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Dick Brothers Brewery, Quincy, Illinois

The Dick Brothers Brewery is located on York Street in the South Side German Historic District. It is a great example of adaptive reuse of a historic brewery building that has incorporated its underground cellars into a guided tour. The buildings are also a great example of the Rundbogenstil of brewery architecture, which I classify under Romanesque Revival for simplicity’s sake.

First up is what I suspect was the brewery offices, and if I can read the ghost sign, was also the shipping office as well. I also wonder if at one point it was also the hospitality room or Sternewirth.

Regardless, it is a beautiful building and a type that is often lost when breweries were torn down en masse in the mid Twentieth Century throughout America.

Next up, and it’s nice and convenient since brewers liked to label their buildings for the general public, is the brew house and storage house. “Storage house” is a new one for me, but due to its location next to the brew house it must have been where raw ingredients were stored for the brewing process.

Due to the height of the brew house, I can assume it functioned much like the Anheuser-Busch, Lemp or Columbia breweries in that it relied on free gravity to draw the wort from top to bottom throughout the brewing process, before it was either racked down into the cellars or later the lagering or stock houses.

I am not sure who the architect of the complex was, but it is certainly influenced by Edmund Jungenfeld and his successors Widmann, Walsh and Boisselier, if not actually designed by them.

The stock house is self-explanatory; while officially they are usually described as store houses for raw materials or finished beer, for the most part in America they are almost always used for the storage of finished product. Particularly due to the presence of small windows except on the top floor, I suspect that this was a refrigerated building. It would be consistent with the Lemp Brewery.

All the buildings have stunning red brick, which I suspect was imported from somewhere else, maybe even St. Louis.

I have no idea what the next building was; the brick is older and was not fired at as high of a temperature. I actually wonder if it was even built as part of the brewery, but if it was it might have been one of the first.

It is a beautiful ensemble of buildings.

Across York Street (by the way, all the state streets in Quincy have the “New” dropped from their names) is the power plant with its sort of creepy square chimney.

We also know, thanks to the sign (not visible in the photo), that the buildings facing the street were the bottle works. I wonder if the tunnels went under the street with a racking pipe to bring the beer to the bottle works. It would have been like that in St. Louis at several breweries.

Across the alley are more buildings for the brewery.

I loved this arch on the backside of the building.

The back of the brewery is more utilitarian than the public side on York Street.

One of the later buildings in the complex is clearly part of the brewery as is evidenced by the monogram DB.

2 Comments

  1. The natural spring, which provided water for the brewing process, still flows today, and originates behind the buildings on the south side of York ST. I toured part of the brewery tunnels several years ago, and the tour guide dipped a container into an opening in the floor, which contained the clear spring water.

    • The Lemp Brewery also has spring water in its lowest cellars. I can’t wait to have the opportunity to tour the cellars of the Dick Brothers Brewery when it’s possible.

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