Book Club: Fauerbach Brewing Company

Book Club: Fauerbach Brewing Company

“PRINCESS III in action” in front of Fauerbach Brewery on Lake Monona.

For over a hundred years, the Fauerbach family have been Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club members and officers. The epicenter of Madison iceboating ran across the isthmus from the Bernard Boat Shop on Lake Mendota to the Fauerbach Brewery on Lake Monona. Until the brewery was closed, 4LIYC members gathered in the brewery’s elaborately carved bar for a “cold dipper” to talk smart and conduct club business. Peter Fauerbach has written a book about his family, the brewery, the social history of Madison, and the Fauerbach’s iceboats. Peter’s book is a must-have for iceboating, beer, and Madison history fans.
Buy your copy online here.

The Original PRINCESS

The Original PRINCESS

PRINCESS II postcard with her namesake added, actress Margaret Sylvia. Postcard from the William & Carl Bernard Collection. 

The internet tells me that the ancient Greeks get credit for the tradition of boat-naming, a custom that iceboat builders continued. Growing up iceboating, all Four Lakes Ice Yacht Club classes carried names, even DNs. (In present times, the Estonians seem to be the only DN fleet that consistently attaches a name to a boat.)

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Madison’s Fuller opera house hosted the latest touring plays and operas of the day. One actress made such an impression on Emil Fauerbach that he named his grand William Bernard-built ice yachts after her. All three of Fauerbach’s PRINCESS boats owe their name after Margaret Sylvia, who starred in the comic opera Princess Chic.

We don’t know if Ms. Sylvia ever knew the local fame bestowed upon her or that her namesake won several prestigious regatta titles, including the Hearst. Who knows, maybe one of the reasons William Randolph Hearst, who was well known for his admiration of actresses, donated the Hearst trophy was because Ms. Sylvia told him that a Madisonian had named his iceboat in her honor.

“The PRINCESS is named for Margaret Sylvia who stars in the Princess Chic and has played at the Fuller opera house. This is the second Madison ice yacht to be named in honor of an actress, the first one being the MAY BRETTON, owned by the Spooner Brothers.” Wisconsin State Journal, October 30, 1903

This Weekend in Iceboat History: Fauerbach Wins Hearst 107 Years Ago

This Weekend in Iceboat History: Fauerbach Wins Hearst 107 Years Ago


On March 16, 1914, Madisonians Emil Fauerbach and William Bernard brought the Hearst Trophy to Madison, one of the most sought after titles in ice yacht racing.
UPDATE 3-18: The original photo that was posted was incorrect. See more below.

Previous: Throw Back Thursday, Meet Emil Fauerbach

Emil Fauerbach, born 1870, grew up on Lake Monona near his family’s brewery and was obsessed with the beautiful ice yachts he saw flying around the lake, considered the fastest vehicles in the world at the time. One mile away from the brewery on the other side of Madison’s isthmus, William Bernard was born the same year and grew up immersed in his father’s boat livery on Lake Mendota, where he fulfilled his dream of building and designing iceboats.

 

Fauerbach and Bernard joined forces and chased one of the most prestigious ice yacht racing titles, the Hearst trophy. Newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst donated a gold-lined silver cup at the behest of the Kalamazoo Ice Yacht Club in Michigan in 1903. Emil’s idea was to challenge for the prestigious Hearst trophy, but in 1904 Emil sailing a Bernard-built boat, returned to Madison from Gull Lake, Michigan, without the title.

Fauerbach and Bernard’s obsession with the Hearst resulted in a new ice yacht explicitly designed to win the coveted cup. Bernard completed Princess II for Fauerbach in January of 1906. Princess II carried 426 square feet of sail, weighed 1500 pounds, and made of the finest white oak and spruce. Between 1904 and 1914, the two determined men traveled six times to Gull Lake, Michigan, trying to win the Hearst. Fauerbach was considered Madison’s “Sir Thomas Lipton,” after the British millionaire yachtsman famous for his five unsuccessful bids to win the America’s Cup.

1914: The Hearst Cup Finally Comes to Madison
PRINCESS II won the Northwest regatta Class A championship in 1914. Shortly after the win, Emil Fauerbach, PRINCESS II, and his crew of Andy Flom, William Bernard, and Hiram Nelson took the train to Michigan.

