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13 Aug 2021, last revised 04 Jul 2022

In the early 1900s, business was booming as the mining industry was reaching its peak production years (6) and Houghton Country was nearing its peak population of over 88,000 (5). So even though there were two well-established breweries in Houghton, the A. Haas Brewing Co. and the Scheuermann Branch of the Bosch Brewing Co., it would seem there was room for one more. The Park Brewing Co. was incorporated in May 1906 with $150,000 capital and intent to build a new brewery in Houghton (1) at the Haas Park (13). Perhaps, this is how it got its name. But it turns out, the brewery was built in Hancock instead, for an approximate cost of $186,000 (3). The Sanborn map shows that the brewery was located on the corner of E. Atlantic St. and Emma St., adjacent to what is now McAfee Field.

Sanborn map - Nov 1907
Sanborn map - Nov 1907
Sanborn map - Aug 1917
Sanborn map - Aug 1917
Newspaper ad - The L'Anse Sentinel - Dec 14, 1907
Newspaper ad - Dec 1907

Beer production apparently started in 1907, as in Nov 1907, Baraga Country received its first shipment of beer (2). Their beer was called Park Brew. The Sanborn map indicated that the bottling house was not completed in Nov 1907, so perhaps bottling started at a later date. Most of the bottles were made by American Bottle Co. and exhibit 1908 as the earliest date code. Two bottles had a different maker, one from Root Glass Co. and one from North Baltimore Bottle Glass Co. These makers did not have date codes, but based on their bottles being embossed PARK BREWING CO. instead of THE PARK BREWING CO., they probably pre-date the American Bottle Co. bottles. Thus, the brewery was certainly bottling by 1908 and may have started in late 1907. The bottles also indicate that the company embraced the latest bottle closure at the time, namely the crown cap, since all their bottles used this closure. Other brewers were still using the older Baltimore Loop Seal on some of their bottles.

Park brewery c.1910<br>Courtesy of National Park Service, Keweenaw National Historical Park, Lahti Collection
Park brewery c.1910
Park brewery c.1935<br>Courtesy of National Park Service, Keweenaw National Historical Park, Raffaelli Collection, Albums 23, #082
Park brewery c.1935
Park bottling operation<br>Courtesy of Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections, MTU Archives Numbered Negative Collection, MTU Neg 03090
Bottling Operation

A. J. Scott, who had a drug store in Hancock (see Scott's Drug Store), was the founder (7) and served as president until 1911 (7,9). The company had 100 stockholders in 1908, nearly all being Copper Country residents (3). Business was well established in Baraga County by 1908 and a site was selected to erect a refrigerator and storehouse to more satisfactorily service local dealers (10). The storehouse was later sold in 1914 and became a storehouse for flour, feed, and grain (11). By 1910, the brewery had 31 employees (14). In 1913, 20 unionized employees went on strike with the following demands: employ only union men, a 9-hour work day and a 6-day work week, time-and-a-half overtime pay, higher wages, and no hiring based on a saloonkeeper's recommendation (12). With the support of striking copper miners, the workers got their demands and went back to work (7).

In 1917, the brewery had 19 employees (15), and then Prohibition hit Michigan in 1918 (7). It seems the brewery tried to stay open by manufacturing "soft drinks" (16), but then closed in 1918 (7). Upon the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the company reorganized, and the building was sold, renovated, and reopened (7). Business prospered again, and then in 1941, the brewery was sold and the A. Haas Brewing Co. moved in (7). The building no longer exists today.

Some of the bottles are embossed, THE PARK, while others have just PARK. Because both of these designs extent into the ABM period, the difference does not seem to reflect different time periods. It is likely that the aqua bottles contained a special brand of beer, like it did for other breweries, but we have yet to identify the brand for them. Despite having features of newer bottles, the Park Brewing Co. bottles represent a critical period of Copper Country history, marked by a rise in stock corporations, labor disputes, strikes, and a subsequent decline of copper production.

