Incorporated in 1846, the young city of Milwaukee attracted settlers and businesses, continuing a trend of rapid population growth in the Midwest. Entrepreneurial spirit, hard work, and tenacity were necessary in order to be successful. The moving and storage industry cropped up during this time to meet the needs of arriving settlers and established residents.
There were only a few ways at that time to transport goods to Milwaukee, and from the transit depots to the residents and businesses. Goods and property arrived in the city primarily by rail or boat, and then were moved via horse and wagon to people's homes, businesses, and outlying areas. In the winter, sleighs were used to transport commodities throughout the city. As technology advanced, truck transport became increasingly common.
In 1870, Paul Kortsch opened for business. A pioneer in the growing business atmosphere of the young city, he started out meeting newcomers at the train depot and hauling their goods in a horse-drawn wagon. Those needing transportation services paid fifty cents per trunk.
The need for secure and convenient storage was in high demand in the 1910s due to the surge in apartment dwellers who had less room for their goods, and the development of the stately homes along the lakefront, Milwaukee’s Gold Coast. In 1912, he built a small brick warehouse on the site of what is now 2410 N. Farwell Avenue. Still owned by ABC Kortsch Moving and Storage Co., Inc.
In 1914, Paul Kortsch added to his growing business with the purchase of a retiring city firehouse at Bartlett Avenue and Irving Place. Formerly Truck Co. #5, this building retains its vintage appeal while continuing to serve as a warehouse facility for the company into the present. Built in 1886, this location was designed by Milwaukee Fire Captain Sebastian Brand and is considered a historical landmark. The warehouse is served by an elevator purchased from Schlitz Brewing Company, and has one of Milwaukee’s first freight elevator tags.
Paul Kortsch was active in SS. Peter and Paul Church, the community, with his neighbors, and with the residents whose belongings he’d stored or transported. When he died in 1921, Paul’s sons William and Michael Kortsch took over the business.
William Kortsch envisioned a grander future for the business his father started, and planned for our expansion. By the mid 1920s, the 2403 N. Maryland Avenue location was built as an addition to the original Farwell warehouse. The new warehouse was constructed in stages, starting with horse stables, which were later converted to house trucks, and are the present day location of our garages. The completed five-story art deco structure incorporated ground floor office and retail space and five levels of climate controlled warehouse storage. The first business to rent the ground floor was an indoor mini golf course, a huge fad in the 1920s.
William Kortsch led the company to success, despite the trials of the Depression, the boons of the World War II era, and the ups and downs of the subsequent decades. He served as President of ABC Kortsch Moving and Storage Co., Inc. for 40 years, retiring in 1961, and leaving the business in the care of his sons-in-law.
In 1985, Timothy Kortsch, great grandson of Paul Kortsch, purchased ABC Kortsch Moving and Storage Co., Inc. His extensive over the road trucking experience and transportation industry knowledge were an asset to the company. That same year, Peter Gaar joined ABC Kortsch Moving and Storage Co., Inc. as Tim's partner. Peter Gaar's experience in the moving industry and his managerial skills were a valuable asset. Under their leadership, the company reached new heights in quality customer service.
Between 1986 and 1999, ABC Kortsch Moving and Storage Co., Inc. became an agent for Global Van Lines. In 1999, we became independent once more, creating an opportunity to fulfill customer expectations and needs more liberally according to our own high standards of customer care and service.
Under Tim Kortsch and Peter Gaar’s management, the company grew and expanded. They developed our Secure Records Storage services, which serve area businesses. They also devoted themselves to perfecting solutions to the unique issues surrounding fine arts and antiques packing, moving, and storage. Tim designed a special storage area dedicated to the proper storage of wines, as well as innovating new procedures and equipment to further streamline our techniques.
Tim’s dedication to his trade, and his commitment to quality service delivered honestly continue to guide our company in the present. After Tim Kortsch passed away in May 2008, the company shifted into family hands once more. It is presently owned and operated by Peter Gaar and Geri Kortsch.
Our warehouse offers five levels of secure climate controlled storage space. We serve clients as varied as local marching bands, local rock bands, and area and international residents. At ABC Kortsch, we are proud of our ancestral legacy and honor it by serving the moving and storage needs of Milwaukee and the world with integrity.