The Pabst Mansion

Behind the Scenes

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The Pabst Mansion, a late 19th century architectural landmark on West Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee, recently opened its doors for a behind-the-scenes look at areas that are typically roped off to the public. The mansion, built in 1890 as a home for Pabst Brewing Co. founder Capt. Frederick Pabst, includes original fixtures and technology of the era, including machinery for an elevator that was installed in 1903, original gas lighting fixtures in the home’s attic, and 16 thermostats that once regulated two boilers – one of the only remaining examples of Johnson Controls’ early central heating systems. The mansion cost $254,000 to build 125 years ago. In today’s dollar, it would amount to $7 million.

  1. A large wine cellar on the mansion’s lowest level stores all 30 of the mansion’s Christmas trees, which are put on display annually for the public to get a glimpse of what the holiday would have looked like during the Victorian era.
  2. An up-close look at the skylight from the mansion’s attic.
  3. The woodwork detail on the staircase. The wood is from Wisconsin and all of the woodwork was completed by local craftsmen.
  4. A telephone that was installed when the house was built in 1892, about 15 years after the telephone was first invented. A luxury for the time, the telephone is located across from the study and was typically used for business.
  5. An electrical lighting fixture and ornate ceiling details in the mansion’s dining room.

Photos by Lila Aryan Photography

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