Park Brew label<br>Courtesy of the Richard Dana Collection
Beer bottle label
Park Elite label<br>Courtesy of the Richard Dana Collection
Beer bottle label

References

  1. anonymous. (1906, May 26). Peninsula News. The L'Anse Sentinel (L'Anse, MI). p. 1.
  2. anonymous. (1907, Nov 30). Local Items. The L'Anse Sentinel (L'Anse, MI). p. 1.
  3. anonymous. (1908, May 30). Park Brewery Co. Officers. The L'Anse Sentinel (L'Anse, MI). p. 1.
  4. Nancarrow, A., V. Elizabeth, and Houghton Centennial Committee. 1961. Houghton Centennial Souvenir History and Program. City of Houghton, MI.
  5. US Decennial Census. US Census Bureau. www.census.gov.
  6. wikipedia.org. accessed 2021. Copper Mining in Michigan. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper_mining_in_Michigan
  7. Magnaghi, R. M. 2015. Upper Peninsula Beer: A History of Brewing Above the Bridge. American Palate. Charleston, SC.
  8. Van Wieren, D. P. 1995. American Breweries II. Eastern Coast Brewiana Association. West Point, PA.
  9. anonymous. (1911, May 18). Park Brewery Meeting. The Calumet News (Calumet, MI). p. 1.
  10. anonymous. (1908, Mar 21). Park Brewing Company to Build. The L'Anse Sentinel (L'Anse, MI). p. 5.
  11. anonymous. (1914, Apr 18). Purchased Warehouse. The L'Anse Sentinel (L'Anse, MI). p. 1.
  12. anonymous. (1913, Jul 12). Strike on the Park Brewery. The Calumet News (Calumet, MI). p. 3.
  13. Smith. P. F. 2022. Michigan Beer: A Heady History. The History Press. Charleston, SC.
  14. State of Michigan Department of Labor. 1911. Second Annual Report of the Department of Labor of the State of Michigan. Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., State Printers. Lansing, MI.
  15. Michigan Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics. 1918. Thirty-Fifth Annual Report of the Department of Labor of the State of Michigan. Wynkoop Hallenbeck Crawford Co., State Printers. Lansing, MI.
  16. State of Michigan Department of Labor. 1919. Thirty-Sixth Annual Report of the Department of Labor of the State of Michigan. Fort Wayne Printing Co. Fort Wayne, Indiana.

112
Park Brewing Co bottle
capacity: quart
color: amber
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: ROOT (base)
other marks: (none)
date: 1907-1912
rarity: scarce
  • full mold plate

s77
Park Brewing Co bottle
capacity: quart
color: amber
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: N B B G CO (back heel)
other marks: (none)
date: 1907-1912
rarity: ?
  • no serifs in PARK, unlike 112
  • no THE above PARK, unlike 113

116
Park Brewing Co bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: N B B G CO. (base)
other marks: (none)
date: 1907-1912
rarity: scarce
  • no THE on plate

113
Park Brewing Co bottle
capacity: quart
color: amber
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: A B Co. (base)
other marks: (none)
date: 1908-1912
rarity: common
  • different plate from 112
  • THE above PARK
  • this example has date code: 8 - S

114
Park Brewing Co bottle
capacity: quart
color: amber
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: A B Co (base)
other marks: (none)
date: 1908-1912
rarity: common
  • different mold shape
  • this example has date code: 8 - S

s61
Park Brewing Co bottle
capacity: pint
color: amber
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: A B Co (base)
other marks: (none)
date: 1908
rarity: rare
  • pint-sized complement to 114
  • this example has date code: 8 - S

117
Park Brewing Co bottle
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: A B Co. (base)
other marks: (none)
date: 1908-1912
rarity: common
  • THE above PARK
  • this example has date code: 8 - S

118
Park Brewing Co bottle
capacity: pint
color: aqua
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: A B Co. (base)
other marks: (none)
date: 1908-1912
rarity: common
  • pint-sized complement to 117
  • this example has date code: 8 - S

115
Park Brewing Co bottle
capacity: pint
color: amber
top: crown top - tooled
maker's mark: A B Co. (base)
other marks: (none)
date: 1908-1913
rarity: common
  • pint-sized complement to 113
  • this example has date code: S - 13
  • another example has date code of 0 - S (for 1910)

abm-28
bottle image
capacity: quart
color: amber
top: crown top - ABM
maker's mark: W. F. & S. MIL. (base)
other marks: (none)
date: c.1915
rarity: ?
abm-28a
bottle image
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: c.1912
rarity: ?
  • different plate from abm-28
  • heel had "10 12", which might be a date code

abm-29
bottle image
capacity: pint
color: amber
top: crown top - ABM
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: c.1915
rarity: ?
  • this example has an A B Co. date code: 17 S 1

abm-30
bottle image
capacity: quart
color: aqua
top: crown top - ABM
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: c.1915
rarity: ?
  • the heel has "12 1", which might be a date code

abm-31
bottle image
capacity: pint
color: aqua
top: crown top - ABM
maker's mark: (none)
other marks: (none)
date: c.1915
rarity: ?
  • this example has an A B Co. date code: 16 S 1