 

Fauerbach’s resolve to capture the Hearst for Madison was so great that he put aside his ego and stayed off the boat, turning over control to superior sailor Andy Flom. On March 16, 1914, Emil watched from the finish line as Flom, Nelson, and Bernard finally wrested the Hearst away from the Kalamazoo Ice Yacht Club. They were bringing the elegant trophy to Madison.

 

When the news of the victory reached Madison, the citizens were ecstatic. Henry Fauerbach, interviewed at Chicago’s Illinois Athletic Club, declared that his brother’s victory would be a good motivation for ice-yacht racing throughout the whole Northwest. In an understatement, Mendota Yacht Club Commodore Lew Porter told the Wisconsin State Journal, “it is possible that the Mendota Yacht Club will hold some sort of jollification as a result of the victory of the PRINCESS II.” The paper went on to write, “PRINCESS II, sailing the colors of the Mendota Yacht Club, has won for Madison the highest honors in this year’s leading American ice yacht regatta…Madison is particularly gratified at the splendid success of Emil Fauerbach’s iceboat because the game Badger skipper has tried several times to lift the cup.” Fauerbach’s win put Madison on the map as an iceboating community.

 

Sadly, Emil Fauerbach had only a short time to revel in the Hearst trophy’s prestige and honors. Fifteen months after he won the Hearst, Madisonians read the shocking news that their most famous ice yachtsman had passed away. Emil Fauerbach died on May 22, 1915, at 45, from complications of a stomach operation.

Misidentified as “Emil Fauerbach and possibly Andy Flom on PRINCESS I in front of Fauerbach Brewery on Lake Monona, Madison, WI, c.1905. Courtesy of Byron Tetzlaff.” Erich Schloemer pointed out that this boat isn’t a Madison-style boat as all PRINCESS boats were, but instead could be a John Buckstaff-built boat, possibly DEBUTANTE B. Stay tuned for more.

1915 Northwest

1915 Northwest

1915 Northwest

Ice yachtsmen of the midwest united in 1913 to organize the Northwest regatta to determine which club had the fastest stern-steerers. Read more about their efforts and the first Northwest which was sailed in Menominee, Michigan.

Two years later, the Northwest regatta came to Madison for the first time and was sailed on Lake Monona. The Milwaukee boat DEBUTANTE III won the A class, beating local hero Emil Fauerbach’s PRINCESS III. Madison’s most famous iceboat builder of the time, William Bernard, won the B fleet. Interesting to note that there was a C class champion back then but the C class NIYA records that I have start in 1926.
Madison historian, Frank Custer, wrote an absolutely fascinating story about this regatta filled with the kinds of details that iceboaters love to read, like the fact that the DEBUTANTE III was the first boat to use aluminum runners. Custer’s article is a must read, check it out here.

  • A Class champion: DEBUTANTE III, D. Van Dyke, K. Doemel, M. Mackie
  • B Class champion: VALIENT, W. P. Bernard, H. Nelson
  • Free For All champion: DEBUTANTE III, D. Van Dyke, K. Doemel, M. Mackie

Friday, January 22, 1915 Wisconsin State Journal

FREE FOR ALL TO DEBUTANTE III
Milwaukee Owned Ice Yacht Wins SQUARE PEOPLE’S Cup On Lake Monona
The free-for-all race for the Square People’s trophy for ice boats of all classes, which is always a feature of the Northwestern Ice Yachting association regatta was won this morning by DEBUTANTE III, skippered by its owner, Douglas Van Dyke of Milwaukee. The race went 15 miles and the beautiful Van Dyke craft covered the distance in 59 minutes and 5 seconds. Considering the light breeze and the snow, this is considered fair time.

Nine minutes after DEBUTANTE III crossed the tape, PRINCESS III owned by Emil Fauerbach finished. Followed in their respective order were OLD CRAFT of Menominee, PRINCESS II, and TOOT TOOT, the last two being seconds apart.

DEBUTANTE II, the sister boat of the winner, struck a stake and was disqualified. FLIT, FREAK, and VALIANT withdrew.

The final races for trophies in the B and C classes were run off late this afternoon.

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