Because – as a tribute to Mrs. Pabst, who was devoted to her family, and to all mothers this Mother’s Day – The Pabst Mansion will offer self-guided behind the scenes tours from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 13, we're re-sharing this 2015 behind the scenes look at The Pabst Mansion. On Mother's Day, staff and docents will be stationed on the mansion's five levels to answer guests’ questions. Happy Mother's Day!
"We had a really great thing happen here," says John Eastberg as we stand in a third-floor bathroom in The Pabst Mansion gazing up at areas of paint carefully removed to reveal stencilwork more than a century old. "A pipe burst."
Eastberg may or may not have stock in a plumbing repair company, but he sure is invested in the Ferry & Clas-designed Pabst Mansion, where he has worked for decades to restore the mansion to its glorious, ornate original beauty.
As director of development and senior historian – as well as author of such landmark Milwaukee history books as "Layton’s Legacy" (LINK) and "Pabst Farms: The History of A Model Farm" – Eastberg knows every detail of the mansion, both inside and out.
A couple years back, he talked about the history of the pavilion Capt. Frederick Pabst erected for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair – designed by Otto Strack – which now serves as the entrance to the home and also as its gift shop. (LINK)
Last week, I went back so Eastberg could show me the progress on the work to restore the third floor, which was original guest rooms and a suite for Pabst’s two sons and more recently housed Eastberg’s office, a board room and other back-of-house services.
The space has been transformed – though work continues, especially in terms of acquiring appropriate furniture and completing extremely detailed stenciled paint work – but is now open to the public and included in tours of The Pabst Mansion.
The recent revelations beneath six or seven layers of paint mean there is now even more work to be done. In the meantime, take a walk with us as we look at the progress on the third floor and go behind the scenes in the basement and attic and on the roof of this Milwaukee landmark:
Third floor guest room
A secondary guest room was formerly Eastberg's office
The board room has been returned to a library
Here you can see pre- and post-restoration painting
Careful paint removal reveals original stencilwork in numerous rooms, as in this third floor bathroom
If you go up to the attic, remember to...
A nice, clean attic ... the Captain would be pleased
A skylight in the roof illuminates the more ornate stained glass above the stairway
This octopus of pipes in the attic connects the mansion's ventilation system to a rooftop vent
The elevator equipment still works, but isn't used anymore
Love, love, love the chimney
A view of the Domes from the roof
Just like at Pabst's old Building 29, the mansion has barrel vaults in the basement
The mansion's old heating system has brass dials in an oak cabinet, of course, in the basement
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 OnMilwaukee.com 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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.