By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Oct 07, 2016 at 6:06 PM

For the 10th straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee, presented by the restaurants of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, dining guides, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as voting for your "Best of Dining 2016."

For more than a century, The Bosch (5871 S. 108th St.) has stood guard on the corner as a place of refuge and relaxation for those coming, going and staying in Hales Corners. And now that its corner is moving, so is the historic tavern, with the help of good neighbors – and with a good cause beyond tasty burgers and beers – thanks to a "Tug the Tavern" event on Saturday afternoon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

And when they call the soirée "Tug the Tavern," they literally mean tugging a tavern with some ropes and a lot of collective willpower.

But first, some history to explain why dozens of people would gather to pull a building like some crazy Ironman challenge. Built in the late 19th century – the earliest photo in existence, notes owner Rick Putlitz, is dated some years later in 1904 – The Bosch began life as The Bosch Hotel, serving as a spirited home (complete with a dance hall on the second floor) for travelers coming through town by either horse or by early streetcar, selling and buying their goods.

"It's always been kind of a hub here," Putlitz explained.

PHOTO: The Bosch Tavern Facebook

Over the decades, The Bosch changed a lot – owners, names and even its look, receiving a remodeling in the ’50s to match the trends of the era. However, when Putlitz bought the property about 20 years ago, he tore out those changes and tried to restore the tavern back to its original Victorian look from the turn of the century. Gone were most of the metal awnings, chrome and spotlights of before; back were the turret, the wraparound porch, the siding and the shaped roof. All the while, The Bosch maintained its place as a neighborhood center of activity, just shifting over the years from streetcar passengers to thirsty Packers fans, early farmers market attendees to avid Friday fish fry eaters.

However, a new threat emerged to the tavern in recent years, one far more dangerous than some out-of-date ’50s decor: highway construction.

The Village of Hales Corners obviously has grown since the streetcar and hitching post days of The Bosch’s birth – especially along the city’s main drag on Highway 100. So, in 2009, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation moved to reconstruct the two-mile run of Highway 100, including plans to widen the highway in certain areas with some new turning lanes. While necessary, the expansion would also cross into the iconic neighborhood tavern’s property, perched right on the corner of Highway 100 and Janesville Road.

The Bosch would have to move.

Thankfully, according to Putlitz, the building was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, so not only was The Bosch saved from destruction but it was saved from losing its traditional spot on the corner. It still, however, needs to be moved to the new, slightly deeper corner location.

Enter some long lengths of rope and some eager locals with some hopefully strong muscles.

"It started out as a joke, laughing about it, but then we actually thought about the math on it," Putlitz explained. "The building weighs about 150 tons, which is 300,000 pounds, and the roller system that’s between the beams that it moves on when they move it reduces that by about 50 percent – so that puts us down to about 150,000 pounds. And we divided that by 200 people and came to 75 pounds apiece. So if we can get 200 people that can pull 75 pounds – and they say the average person can drag 100 – we thought maybe we could do it."

So, on Saturday afternoon, The Bosch is looking for people from across the city to gather at the tavern, take a place on one of three lengths of two-inch rope and give it their best pull in order to move the tavern the final two feet (the building was already moved most of the way) to its new home on the future corner of Highway 100 and Janesville Road.

"I’m trying to think of some way to mark the finish," Putlitz added. "I’m thinking we put a beer bottle on a post or something, and knock the beer bottle off. What more fitting way to mark an achievement in Milwaukee than to spill a bottle of beer?"

The "Tug the Tavern" shindig is not content with merely moving a historic suburban landmark; it’s also striving to help children in need. A place on the literally history-shifting rope – plus a barbecue pork sandwich and a beer – will cost a $10 day-of donation going toward Penfield Children’s Center, which focuses on providing early educational, health and family support for infants and young children – many with developmental disabilities. It’s an organization with a close tie to the area, as well, as the village’s former president, Jim Ryan, also served as Penfield’s president before he tragically passed away from cancer in 2007.

After Saturday’s pull, The Bosch Tavern, which is currently closed and up in the air on steel beams, is aiming to reopen around Thanksgiving – and hopefully welcome another century of refuge and relaxation to a slightly different part of its corner in Hales Corners. 

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.