By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published May 06, 2021 at 1:24 PM

Old World Wisconsin in Eagle is currently in the midst of its two-phase New Arrivals Campaign, which will include a number of new features centered around a new guest entrance complex to welcome its 50,000 annual visitors.

In addition to the new welcome center and tram stop, Old World Wisconsin is moving a 1906 tavern building from Old Ashippun – in Dodge County – to its 600-acre collection of 60 vintage buildings, where it will be part of an immersive brewing experience.

According to the Old World Wisconsin website, “With construction scheduled throughout 2021, the Brewing Experience building will be the first new structure completed as part of a $5.5 million project that represents the first two phases of a larger, multi-year master plan that will transform the site’s entry area with a reimagined Welcome Experience.

Brewing Experience
An interior rendering of the Brewing Experience building.

“A newly constructed Brewing Experience building, combined with relocated historic Wittnebel’s Tavern and a festive outdoor beer garden, will allow Old World Wisconsin guests to celebrate Wisconsin’s brewing traditions like never before.”

The tavern, beer garden and Brewing Experience building will be situated behind the new welcome center, next to the octagonal 1890s Clausing Barn, which is also being renovated as part of the project.

Wittnebel's Tavern was run by the Wittnebel family for two generations, closing in 1987. It is the first structure to be moved to Old World Wisconsin in more than two decades.

Exterior (above) and interior (below) views of Wittnebel's Tavern.

“Once placed onto its new foundation and restored, the two-story building will become a prominent, popular attraction and add authenticity to the historic experience,” notes the website.

“The first floor will serve as a functioning tavern that will transport guests back in time and tell the story of rural Wisconsin tavern life immediately following Prohibition. A vintage beer truck in front of the tavern will offer guests a glimpse at how kegs were delivered and serve as a popular spot for selfies and other photos.”

The Brewing Experience building will have two large fireplaces in which volunteers from OId World Wisconsin’s Historic Brewing Program will brew batches of beer, often using ingredients grown on-site, that will be available for purchase.

The facility will have a bar and gathering space, where it can offer workshops and tastings. The building will also serve as a rental for weddings and other events.

“A Guest Entrance Complex, Brewing Experience building, historic tavern, outdoor Beer Garden, Pavilion, Tram Stop and other improvements,” the website notes, “will make a visit to Old World Wisconsin an unforgettable experience unlike any other, while also helping sustain the site far into the future.”

Learn more about the tavern and the logistics of moving it in this Facebook video:

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.