Monday, April 30, 2012

More on The Christian Moerlein Brewing Company

Well, it's finals week at Xavier University, where I am taking classes to finish my bachelor degree. In order to have time to study, this week's post is a continuation of last week. I had so much information on the Christian Moerlein Company and the buildings I couldn't fit it into one post!

Before the "barrel" bottling house was built between 1891 and 1905, there once stood a bath house, next door to the Elm Street Club House.

1891 Sanborn Insurance - Source
Well it appears from this ad that Christian Moerlein had an interest in the bath house, where sulpho-saline water was promoted. In Robert J. Wimberg's book, Cincinnati Breweries, he says:
Moerlein had a well 2480 feet deep which produced 300 gallons of water per minute. It was the deepest artesian  boring in the city. The water was strongly impregnated with sulphur. It was used for washing bottles and equipment and for cooling purposes. Moerlein also had an 800 foot well which produced water that was potable and less odoriferous.
I also came across this advertisement from 1912, which was after the new bottling plant was built at the southeast corner of Elm and Henry Streets.
You can see the bottling plant next to the "barrel" house.

This next advertisement is from 1920, when Prohibition caused The Christian Moerlein Brewing Company to close and sell off the equipment:

The following are a series of images taken from the CAGIS maps, to show the changes in the barrel house building from the fire in 2010.
2009 CAGIS

2010 CAGIS

2011 CAGIS
What appears to be "louvers" on the roofs are sawtooth skylights.
1904-1930 Sanborn Insurance - Source
I hope you have enjoyed a bit more Moerlein history. I will be back next week with another "dig".

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The "Old" Christian Moerlein Brewing Company - What Still Exists

The Cincinnati Enquirer ran had an article about the location of the maintenance facility for the streetcars. When the author wrote about the location, Henry Street, between Race and Elm, I knew the location sounded familiar. This was once part of the massive Christian Moerlein Brewing Company complex.
Christian Moerlein
First, a bit of history about Christian Moerlein, the man, courtesy of the Moerlein family website:
Born on May 13, 1818 in Truppach, Bavaria, died on May 14, 1897 in Cincinnati, Ohio, buried at Spring Grove Cemetery
Christian Moerlein immigrated to the United States in 1841. He eventually settled in Cincinnati.  Along the way, Christian worked as a cellar digger, blacksmith and eventually a beer brewing master.  In 1853, Christian established a brewery on Elm St. in the Over-the-Rhine area of Cincinnati.  At the time, the Over-the-Rhine area of Cincinnati was predominantly a German neighborhood. The brewery, the Christian Moerlein Brewing Company, became the 13th largest brewery in the nation prior to Prohibition.  It was also the most prominent brewery in Cincinnati.

Christian was a generous man.  He befriended many throughout his life.
I started my research by checking my two books I own on Over-the-Rhine. I pride myself on accuracy and verifying information in modern books against "primary sources" - books and other information that were written at the time I am studying. Well, this one was quite a challenge! I found multiple errors in the books when compared with the city directories and maps.

Let's start with the actual brewery. One book states the brewery had always been on the east side of Elm Street, where Mr. Moerlein had turned his blacksmith location into a brewery. This is simply not true. In the 1855 Williams' City Directory, I found the following entry:
Moerlein Christ. (M. & Wendrich,)
Moerlein & Wendrick, (Chris. M. & Conrad W.) brewery, Brown b. Dunlap & Smith
Clearly, this is not on Elm Street. In 1860, the brewery was on Elm but on the west side, at 721 Elm (modern day 2019 Elm). This location did eventually become the office for the brewery once the brewing complex was built on the east side of Elm around 1868, as seen above.

The brewery stables were mentioned in one book and on websites as still existing where Henry and Branch Streets meet. This is inaccurate. 
Moerlein Stables? - Nope (Source)

1891 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
On the map above, all buildings outlined in green were part of Christian Moerlein Brewing Company. The building outlined in red is what some identified as the brewery stables. In this 1891 map, it is labeled "A.H. Knorr, Ice House (basement), Storage (above). The portion facing Henry Street says "Wagon Ho. 1st, Hay Loft 2nd. The true Moerlein stables were at the corner of Dunlap and Henry Streets (and is labeled above as Moerleins Brewery Stables) and was demolished in 1997.
The actual stables. - Source
The home at 2017 Elm Street (formerly 709 Elm) was reported by one author to have been built in 1864 for Christian Moerlein. This information is not entirely accurate. According the the city directories, Mr. Moerlein lived on the west side of Elm at 719, right next door to his brewery until 1860, when he moved directly across the street to 720 Elm. He then moved to this home on Mulberry Street in 1871 and then to Ohio Avenue in Clifton in 1882.
Jacob Moerlein's House - Source

