Prime Focus

The Carriage Works Bldg

& Rock County Brewing Co.

Story by Teresa Nguyen

May, 2020

“Being downtown, we’re in the historic heart of Janesville. And I like to believe we help give people a greater sense of pride in this city.”  ~ Andy Walker

The old Carriage Works Building and Rock County Brewing Company
The Early Years
During the late 1800’s, two competing companies, the Janesville Carriage Works and Wisconsin Carriage Company, dominated carriage and wagon manufacturing in Janesville. Our city was known as a center for the carriage and harness industry!
Janesville Carriage Works
By 1876, Hodge and Buchholz was the largest horse-drawn vehicle manufacturer in Janesville, employing between 15 and 20 workers. By 1886, after Hodge's death, Buchholz continued as president, constructing a larger, three-story, cream city brick factory building at 201-203 E. Milwaukee St.
 
The building was designed as an Italianate styled industrial building featuring a rectangular shaped plan configuration, a stone foundation, cream brick and cararra glassed exterior, wood and stone trim, and a ceramic tiled flat roof.
In 1893, the business became the Janesville Carriage Works, manufacturing carriages, omnibuses, wagonettes and even hearses!
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Carriage Works Building logo on the north exterior of the building

They also built custom milk, bakery, and other specialty wagons that were sold throughout the United States and in Germany, Scotland and India! 

 

Additional Businesses

 

1919, General Motors Corporation purchased Janesville Carriage Works, and for a time, Samson Tractor engineering occupied the factory building. 

1885 Ad for Carriage Works Co.jpg
1885 Carriage Works Ad
The Buchholz family, though, remained in the carriage manufacturing business for another 15 years.
 
Though that carriage business is long gone, this stately downtown corner building remains and houses various professional offices such as SASid Insurance Development, Baird Financial Advisors, as well as the popular hangout, Rock County Brewing Co.
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The Carriage Works Building in 1975
The building was listed on the National Historic Register in February of 1980.

Rock County Brewing Company

In January of 2017, Rock County Brewing Co. opened its doors to serve the public. It is co-owned by four individuals who are all collaborative brew masters. It’s a perfect fit in its downtown setting, bringing a kind of big city brewery feel to the charm of our close-knit community. 
The popularity of Rock County Brewing reveals a unique appeal with a friendly staff and tasty drinks & treats. In ‘normal times’ one can also enjoy live, local entertainment in their large, open brick walled room.
The entrance to Rock County Brewing Company
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Hayraker Red IPA
The simplicity of the décor, including its heavy wood counter tops give this favorite local establishment an inviting, rustic, Wisconsin atmosphere.

In a 2017 interview with The Janesville Gazette, Co-Owner, Andy Walker, remarked, “Being downtown, we’re in the historic heart of Janesville. And I like to believe we help give people a greater sense of pride in this city.” 
The nano-brewing company specializes in hand-crafted brews in small batches. Each of their original beers are unique and flavorful, a draw for craft beer lovers everywhere! The beers range from their full-bodied Vanilla Milk Stout to a lighter, citrusy Saison to the fruity flavored Hayraker Red IPA.
During the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, Rock County Brewing Co. began allowing pre-orders/reservations of Crowlers to be picked up during their afternoon hours of 5-7 pm at Rock County Brewing Co. Follow the company on Facebook for updates! 

Visit their website to order and browse their varieties: www.rockcountybrewingco.com/merch
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Rock County Brewing Crowler.jpg
Sources:
rockcountybrewingco.com
wisconsinhistory.org
State of Wisconsin Digital Collections 
www.newspapers.com
thesqueakycurd.com
Rock County Brewing Company Crowler (32 oz can)