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Water Street officially loses its only silversmith

A simple two-story building with three windows in the top floor has a "For Sale" sign near the door.
Bobby Tanzilo / OnMilwaukee
A. Werner Silversmiths operated out of this building on Water Street since 1956.

For some time, A. Werner Silversmiths was the last bastion of a long-gone incarnation of Water Street — one before happy hours and late-night wings and pre-gaming before going to the Bradley Center/Fiserv Forum. It was Carl Fredrickson’s house in Up. It was ripe for Urban Spelunking.

Urban Spelunking: A. Werner Silversmiths Building

By this summer, it’ll succumb to the slow march of time and complete the area’s nightlife transition to 100% bars and restaurants. That became official Wednesday, when Steggeman Investments followed through on its promise to purchase the property, with the intention of opening a tavern.

The sale had been in the works for several months, following theJournal Sentinel’s report that Mike Steggeman planned to open Water Street University on the site located at 1241 N. Water St. The watering hole will be merely the latest incarnation of the structure, which — as OnMilwaukee’s Bobby Tanzilo discovered — dates back to at least 1891. In fact, its initial use appears to have been a tavern.

Steggeman will return it to that original purpose, telling the Journal Sentinel he hoped to convert the building in six months. The end result would have a capacity of 99 people and a two-tiered element in the back, with a second-story deck overlooking an outdoor bar area.

It’s been a dark time in general for people who like shiny things. Just last Friday, mall staple Things Remembered closed its doors at Brookfield Square, part of the chain’s decision to shut down all 133 stores in 24 states. Now, A. Werner Silversmiths joins them, giving those in need of a cool beverage this coming summer another option.

As for those in need of silver restoration services, check with your local jeweler.