The home at 2017 Elm Street was actually built around 1880 for Christian Moerlein's son, Jacob Moerlein and his family. He lived at this residence until his death in 1912.
1904 Sanborn Insurance Map. Moerlein properties outlined in blue. - Source
The bottling plant at the southeast corner of Henry and Elm was built after 1910, not 1895, on the same site as an older building used for bottling and wagon storage. Right next door is the barrel house at present-day 1910 Elm Street, reportedly built in 1870, but it was actually built between 1891 and 1904 as a bottling works and storage facility. Between the "old" bottling works building and the "barrel" house, there once stood the Elm Street Club House, apparently owned by Moerlein, which had a bowling alley, billiard hall, saloon and "club rooms".
1910 photo of the old bottling works, Elm Street Club House and Moerlein Barrel House - Source

In 2010, there was a fire in the top floors of the "barrel" house. As a testimony to the excellent construction, the building withstood the fire, was not demolished and has since been repaired. In 2013, Rhinegeist Brewery (a nice German interpretation of "spirit of the Rhine") opened at 1910 Elm Street, bringing brewing and bottling back to the building.
2010 fire at the barrel house building - Source


Today, there also remains the "ice house" from the Moerlein plant, near the corner of Henry and Race, recorded in both books as being built in 1876. But when I took a closer look at the maps, this building does not show on the 1891 map and does on the 1904 one and is not an ice house. It is shown to be a fire proof (except for the attic and roof) cold storage stock house. The actual ice house was on the other side of old Pleasant Street and no longer exists.
Stock house, not ice house - Source
Two things that are somewhat accurate. The Moerlein office building is at 2019 Elm and was built around 1873 and added onto around 1904.
Moerlein Office - Google Street View
 The malt house is at present-day 2025 Elm and is shown on the 1891 map.
Malt House - Google Street View
Unfortunately, The Christian Moerlein Brewing Company fell victim to Prohibition and closed in 1920. By 1930, some buildings were already demolished. The remaining parts of the main brewery building became the Big Three Storage Company.. A. Nash Tailoring Company had taken over the stock house, bottling plant and barrel house. Rollman and Sons Company occupied the now-demolished stables and Smith and Johnson Manufacturing was in the former malt house.
1904-1930 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Let's recap what remains:
1910 Elm Street - "Barrel" House (built between 1891 and 1904), part now occupied by Rhinegeist
1916 Elm Street - Bottling Plant (built after 1910)
2017 Elm Street - Jacob Moerlein's Home (built around 1880)
2019 Elm Street - Moerlein Offices (built around 1873, addition in 1904)
2025 Elm Street - Malt House (built before 1891)
114 Henry Street - Stock House (built between 1891 and 1904)

This is amazing to me, especially since so many other buildings are no longer with us in Over-the-Rhine. Luckily, we have Greg Hardman with the re-established Christian Moerlein Brewing Company, continuing the Cincinnati beer brewing heritage and groups like the Over-the-Rhine Brewery District, working to preserve and redevelop the area where so many breweries had their businesses flourish long ago. If you would like to know more about Moerlein and the other breweries, take a tour!

This article was last updated on February 21, 2014.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Is There a Doctor in the House?

Well, there used to be a doctor in the house of one of my next subjects. I found these two homes on an Elm Street walk, just north of Music Hall and Washington Park.
1414 Elm (center) and 1416 Elm (left)
I thought it was curious that this white house was seemingly "stuck" between two Italianate buildings. Let's start with some maps:
1887 Sanborn Map - Source
1416 Elm began its life as 478 Elm. If you notice in the map above, 476 Elm does not yet exist in 1887. The map below shows it had not been built by 1891.
1891 Sanborn Map - Source
This is a good way to date a building and verify if the year built dates the County Auditor has are accurate - to check the maps and see if the basic structure we see today existed at the time of the older maps. The Auditor had no year built for 1416 Elm but we can clearly see it was built before 1887. For 1414 Elm, the year built was 1900, which seems pretty accurate in this case.
1904-1930 Sanborn Map - Source
In the above map, you can now see how 1414 Elm was "wedged" into the space between 1412 and 1416. So who owned this home? Well it's a bit of a complicated story. Try to follow along...

