This article was last modified on August 26, 2019.


Milwaukee’s “Liquor King,” Joseph Anton Budar (1882-1956).

Born February 9, 1882 in Milwaukee to Joseph Budar and Barbara Waylaw(or Waxlaw, Waclaw, etc), Bohemian immigrants.

September 28, 1904: married in Milwaukee to Annie Dierbeck, daughter of Magdalene Unges and George Dierbeck.

October 21, 1904: granted a liquor license in Milwaukee.

June 8, 1905: convicted of selling liquor to minors.

A mysterious occurrence happened at Budar’s Main Street hotel in November 1906. A man arrived, dressed neatly, and said his name was J. Eagen. He was known casually around Racine as a salesman of “beer pipe cleaners.” Eagen asked Budar to cash a check from the Rhinelander Brewing Company, which he did. The only thing suspicious about it was the endorsement was by “C. Odenbaugh” rather than Eagen, but a signature was good enough for Budar. Further cementing the belief that everything was in order, Eagen stayed on at the hotel for three days. However, after Eagen checked out, Budar received word that the check was a forgery and he had been swindled. Stranger still, Eagen forgot to take his suitcase with him when he left. The check was a relatively small amount and Budar did not seem to be overly upset.

In March 1910, Budar was managing boxer Young Mahoney. He arranged for Mahoney to travel by Pullman car throughout the west for five months, putting on boxing shows wherever he went. The train carried with it a tent big enough to hold 1,000 people in case proper arena venues could not be found. Pullman was a sponsor of manager Bert Little, who Budar was good friends with, though always in competition — Little managed the far more famous Jack Johnson.

1918: was a hotel proprietor, with the hotel being at 147 3rd Street. He lived with his wife at 652 15th Street. The draft board noted he had brown hair, brown eyes and was stout in weight.

Takach: “After federal indictment, near-bankruptcy and a sensational divorce, manager Joseph Budar had seen and heard enough. At sunset on Oct. 8, 1931, the St. Charles Hotel went dark again. Budar assumed management of the Royal Hotel (435 W. Michigan St.) and took most of his staff and residents with him. A caravan procession ensued as guests dragged their trunks, luggage and furniture down Water and Michigan Streets to their new home.”

In May 1932, the St. Charles was ordered demolished by its owners, Herman Pereles and Walter Kauwertz. Eventually in its place would be the M&I (later BMO) building. The current address is 786 North Water (at the corner of Water and Wells).

Takach, continued: “Only five years old, the Royal Hotel was already a girl down on her luck when the Budar caravan showed up. Almost immediately, gays and lesbians began to gather at the Royal Hotel Bar and CafĂ©, taking advantage of the open, accepting atmosphere once found in St. Charles Hotel hotel rooms. Hotel management openly supported anyone arrested for morals or misconduct charges. The bar remained popular through the 1970s, when it was known as the Stud Club (1971) and Michelle’s/Club 546 (1972). The run-down hotel was finally flattened in 1974, but not before a closing party where guests received keys to their most memorable rooms as parting gifts. Some Milwaukeeans still hold these keys today. Assurant Health headquarters (501 W. Michigan St.) sits on the former footprint of the Royal Hotel.”

September 10, 1956: died in Chicago and buried in Blue Island. A the time of death, his occupation was given as “watchman.”

Also try another article under Organized Crime
or another one of the writings of Gavin.

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