Wisconsin Dining December 21, 2018
The Haunted Bar That’s Been Around Since Before Wisconsin Was Even A State
Franksville is a small Wisconsin town about 10 miles west of Racine and three miles east of I-94. The small town is more a place that gets driven through on the way to other places these days, but once upon a time it was a bustling stop on the route between Milwaukee and Chicago. White settlers first came here in the 1830s. In the 1850s, plank roads were built and in the 1870s, the railroad line came through. And through pretty much all of that, Brossman’s Bar has been there. Before it was a bar, it was a stagecoach stop and hotel and the folks that run the place now can trace their family’s roots with the bar back to 1899.
As long as there's been a Franksville, it seems, there's been a Brossman's Bar. This small town about midway between Milwaukee and Chicago was a stagecoach stop and those folks needed somewhere to stay, eat and be entertained. So before Wisconsin was even incorporated, this building was serving the good folks of the territory.
It's nearly as impossible to find Wisconsin's oldest bar as it is to determine what factors should be taken into account. Is the building the oldest? Has it been a bar the whole time? That's for someone else to figure out. All we know is that the folks who run Brossman's now are still Brossmans and their ancestors bough the place in 1899, though that wasn't the beginning. Before that, the bar served locals as they stopped for the stagecoach to change horses or to spend the night between Milwaukee and Chicago.
Now a fabulous local corner bar with tons of regulars who love having a personal connection to the folks behind the bar and the incredibly reasonable drink prices, Brossman's is one of those great Wisconsin bars that have more stories than stools at the bar.
Brossman's is as much a part of this community as anything. Through population shifts and the closing of the local sauerkraut factory, Brossman's has been a staple of Franksville. It's where folks meet and gather and in many ways, it's the keeper of the town's history.
Of course, in a place this old, it goes to reckon that there are probably more than a few ghosts hanging around. This bar seems to have more than its fair share, from spectral images that seem to date back 100 years to the more recent ghost of the former owner.
Helen Brossman passed away in 2010 and she may have decided to stick around her favorite spot. She was born in the back room where her family used to live and served customers well into her 80s. She spent her whole life in this bar and as the building seems to have a history of paranormal activity, most folks around here have just assumed Helen became the next in a long line of ghosts they believe hang out at Brossman's.
Many employees and guests have reported seeing a little girl in a red dress, a woman in a white gown and a man wearing a cheap suit. In addition, customers and employees have reported seeing a number of odd things happening inside the bar - spinning chairs, a flying pilgrim hat, the sound of people walking upstairs, the TV turning on and off and doors opening and closing. Many different people have described the girl in the red dress independently and all the stories, even from folks who don't know the building's history, make it difficult to discount their veracity.
There's more than 170 years of history at Brossman's, making it one of the oldest buildings and possibly the oldest pub in the state. It's fascinating that one family has run this spot for more than a century. Brossman's is as much a Wisconsin institution as brats and cheese curds. This fascinating old spot is worth a visit based on the history alone. These folks are proud of where they come from and they've kept plenty of memorabilia to document their long history. And if you believe at all in the paranormal, you have to make a stop at Brossman's. You never know who or what you might see.
Brossman’s Bar is located at 3241 Co Hwy H, Franksville, WI 53126. You can find out more about the bar and see more fabulous historical photographs on their
If you love visiting historic Wisconsin spots, check out these restaurants that are all more than 100 years old. Address: 3241 Co Hwy H, Franksville, WI 53126, USA