Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Who is Klinckhamer?

I'm back after a long hiatus!

So I was poking around on Google Street Maps around the Washington Park area of Over-the Rhine. I turned the corner at Race and 13th Street. I noticed the building on the right had the name "Klinckhamer" over the doorway.

Source - Google Maps (cropped)

What a nice German sounding name! But who the heck is Klinckhamer? Off I went "digging"!

I went to the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. I started with the 1887 map and I found this:
1887 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map - Source

Wow! There was a brewery directly across from Washington Park. And a dance and beer hall right next door. I checked Google for any information on the Park Brewery and found this:


I checked the 1891 map for any changes:
1891 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map - Source

Well Mr. Niehaus is no longer part of the business, but it looks like Mr. Klinckhamer is doing well. He even took over the beer hall next door.

Another Google search came up with a great history of the Park Brewery and the stories of Mr. Niehaus and Mr. Klinckhamer:


Joseph Niehaus established an ale brewery on Woodward Street (13th) in 1850. Then in 1861 he moved it to the southwest comer of Race and 13th Streets. He and George Bach bought the Park Brewery with the purpose of producing lager beer which was already very popular in Cincinnati. Before long, Heinrich Klinckhamer bought Bach's share of the business to become Niehaus' partner. In 1869 Bernhard Kluemper was hired as the brewmaster of the Park Brewery. Ten years later he was one of the partners in the business.

In 1871 the brewery was the ninth largest in the city. The company also operated a bottling works on the same location. The Park Bottling Company bottled other brewers' beer.

Joseph Niehaus died in 1887. Heinrich Klinckhamer Sr. and his son Heinrich Jr., also a partner in the brewery, died in 1888. By 1891 the business was known as the Klinckhamer Brewing Company and was operated by Henry Wolf, president and Henry Niehaus, vice-president.

The company closed in 1896. The brewery was razed and the Klinckhamer Apartments was constructed on the site where it still stands.

This website also has more history of the brewery at Race and 13th -

So what's left today of these buildings? As stated above, the brewery is gone but the apartment building still bears the name of the Klinckhamer family. The building remained in the family until 1939. But the building containing the dance hall on the 3rd floor is at 1222 Race Street. The Hamilton County Auditor shows it was built in 1865. In 1890, it was called the Washington Park Hall.

1222 Race St - Courtesy of Hamilton County Auditor

Right next door at 1218 Race Street, the beer hall still stands but it was greatly altered to become an auto repair building. This building was built in 1880 according to the auditor and also remained in the Klinckhamer family until 1939.

1218 Race St - Courtesy of Hamilton County Auditor

This map shows the changes at Race and 13th by 1930:

Source - The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

I wonder if there are more brewing tunnels under these buildings like you can see on the Queen City Underground Tour?

I hope you enjoyed another bit of history of Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine. I am sure there are many more treasures to find. If there is something you would like to know, just leave me a comment.