It appears that 1416 Elm was built around 1862 for Charles Jacob, Jr., a partner in a business of meat packing, produce and merchants. He was the Mayor of Cincinnati from 1879 to 1881. I found this wonderful biography of Mr. Jacob, who is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery:

A native of Glan-Munchweiler, Germany, he emigrated to the United States to apprentice as a butcher in his uncle's shop. He eventually took over the business, expanded, and then helped to found the German Banking Company. He later became a modest railroad promoter and a member of the Police Advisory Board. He quelled a riot in a German neighborhood and soon became very popular among the large German population in Cincinnati. A Republican, he was elected Mayor of Cincinnati and served from 1879 to 1881. As Mayor, he proclaimed that October 9th was to be Museum Day and treated as a holiday when the Cincinnati Art Museum opened in 1880. He died at his residence in Cincinnati when he was 78 years old. - Source
After Mr. Jacob's death, George F. Sudhoff, a doctor, owned the home.  Dr. Sudhoff decided around 1900 to build his own home on the vacant lot next door. He even had his initial put above the front door of 1414 Elm Street.
Source - Author
Dr. Sudhoff sold his prior home at 1416 Elm Street to his brother-in-law, Henry F. Schlueter, who was married to Dr. Sudhoff's wife's sister (I told you this got confusing!). Mr. Schlueter was listed in 1900 as the vice-president of The Norwood Bicycle Company, whose offices were on Plum Street but then owned his own dry goods store by 1910. He also had a tenant in his home, a barber by the name of George Scheid and his family.

Dr. Sudhoff unfortunately did not get to enjoy his new home for long since he passed away in 1906 from consumption, today known as tuberculosis:
The sad death is announced of Dr. George T. Sudhoff, after a long illness, of consumption. Dr. Sudhoff was a graduate of Miami Medical College, class of 1889, and served a year as interne to the Cincinnati Hospital, on leaving which institution he began the practice of his profession in Cincinnati. He has served his alma mater in various capacities, but will be remembered by the large number of students he so successfully taught for his faithful and painstaking work as Demonstrator of Histology. Finally, however, on account of failing health, he was compelled to sever his college connections and then to give up the large and lucrative practice, that had naturally gravitated to so excellent a clinician, and seek a respite in another and more equable climate. All in vain, and he at last returned home, preferring to meet his end among his family and friends. Dr. Sudhoff was an excellent teacher, a conscientious physician, and, above all, a good man, and as such will be sincerely mourned by all who knew him. - Source
By 1910, 1414 Elm had been turned into a tenement with at least 11 people living there including three actors/actresses, an artist and a musician, Jean Hausknect, who played with the Cincinnati Symphony and the New York Philharmonic.
1930 US Census - Source
The Schlueter family remained at 1416 Elm through the 1910's, while renting space to other families. By 1920, the home had become a rental property with an undertaking business run in the rear portion. In 1930, Theo Westerhoff, a lawyer, and his wife, Sarah, who is listed as providing furnished rooms owned 1414 Elm. 1416 Elm was also a rooming house in the same year.

1940 US Census - Source
By 1940, the Westerhoff's had moved on to another home and Gustav Prohaska, from Germany, owned 1414 Elm and was providing furnished rooms to people who were born in Ohio, Kentucky, Lithuania, and Hungary.

Rear of 1414 Elm (center) and a small portion of 1416 Elm (right) where you can see the gaping hole in the brick on the third floor. The front of 1416 Elm has also lost its cornice at the top since the auditor's 2008 photo. Source - Author
3CDC currently owns both of these buildings. Their future is not currently known, but work has begun across the street at 1405 Elm as part of the City Home development, and at 1401 Elm, where four residential units and 1,549 of commercial space will be available.
1405 Elm prospective sketch - Source - 3CDC

