CURIOSITIES: Who is A. Schram?

It’s easy to miss it from street level as you walk through Baileys Harbor, your eyes pulled to the water behind the Harbor Fish Market, or down to the crowd at the coffee shop or the brewery. But if you pause to look up, you’ll see the name A. Schram embossed on the top of the facade of the Harbor Fish Market. 

But who is A. Schram?

Well, more than a century ago the building that has been known as the Harbor Fish Market since 1997 was known as Schram Hall, founded by an industrious young man named August Schram. Here in 1907 he began building a saloon and dance hall, opening with a masquerade ball on Feb. 8, 1908. Known as a wild place with bullet holes in the ceiling, it was popular enough to merit expansion to a second building next door a few years later. 

The name A. Schram has been on the top of the facade of one of Baileys Harbor’s tallest buildings since 1908, including during its era as The Frontier in the 1970s. Photo by Bill Tishler.

August and his wife Martha (née Kaczmarek) hosted dances, weddings and public meetings in their tavern, which remains one of the tallest buildings in town. August himself often played in a band in his dance hall. But Mr. Schram wouldn’t live to see the business mature. He died of sepsis from an infected tooth on April 22, 1918 at age 36.

Martha remarried John Wasserbach and renamed the bar Wasserbach’s Tap, continuing the dance hall and showing movies on Sunday nights until they died a month apart in 1963. 

In the 60 years since, the building has passed through four other owners: Harold and Dolores Kiehnau (1964 – 1984), who leased the bar to Lanny and Joni Nelson who operated it as The Frontier, Peter and Mary Charles (1984 – 1997), Karen and Carl Berndt (1997 – 2021), who changed the name to the Harbor Fish Market and Grille, and now Scott and Sarah Bennet. 

Though the name of the bar changed, the name at the top of the building remains high above Baileys Harbor’s Main Street. 

Learn more about August and Schram Hall in this video presentation from 2011.

Related Organizations