee as well as the rest of the nation. The Storck family struggled to find barley and other materials to keep the brewery making beer. In 1946, a group of 54 Milwaukee beer depots, calling themselves Associated Beer Depots, were desperately short of beer. On June 1, 1946, Henry accepted the group’s $175,000 offer and the brewery was sold. Elmer Keller also wanted to retain Ray Storck and he stayed on as General Manager. Management made a decision to ship all bottled beer and most kegged beer to Milwaukee, , the village of Slinger really suffered. Because of Storck brewery management’s community negligence in the late 1940s, slow sales forced the brewery into voluntary receivership in 1952. The Associated Beer Depots had placed the brewery up for sale as soon as it went into receivership back in 1952. Gene Schall, Earl May, and Karl Omick made an offer of $33,000 to buy the brewery and it was accepted. By July of 1954, Slinger was buying Storck beer again and the brewery was showing a profit. The Storck brewery needed to produce 25,000 barrels a year to make money. After the bad batch of beer in 1954, production dropped to 15,000 and the brewery was losing about 10¢ a case. The Storck brewery was forced into involuntary receivership during September, 1958. The government finally got the brewery to shut down for back taxes on November 30, 1958. Today, most of the Storck brewery’s buildings have been torn down.
SSHM has the largest public display of Storck Brewing items on display.
Bernhard Schaefer emigrated to the United States in 1873 and two years later he built the first organ for St. Peter’s. referred to as a small log church, in Schleisingerville. Bernhard was a clockmaker by trade and built a clock for the steeple on St. John’s Church in 1880. He and his sons and grandsons, notably John and his sons Alois and Oscar, Theodore, and Joseph A. and his sons Albert, Joseph G. and Bernard ran the company for over 100 years until the building housing the organ factory was sold to Niphos Coatings in 1982.
SSHM has the only remaining Schaefer Theater Organ and is in the process of restoring the organ so it can be enjoyed by music lovers again.
Standard Machinery Co.
Standard Machinery Co. was thought to have been organized in 1911. It had financial backing from many of Schleisingerville's most prominent citizens. John Landt was the manager. The machinery built was geared towards the agricultural trade. It was dissolved in 1919.
SSHM has two hit and miss engines from Standard Machinery Co. The 1.5hp engine we have is thought to be the first one built.
Schools and Churches
SSHM has a large collection of school annuals, church documents, and pictures on display.
The museum has over 2500 square feet of displays and artifacts. Stop in and learn the history of Slinger.