A 150-year-old ‘beer cave’ has been discovered by utility workers
Staff carrying out underground electrical work in Iowa made an astonishing discovery when they hit upon a mid-19th century beer cave.
Utility workers made the discovery while doing excavation work for a project in Madison County. While digging, they hit what they thought was a rock shelf, before realising what they had uncovered.
“They started digging it up and figured they hit a rock shelf,” electrical superintendent Chuck Johnson told KCCI.
“When we poked our head in and saw the arched ceiling — there isn’t a flaw in it. It’s just like it was brand new.”
A business directory dating to 1869 revealed that there was a brewery located next to the cellar the workers had uncovered. Presumably, the beer cave was used to keep the brewery’s beers cool in the days before refrigeration.
“A known beer-cooling cellar, that was created in the 1860s and could still be viewed in the 1960s, has been covered up since that time by the widening of Hwy 92 and development of the farmland around it. Recent utility work uncovered the cave’s location once again.” Wrote Madison County Historic Preservation Commission in a Facebook post.
“Iowa DOT staff, with City of Winterset Utilities and the Madison County Historic Preservation Commission, took a preliminary look at the location in early July. The cellar, since it is below ground to be cool, now holds water. Those involved plan to regroup in the fall when the water table is lower, so that LIDAR (light detecting and ranging) equipment can be used to fully assess the structure from the inside. Meanwhile local research is being done on the brewery and its owner, Morris Schroeder.”
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