Milwaukee & Port Washington Wisconsin
May 20, 2009
|Today was a gorgeous day around the 70 mark we are happy campers now that the weather is changing not that we weren't before but it sure is nice to get up and see sunshine.
We headed off to Milwaukee and you know what Milwaukee is known for right? I'll give you a hint "It's Miller Time". Yes we went to the Milwaukee Brewery for a tour of course for those of you who are old enough no we didn't see Laverne & Shirley.
Both Brian and I were shocked at how large this place was. The complex includes 76 buildings on 82 acres of land. The age of the buildings range from 1886 to 2002.
The tour begins with a 15 minute video which highlights the history and brewing process. It was very well done they had three huge screens. They average about 100,000 people take the tour threw the brewery per year.
The total daily output of the Milwaukee plant is approximately 500,000 cases of product at full production. The yearly output is well over 8 million barrels. They are the second largest brewery in the United States.
The shipping centre floor space covers roughly 200,000 sq ft, which is equivalent to five professional U.S. football fields. It holds one and a half days worth of production if you can image it empties that building every 1 1/2 days.
We got our exercise there when we had to walk up 56 stairs just to see the Brewhouse. It was at least 40 degrees hotter in there than outside. Coming down was easy because they told all of us that there was beer waiting for us in the beer garden. Oh! happy day!!! Of course there wasn't we still had one more stop to make.
We then went into the caves which were hand dug in the mid 1800s. They were once used for fermenting, aging and storing the beer. The caves were kept cold by the use of hand-cut ice from lakes west of Milwaukee. Our final stop was at the Miller Inn which was constructed in 1892. Its purpose was to house the single men who worked in the brewery. Today it functions as a hospitality center and beer garden. Now we get to have some beer. We were surprised we they actually let you have three different types of beer in big glasses normally any other place only gives you a small sample. We would highly recommend the tour if your ever in Milwaukee.
We wanted to see Lake Michigan so we drove out to Port Washington. Very nice town reminded us of Seaside in Oregon. They have specialty shops and they have combined old buildings with new ones and it looks really great. The recession has hit here in the Marine area of Port Washington because they haven't been getting the tourists like they use to. A lot of the shops have been closed and are up for sale. We really don't know back home how hard this recession has hit down here until you go into some of the towns.
At the very top of the hill in Port Washington there is a Catholic church "St. Mary's" that was built in 1853. It was gorgeous we were able to go inside and we were in awe of the shear beauty of the church. The structure was designed by Henry Messner. The local farms and parishioners donated their time to help build the church.
The walls are three feet thick, the basement is not completely dug out and steam heat from two boilers still heat the church to this day. The church rises 168 feet from its foundation. It can be seen for miles out on the lake. A guide for sailors, who were relieved to see the cross atop the steeple - especially in storms, they knew they were on the right course.
They have three bells housed in a tower with four slatted windows the sound of the bells can be heard for miles around. The have six front doors which are brown anodized finish glass on an aluminum frame. The figures on each door were cast in Pennsylvania and add to the beauty of the church.
All the stained glass and statues have been generous gifts from the families and societies of the church. The pictues don't show it but the have a lamp that hangs on the side of the sanctuary arch, it has the twelve apostles encircling it in silver. It has a red light which burns steadily and has been for over 100 years.
They have a pipe organ which has 612 pipes. You look up at it and the shear size is amazing. We met a very nice couple in the church who have lived in Port Washington all their lives they have been married for 60 years. He went to school which the church still runs, they also have a nursing home right next door which looked like it was also run by the church.
It was getting in the day so we heading back to our campsite of course we hit the start of rush hour. It reminded me of when I worked downtown Vancouver and had an 1 1/2 commute one way. Oh how I don't miss those days!
We have just finished a very nice dinner and just sitting back relazing for the day.