126 Shelden Ave. Houghton MI 49931
Get directions

126 Shelden Avenue

Built in 1901 as a saloon
Bar retains original decor including Arts & Crafts chandeliers
Ambassador Restaurant since 1965

The building was believed to have held a “hole-in-the-wall” speakeasy during Prohibition. 

This two-story brick and stone building was built in 1901 as a saloon run by Napoleon Carpentier. In 1904 the Bosch Brewing Co. bought the building and it became a Bosch saloon, run by Henry Feldman. In 1965, Joseph “Chinko” Rossi and his wife, Marion, opened the Ambassador Restaurant – and introduced pizza to Houghton. A few years later, when Sears, Roebuck and Co. vacated the building’s western storefront, the Rossi’s expanded next door adding a second dining room. The Rossi family still manages the Ambassador Restaurant today. Then as now, the second-floor hosts residences.

Though the outside street level has been significantly altered with a brick entrance, many features of the old tap room are preserved in the eastern half of the building including stained glass windows, green glass Arts & Crafts style lighting fixtures, and an oak back bar. Mahogany framed hand-painted murals cover many of the walls and the frieze. According to research done by the current owners, the murals were commissioned by Joseph Bosch for his Bosch Brewing Company by an artist named Rohrbeck, possibly Franz Edward Rohrbeck, a German-born and Wisconsin-based mural artist. It is believed they were originally hung in the nearby the Gilt Edge Bar, removed and stored throughout Prohibition, and likely installed in the Ambassador in the mid-20th century. The oil-on-canvas murals depict bearded gnomes brewing and enjoying beer.


Sources: Copper Country Architects; Freeman, A. (1999a, March 19). Where do the dwarves drink their beer? The Daily Mining Gazette, p. 11.; Manninen. (n.d.). (rep.). A Brief History of the Ambassador Restaurant.; Image: Michigan Tech University Archives and Historical Collections MTU077-3a-02-14513-283-2

Hans T. Liebert
Herman Gundlach