Wisconsin 101: The Story Of Urbanization In A Soda Bottle

July 6, 2016


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Open a bottle from the old Cassel Soda Company in White Fish Bay and discover the story of resorts and urbanization in early 20th century Wisconsin.

The soda bottle was sold by the Cassel Soda Company in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, in the early 1900s. Conrad Cassel owned and managed the company from 1897 to 1917.

He sold his soda to Whitefish Bay residents and to tourists at the Whitefish Bay Pabst Resort. In 1888, Captain Frederick Pabst built a family-oriented recreational resort in Whitefish Bay. Chicago’s population was booming in the late 19th century and these residents often traveled north to Wisconsin for vacations. Many Wisconsin companies build resorts to increase profits from tourists.

With its scenic location on the shores of Lake Michigan, the Whitefish Bay Pabst Resort became enormously popular and even attracted a visit from President Theodore Roosevelt.

One of Pabst’s primary goals in opening the resort was to sell his products but his beverage line wasn’t exactly family friendly. For kids and nondrinkers, Pabst contracted with the Cassel Soda Company to sell soda at his resort.

Tourists weren’t the only ones coming to Whitefish Bay. Many Milwaukee families moved north to get away from the rapidly industrializing city and to find better housing in surrounding towns. The Milwaukee Electric Railway and Light Company had a special service line to Whitefish Bay to help attract people to the newly created suburbs.

The success of the resort and increasing urbanization helped the Cassel Soda Company stay in business for more than 20 years. 

Learn more about Cassel at Wisconsin 101, a statewide collaborative effort to explore Wisconsin’s diverse story through objects.

2019-02-18T16:47:20-06:00Tags: , |

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