Historic Structures

Building Description August Schell Brewing Company, New Ulm Minnesota

The August Schell Brewing Company complex is in actuality comprised of five parts: The August Schell House and Garden/Park, the original House and Brewery, the Brew House, the Barrel House and Cellars, and the modern Bottling House. It is reached by a two mile drive from downtown New Ulm to the end of South Franklin Street. The buildings are situated on a sloping hillside on the bank of the Big Cottonwood River east of New Ulm. The entire setting is wooded and removed from any industrial area giving the whole secluded, estate-like appearance.

The August Schell House was constructed in 1880. It is elevated on a promontory a distance of about one-hundred yards from the brewery and is approached by a gravel path through extensive formal gardens. The house is constructed of local red brick with cut and dressed limestone quoins, sills, lintels and banding. In plan the building comprises a large mass with rear kitchen dependency forming an "L". It is two storeys in height with full walkout basement and finished attic under dormered mansard roof. Ornamental stonework is the medium conveying a "German Medieval" flavor in the buildings appearance. This may be noted in the drop-like pendants encorporated within the banding and in the stepped-gable effect of the central pavilions. In addition, squat truncated tournells mark the ends of the gables; and round stone window casements are set into the attic storey. A wooden porch highlights the south facade and is accessible through the dining room and kitchen. It is gothic in design, evidenced by quatrefoils set in the spandrels and repeated pointed arches.

The interior remains in virtually original condition, only changes being modernisation of utilities. Upon entering the large double exterior doors with stained glass transom bearing the Schell name an elaborate walnut staircase with turned newell and balusters leads to second floor chambers. To the left a large arch opens into the parlor. Through this room, access is gained to the sitting room, library, and dining room. A door through the dining room connects the main section of the building to the kitchen wing.

The Original House and Brewery is located on the west end of the present brewery complex and at the east end of the path through the garden to the Schell House. This building served as both brewery and residence for August Schell and his family in 1860 when the brewery was founded. This use continued until construction of the large house. It is a simple red brick gabled structure of vernacular style. Today this building remains in use as the office for the brewery. A modern brick tap room addition links it with the Barrel House and Cellars to the east.

The Brew Houge constructed during the 1880's is the largest building in the brewery complex. It is situated on a hillside directly behind (north) of the Original House and Brewery. It is also constructed of red brick and is four high storeys in height. The cooker is located on the third level with machinery and boilers below and in the wing to the east. Of interest is the Linde Ice Machine Ammonia Compressor for the refrigeration system located on the ground level. It was manufactured by the Fred W. Wolf Company of Chicago and patented 1884. It continues in excellent working order.

Immediately to the south of the Brew House are the Barrel House and Cellars. This building dates earlier than the Brew House and originally served as Barrel House/Bottling House. It is four storeys in height and is constructed of red brick. It is extremely simple in design, the dominant feature being a corbelled brick parapet. Additions have been made to both east and west facades in order to accommodate increased demands for production and storage space.

The final element in the complex is the Bottling House, constructed in 1952. It is abutted to the west wall of the Brew House and is of no historical significance. It was also constructed to meet increased production space demand.

In total the August Schell Brewing Company complex represents 158+ years of continuous occupation and development in a single location. All buildings and areas are in an excellent state of maintenance and preservation and future plans of the management indicate that this concern will continue. Physically, no building has been demolished or altered in a major way as to obscure architectural features; and the inter-relationship of all elements present an easily discernable story of the brewing industry.