Stone Saloon becomes Waldmann, announces crowdfunding campaign, launch party and tours
ST. PAUL – April 5, 2017– Restoration of the Twin Cities’ only surviving pre-Civil War saloon is nearing completion, putting owner Tom Schroeder on the home stretch in opening what he calls the “newest, oldest brewery” in St. Paul’s West Seventh neighborhood. When Waldmann opens in September, it will be for the first time in 154 years. And true to its history and heritage, the establishment will feature a craft brewery specializing in German lagers and a wurstery offering a variety of house-made sausages.
The building that houses Waldmann, at 445 Smith Avenue, was one of more than a dozen German lager beer saloons that once quenched the thirst of the city’s pioneers before the Civil War, when lager was first introduced in the United States. Schroeder initially called the business Stone Saloon, but then renamed it Waldmann after discovering a key artifact pointing to Anthony Waldmann, the Bavarian immigrant who was the saloon’s first owner in the fall of 1857.
The discovery—which a team of volunteer archaeologists dug from the site before construction of the brew barn began—was a brass stencil used for marking barrels and bearing the name A. Waldmann. In addition to the stencil, the team found hundreds of nineteenth-century bottles, crocks, tools, tobacco pipes, beer tokens and other artifacts. Local advertising agency Whittier took inspiration from the stencil and the era’s double-wicked whale oil lamps to create a business logo for Schroeder evoking the saloon’s unique history and Germanic influence.
Schroeder’s four-year project has included hundreds of hours of research, a meticulous building restoration and adding a true-to-period brew barn, designed by John Yust, a St. Paul-based historic design architect. But for Schroeder, restoring the historic site is only part of the motivation for opening Waldmann. It is also about history and community. “I want to give folks a chance to discover the meaning in history, experiencing what it’s like to have a conversation by lamplight over good food and classic beer while sitting in 160-year old rooms that were built from the stone under their feet,” he said. "
“We’ve received so much neighborhood support and good-will throughout the project,” said Schroeder. “Since this has been a community project in many ways, we’re going to invite our supporters to some fun pre-launch events and give them a chance to pitch in and help in whatever way they can in a crowdfunding campaign that we need to get us through the home stretch.” The campaign seeks $45,000 and will launch during an open-to-the-public, crowdfunding launch party at Waldmann’s from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on April 20. Additional pre-opening events at Waldmann include the Minneapolis/St. Paul Home Tour, April 29-30, with guided tours and history lectures offered both days.