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Mishawaka seeking new life for historic brewery

(photo courtesy of Indiana Landmarks)

MISHAWAKA, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — For nearly a century, Kamm & Schellinger Brewery boomed along the St. Joseph River, at one time producing more than 75,000 barrels of beer per year. But time has taken its toll on the pre-Civil War era building in Mishawaka that has sat empty for several decades. Indiana Landmarks has placed the brewery on its 10 Most Endangered list.

Around INdiana Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman spotlighted the brewery in the final installment of our Endangered Indiana series. View video

The company was founded by German immigrants Adolf Kamm and Nicholas Schellinger in 1887, but the brewery building dates back to the 1850s. The brewery would become one of Mishawaka’s most celebrated manufacturers.

Both founders had their family residences built on the property and Kamm’s wife would prepare meals for the workers. When prohibition hit, Todd Zeiger with Indiana Landmarks says the company shifted to making root beer and other products.

When prohibition ended, Kamm & Schellinger was the state’s first brewing operation to resume making beer and production hit an all-time high. But the prosperity wouldn’t last.

The brewery permanently closed in 1951 but would see new life in the late 1960s, when developers adapted the site into a popular complex of shops and restaurants known as the 100 Center.

“It was the place to be until the 1980s when the new malls were built up north of down, and the energy shifted, and this has kind of been a slow decline since then,” said Zeiger.

Kate Voelker with the Mishawaka Historic Preservation Commission says because the building has an out-of-state owner, they haven’t been able to go inside to see the state of the interior.

Indiana Landmarks says the historic boiler house, stables and several other buildings have been repurposed. Voelker says now is the time to add the main, four-story brewery building to that list.

“It’s one of the oldest structures left in the city of Mishawaka,” she says. “From a historical standpoint, its worth it.”