(2/17/14) The history of the Frank J. Hess and Sons Cooperage (barrel maker) factory will be presented at the Black River Falls Public Library on Saturday, March 8.
The presentation will begin at 1 p.m. and is co-sponsored by the library and the Jackson County Historical Society. Presenters will be two of Frank's grandsons, Gary and Jim Hess. A display of various tools and barrels will highlight the presentation.
The Frank J. Hess and Sons Cooperage became Wisconsin's largest independent family-owned cooperage, manufacturing quarter-sawn white oak beer, wine, and whiskey barrels in Madison, Wisconsin. Barrels were manufactured and repaired for various breweries throughout Wisconsin and numerous other states, including the Oderbolz Brewery in Black River Falls. At its peak, the cooperage could manufacture forty barrels a day. When it closed in 1966, it was the last factory in America that manufactured white oak beer kegs.
For more information on the presentation, which will be held in the Program Room of the Black River Falls Public Library, 222 Fillmore Street, Black River Falls, contact Library Director Tammy Peasley or Historian Mary I. Woods at 715-284-4112.