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.


  1. yes there is a tunnel from 1222 Race that goes out under Baldwin alley, that apparently once went to the extended brewery operations where the Sun Building is now, The tunnel only goes a few feet now as it is blocked-up. There is also a deep sub-basement that was for beer storage.

    When we were rehabbing we found coat check tickets written in German between the floor boards.

  2. Wow, CityKin - I had no idea that you owned this building. It's great to see that it has been rehabbbed into some great lofts.

    I hope you learned some more about your building!

  3. I'd love to know anything you could find about Lackman Brewery. My wife's great grandfather Edward Bronner was brewmaster there in the old days.

    1. This is a great site with information about the brewery.

  4. Thank you very much for your research! I am actually a personal descendant of Heinrich "Henry" Klinckhamer myself and my family sure does appreciate your historic efforts. We were happy to find this blog post while digging more into our family's brewing roots. I can actually fill in a few gaps. Henry was born Aug. 28, 1825 in Osnabrücker, Landkreis Germany and died Oct. 1, 1888 Hamilton County Ohio, USA. His funeral service was held at St. Francis DeSales and was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Evanston off of Duck Creek Rd. His headstone is actually quite impressive as it includes a bust of his likening! In Park Brewery's hay day they actually did quite well in the city bolstering their status as 13th highest in beer sales in 1877 (16,388 keg barrels that year). In 1895, sibling and current owner John Klinckhamer had grown tired of the brewing business and decided to sell the business to The Gerke Company, however this did not include the real estate. On Feb, 26th 1899 it was announced that the property would be razed to make for for the 6 story "Klinckhamer Flats" at the cost of $40,000. I can go on and on but I'd be here for a while. To this day, our family still possesses trinkets, photos, newspaper clippings, and genealogy records. Let me know if there is any more information to find out there on Park Brewery!

  5. 1222 Race was the location of my former restaurant... It is a fabulous building, with two very tall stone basements, and, yes, tunnels to the alley.


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