Waukesha County was once considered for a new Milwaukee Brewers stadium

Land of lakes residents recently learned they will be recruiting an independent professional baseball team who will play in the American Professional Baseball Association league at a venue in Oconomowoc.

But in 1988, there was the possibility of having a different pro team: the Milwaukee Brewers.

Five Waukesha County sites were among 14 Milwaukee-area sites suggested by consultants as possible locations for a new stadium, according to a June 1988 Milwaukee Journal article. At the time, the county stadium was 35 years old. . the Greater Milwaukee Committee to investigate possible sites.

The Western Lakes Golf Club in Pewaukee had just opened in April 1988 but was considered a potential site by the committee. Another nearby site under study was Pabst Farms in Oconomowoc.

August Pabst, the owner of Pabst Farms, doubted the Brewers would play nearly 40 miles from Milwaukee.

“Would you really like to have a site this far west?” Pabst asked at the time.

Another potential site in Waukesha County – a little closer to Milwaukee – was the Westmoor Country Club in Brookfield. Thomas Kestly, the club’s president at the time, said he was shocked to hear the news and said “the idea is so far away.”

While the idea of ​​locating the stadium so far from Milwaukee County may have surprised many, it is not entirely unheard of in professional sports. In 2014, the San Francisco 49ers’ new home became Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, 40 miles south of San Francisco.

The Greater Milwaukee Committee proposed the 14 sites because they were at least 150 acres (or had enough existing parking space to make up the difference) and were close enough to the freeway system to “provide access. easy and a high profile for brewers ”.

Tim Tully, then mayor of New Berlin, did not believe that residents of his community would support the proposed New Berlin site on Moorland Road and Interstate 43.

A few months later, in July 1988, a public poll revealed that fans were in favor of a new stadium in the Menomonee Valley, east of County Stadium. Respondents also viewed a field site in Wauwatosa County favorably. Two sites at Oak Creek, one at Falk Park and another at Ryan Road and Interstate 94, were also considered.

Before the 14 venues were made public in June, Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist told the Milwaukee Journal in May 1988 that he preferred the new stadium to remain in Milwaukee County.

“I think the Brewers want to keep that Milwaukee identity,” Norquist said at the time. “They don’t want to be called the Wauwatosa Brewers.”

A year later, in 1989, the Milwaukee Journal reported that the Menomonee Valley site was the preferred site to land the new stadium.

But none of the ideas were exactly what the committee initially envisioned.

County Stadium closed in 2000, and Miller Park – now known as American Family Field – opened in 1996 and opened in 2001 on a site adjacent to County Stadium.

Decades later, Lake Country doesn’t have the Brewers, but history has come full circle, in a way, as the new independent professional baseball team will be at Pabst Farms on a 21-acre site directly at the West Wisconsin Harley-Davidson at the southwest corner of I-94 and Route 67.

Contact Evan Frank at (262) 361-9138 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @Evanfrank_LCP.

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