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This German lager saloon closed 154 years ago – but could serve beer again soon

When you walk in, it'll be like you were transported back to the 19th Century.

A former pre-Civil War era saloon in St. Paul is going to be a brewery, but it needs some help to get there.

Tom Schroeder bought the building at 445 Smith Ave. in 2008, saving it from demolition, according to a Kickstarter campaign. After doing a bunch of research, he discovered a man named Anthony Waldmann had opened a German lager saloon there way back in 1857.

And now, 154 years after that saloon closed, Schroder hopes to reopen the building as a brewery, lager house and wurstery named after Waldmann. The goal of Waldmann Brewery and Wurstery is to not only save and restore a historic building, but to give people a look at what life was like before Prohibition.

Schroeder says it's the oldest surviving commercial building in St. Paul.

The brewery will pour classic German lagers brewed on site, and serve German-inspired, locally sourced foods including sausages. Inside the brewery, visitors will sit on period furniture next to wood stoves, and much of the space will be lit by 19th Century lamps.

He needs help to get it into shape

The brewery is slated to open this fall, but the space still needs a little more work. Which is why Schroeder is hoping to raise $45,000 in the next 30 days.

“In order to do this right, we need to pay attention to the details all the way through to completion,” Schroeder told Twin Cities Business. “The historic nature of the building, its position on solid bedrock and its construction of solid bedrock makes this inherently much more expensive than any other build-out.”

The money will go to fund additional restoration work inside the building, including repairing and reinstalling the original 1850s woodwork, patching and relaying pine flooring, and building doors to match the original ones that survived the last 150 years, according to the Kickstarter campaign.

There's a Kickstarter launch party at the Waldmann Thursday at 7:30 p.m., where people can get a look at the future brewery. If you'd like to donate, click here.

For more on all the work Schroeder is doing to restore the building, watch the video below.

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