Milwaukee

Hungover? Quaff-Aid to the rescue!

This tired old three-story building at 3456 N. Buffum in Milwaukee housed many different businesses in its century of use, from coffin makers to fiberglass fabricators. But most notably it once housed a company marketing a popular hangover cure. Carl Swanson photo

This tired old building at 3456 N. Buffum in Milwaukee housed many different businesses in its century of use, from a coffin maker to a fiberglass fabricator. Sixty years ago it was also home to a company marketing a popular hangover cure. Carl Swanson photo

In March 2015 they demolished the abandoned three-story factory at 3456 N. Buffum St., in Milwaukee. In its 100 years the building saw many tenants come and go, including a feed and fertilizer dealer, an animal research laboratory, a chemical processor, a fiberglass fabricator, as well as firms manufacturing soap and plastics.

Sixty years ago, this was the birthplace of Quaff-Aid, hailed as a miracle cure for hangovers – until federal agents raided the place.

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Harambee gets a Superfund site

Vacant since 2008, this industrial building at 3456 N. Buffum St., at the northern end of the Beerline recreational trail contains a variety of hazardous substances and will be cleaned-up under the EPA's Superfund program. Photo by Carl Swanson

Vacant since 2008, this industrial building at 3456 N. Buffum St., at the northern end of the Beer Line Recreational Trail contains a variety of hazardous substances and will be cleaned-up under the EPA’s Superfund program. Photo by Carl Swanson

The Environmental Protection Agency has determined hazardous waste inside a vacant industrial building at the northern end of the Beer Line recreational trail qualifies for a “time-critical removal action”  under the federal Superfund law.

The century-old three-story building at 3456 N. Buffum St., has seen many industrial uses over the years, everything from a casket maker to a company marketing a hangover remedy, but has been vacant since 2008 and is in an advanced state of disrepair.

The EPA inspected the property in early spring and its tests revealed a number of contaminants including lead, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlorinated solvents, waste oil, flammable and corrosive materials, and asbestos. Since the hazards are apparent and the property owner is unable to conduct the necessary cleanup, the EPA has decided the building warrants a Superfund designation, clearing the way for immediate action funded by taxpayer money.

Starting June 11th, contractors will begin removing substances deemed an imminent threat to safety. The EPA believes the problems are confined to the interior of the building and said surrounding residents are not at risk. As a precaution, the EPA will monitor air samples throughout the two-month cleanup project to ensure residents are not exposed to harmful dust. Additionally, security guards will be on-site during non-working hours.

The EPA said residents can expect increased truck traffic on Keefe Avenue, Holton, and Buffum streets as well as the alleys that surround the property. Access to the Beer Line Trail next to the property may be restricted at times.

Note: A more recent post on this property, including details of what was found inside, is here.

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When Lincoln came to town

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A week after delivering a speech at the Wisconsin Agricultural Society fair in Milwaukee in September 1859, a beardless Abraham Lincoln posed for this portrait by Chicago photographer S.M. Fassett. Lincoln was elected president the following year (Library of Congress photo LC-USZ62-7727).

Before Abraham Lincoln became the 16th president of the United States, and before the bloody and prolonged war that kept it the United States, the citizens of Milwaukee had an opportunity to hear Abraham Lincoln speak and see for themselves the up-and-coming Illinois politician.

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