December 31, 1914: Fitger’s original Brewery Saloon closes

On this day in Duluth in 1914, Fitger’s Brewery Saloon served its last beer. The saloon had opened in 1882 inside what was then Mike Fink’s Lake Superior Brewery between Sixth and Seventh Avenues East along Superior Street. August Fitger had recently become the outfit’s brewmaster and within three years he and Percy Anneke would own the entire brewery. Franz Heinrich operated the saloon from 1886 until 1909, when he died. Bartender Joseph Wisocki tool Heinrich’s place as the saloon’s keeper.  The brewery itself  had been expanding ever since Fitger and Anneke took over and the space the saloon occupied was needed for other operations. Construction for a new Brewery Saloon at 508 East Superior Street began in June 1914 following plans drawn up by Duluth architect Anthony Puck. Murals painted by John Fery and Feodore von Luerzer during an 1894 renovation of the saloon were moved to the new building, and Fery painted more murals inside the new structure. In 1917, after Duluth voted to go “dry.” it was converted to a soft drinks parlor; a year later the brewery leased it to Wisocki. During Prohibition Fitger’s brewed a near-beer named Pickwick, which Wisocki served at his saloon. He eventually converted the soft drinks parlor to a restaurant and named it Pickwick. Read a more thorough history of the Pickwick here.

A lithographic postcard of the Pickwick, ca. 1930. (Image: Zenith City Press)