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Tale of a Tailor

I spent this past Saturday, walking around the Findlay Market area of Over-the-Rhine, checking out buildings. There are almost too many to document and research! But this one in particular caught my eye:
Source - Digging Cincinnati History
I just love the detail over the windows and the iron fence in front! This home is at 24 Findlay Street, facing the New Findlay Playground, which was once the home of the 13th District School and after, Webster Public School, built in 1898.
So who built this single family beauty? As my title suggests, it was a tailor by the name of Jacob Dorse. He was born April 16, 1843 in Alsace, Germany. He arrived in Cincinnati before 1854, and began to live at what was then 22 Findlay Street in 1862 with his wife, Anna Maria Buehler Dorse, who was also born in Germany in 1833. To this marriage was born:
Jacob Dorse – b. 15 Mar 1854, Cinti, OH; d. 20 Mar 1918, Cinti, OH
Kate Dorse – b. 20 Sep 1856, Cinti, OH; d. 11 Jul 1857, Cinti, OH, diarrhea
Edward Dorse – b. 1 Dec 1858, Cinti, OH; d. 20 Dec 1858, Cinti, OH, inability
Louisa Dorse – b. 1861, Cinti, OH; d. 10 Mar 1931, Bellevue, KY
Katherine Dorse – b. 4 Feb 1863, Cinti, OH; d. 4 Jan 1939, Bellevue, KY
William Dorse – b. 9 Aug 1865, Cinti, OH; d. 16 Sep 1867, Cinti, OH, diphtheria
William Dorse – b. 31 Jul 1868, Cinti, OH; d. 25 Oct 1878, Cinti, OH, scarlet fever
Edward Dorse – b. Jan 1871, Cinti, OH; d. 9 Jul 1871, Cinti, OH, cholera infantum
Mary Dorse – b. 30 Jul 1873, Cinti, OH; d. 17 Jun 1946, Bellevue, KY
Albert E. Dorse – b. 6 Aug 1875, Cinti, OH; d. 3 Nov 1935 Bellevue, KY

As you can see, 4 of their 10 children died before the age of 3 and another died at 10 of scarlet fever. Childhood death was a part of life during this period of history, when modern medical treatments were unknown.
1891 Sanborn Map - Source
Jacob Dorse, Sr, was enlisted in the Company B, Ohio 8th Infantry Regiment on 03 Sep 1862 for the Civil War, but he was mustered out on 03 Oct 1862, just one month later! He was listed as a tailor in the city directories from 1862 until his death in 1895. His wife also died in the same year and the home was transferred to their unmarried daughters, Louisa, Katherine and Mary. They continued to live here until they moved into their brother Jacob Jr's home around 1905. In the same year, Albert moved to 24 Findlay Street until approximately 1912. So this home stayed in the Dorse family for 50 years!
1904-1930 Sanborn Map - Source
From 1912 to  1935, it became the home of Gustav Richter, who was a driver for a merchant. In 1935, the Cafazo family was living here, once again showing the transition from German immigrants to those from other regions of Europe. 
1940 Census - Source
You can see in the 1940 Census above that 24 Findlay Street had become a multi-family building with 7 people living there, all listed as renters. They were born in Russia, Kentucky, Ohio and England. A great American melting pot in one home!

As of 2003, this home is owned by the City of Cincinnati. It is about a half of a block from the streetcar route and Findlay Market. If anyone knows the city's plan for this home, please let us know.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Livery and Undertaking

I came across this week's property last December, when I was doing some research for the North of Liberty Facebook page owner. I saw this picture on the page:
The logo above the door caught my eye and I wanted to know more. I looked at the old maps and saw in 1891 it was George Meyer, Undertaker. But I wanted to know just how long Mr. Meyer had been at that location, what had been 664-666 Vine Street, today known as 1804 Vine, near the point made by Vine Street and East McMicken.
1891 Sanborn Map - Source

I got back as far as 1866, when Joseph Schreiber owned a livery and stable business here. In 1870, he was joined by William Gerstle and Henry Noewer, now listed as undertakers. The business transferred hands a few times until 1880, when George Meyer took over the business.
Vine Street Side
 The following is from the 1887 Williams City Directory:

MEYER GEORGE, Proprietor Vine Street Livery Stable; Undertaker; Horses kept by the day. week or meal, 664 and 666 Vine and 129 and 131 McMicken Av.; Residence 666 Vine
As you can imagine, the livery business eventually went out of style with the invention of the automobile, but the Meyer family hung onto the undertaking business. After George Meyer passed away, his son George and grandson Charles took over the business. It remained at this location until sometime after WWII when the business was moved to Montgomery Road in Pleasant Ridge and then later to Section Avenue.
 By 1950, the Vine Street location was purchased by the Radel family, in the funeral and undertaking business since 1878. By 1956, it was sold and eventually became the House of God Chapel until 1990. Ownership has changed hands quite a few times since then and was last sold in 2011 for just $10,000.

As for the logo over the door on the rear entrance on McMicken Street?
It appears to have a M and a S - Meyer Stables. Still there after all these years.