October 18, 2008 was a beautiful, sunny Fall afternoon when 75 people gathered at Schenk's Corners to dedicate an historical marker honoring the Frank J. Hess & Sons Cooperage. Jim and Gary Hess, grandsons of the founder, conducted a moving dedication ceremony at 2 pm in front of the marker located at the intersection of Atwood Ave. and Winnebago Street on Madison's near east side.
The two-sided marker with the addition of two photo plates was created to remember Frank J. Hess and his four sons: Joe, Eddie, Frank Jr. or "Foots" and Tony and their sister Josephine, the business manager, who worked for 62 years (1904-1966) making quarter sawn white oak beer, whisky and wine barrels. When the cooperage closed it was the last independent cooperage manufacturing wooden beer kegs in the nation. In 1904 Henry Fauerbach of the Fauerbach Brewery persuaded Frank Hess to come to Madison. Now that Fauerbach beer is being made again, the dedication ceremony featured Fauerbach beer courtesy of Henry Fauerbach's descendant Peter Fauerbach.
The marker was funded primarily by the Madison Home Brewers and Tasters Guild. The Dane County Historical Society sponsored the marker, making it one of their 45 historical markers located throughout the county. The Historic Blooming Grove Historical Society helped Gary & Jim Hess navigate the city bureaucracy to get the marker placed near the original site of the cooperage.