One Tank Getaway to Potosi, Wis. - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

One Tank Getaway to Potosi, Wis.


Potosi is a Grant County, Wis. village right off the Mississippi River and rich in history. It's also has more than one national claim to fame.

With a population of about 700 people, Potosi is nowhere near the size of Madison, but it is known as Wisconsin's Catfish Capital, and decades ago, Ripley's Believe It or Not declared it home to the world's longest Main Street without an intersection.

Travel along that uninterrupted Main Street, and you'll eventually come to the historic Potosi Brewery.

"There's an outdoor eating area and beer garden, there's a first-class restaurant," Potosi village president Frank Fiorenza said. He's also on the Potosi Brewing Foundation board of directors.

"There's an interpretive center for the Great River Road, a Potosi Brewery Transportation Museum - which is connected with the interpretive center, and that kind of shows the history of the brewery through the various modes of transportation," Fiorenza said, "and then we have the National Brewery Museum, which we're very proud to have."

The National Brewery Museum came to Potosi amid fierce competition.

"I know Milwaukee and St. Louis wanted it, at one time, Duluth, Minnesota was interested in it," Fiorenza said.

The brewery dates back to 1852 and even survived Prohibition, but it fell to near-ruin after closing in 1972.

"This looked like a bombed-out building in a war-torn country," Fiorenza said, gesturing around the now-refurbished space.

Potosi and surrounding communities worked to restore it, and the brewery re-opened in June of 2008 as a non-profit brewery.

"The whole restoration of this brewery was connected to revitalizing a community," Fiorenza said.

Steve Buszka is the brewmaster here.

"You know, they're not only coming here for the beer, but they're coming here for the history of the brewery," he said. "When you walk in, the walls you walk into from the bar are from 1852, so it's a historic brewery, and the beer's pretty good, too."

"I, myself, don't drink a lot whole of beer myself," Potosi-Tennyson Chamber of Commerce president Marilyn Hauth said, standing on Main Street. "But they do have root beer here, so that's another thing the brewery makes, is good root beer."

She said nature attracts many people to the Potosi area.

"Fishing," Hauth listed. "Swimming, boating, biking around here, hiking."

"I like to say that we're kissed by the river and caressed by the bluffs," Fiorenza said.

There are several places to stay in Potosi, for those who want to turn a day trip into a weekend getaway. There's the Potosi Inn on North Main Street, Pine Point Lodge for cabin fans and the Grant River Recreation Area.

"They have a boat launch out there. There are 73 sites that people can camp on, and it's very relaxing out there," Hauth said.

The Potosi Recreation Area gets people up close and personal with the Mighty Mississippi.

People can travel the river, Main Street or on a journey to the past.

"If you're interested in history, this is the place to be, because this is where people came, early," Potosi Township Historical Society member Kathleen Wolfe said.

At the Passage Thru Time Museum on Main Street, people can see the brewing and mining traditions that helped form the area.

"They mined here until after the Civil War," Wolfe said.

Among many other things, the museum has mining artifacts and old family records.

"We have Potosi township early record books here," Wolfe said. "We're very proud of our research area. We have a lot of people that do come here to do family research."

Potosi is just 20 miles from Dubuque, about 90 miles from Cedar Rapids and from both Waterloo and Iowa City it's just over 100 miles, making a trip to Potosi an ideal one-tank getaway.

Some big events are coming up this summer in Potosi.

The weekend of August 12-14 is the annual Potosi Firemen's Catfish Festival and Fish Fry.

Saturday, August 27 is the third annual Port of Potosi Brewfest, with breweries from all over the tri states area.

See the links on the left or click HERE for more details.

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