Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Story of a Potter and His Buildings

This is the story of a potter and the two buildings which remain in Cincinnati that were part of his life.
312 Main Street - Courtesy of Tim Jeffries
As you may be able to decipher, this building on Main Street, just north of Third, has a monogram on the top. The letters are CEB, for Christian E. Brockmann, who, as the title suggests, was a potter. He was born in Germany, July 4, 1834 and arrived in Cincinnati around 1848. He founded and owned The Brockmann Pottery Company, which was located on Richmond Street in the West End but is no longer standing.
1891 Sanborn Insurance Map showing The Brockman Pottery Co on Richmond Street
While the pottery was made in the West End, it was sold in downtown, first at two other locations on Main Street. But in 1880, Brockmann had this building at present-day 312-314 Main Street built for his retail shop. The address then was 110-112 Main Street, before the city-wide street renumbering of 1895-1896.
312 Main Street is the building at center
Dating the building to 1880 was pretty easy, since Mr. Brockmann was kind enough to stick the date right on the building. I love it when they did this. It makes my job much easier!
Courtesy of Tim Jeffries
Over the years, Mr. Brockmann also sold other items at his store, as shown in the city directories.

BROCKMANN C . E . , Importer and Dealer in Crockery, Glass and China, Fancy Goods, Toys, &c, 110 and 112 Main; Residence Pleasant Ridge, O
110-112 Main Street - 1887 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
1891 Sanborn Map - Source
1904-1930 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
1904-1950 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
2013 CAGIS Map
The following description of the company is from Marks of American Potters, published in 1904.
Messrs Tempest, Brockmann & Co established a pottery in Cincinnati Ohio in 1862. In 1881 the name was changed to the Tempest, Brockmann & Sampson Pottery Co and in 1887 The Brockmann Pottery Co was organized by Mr C.E. Brockmann. The present products are cream and white granite wares. The earliest mark of this establishment was the English lion and unicorn with the T.B. & Co beneath. Since 1887 the same mark has been employed for C.C. ware with the letters B.P. Co.  On white granite the same device is used with the addition of words "Warranted Best Ironstone China". 
Marks from the book noted above.
And the store was described in Leading Manufacturers and Merchants of Cincinnati and Environs, published in 1886:
C. E. Brockmann, Importer of and Dealer in China, Glass, and Queens Ware, etc., Nos. 110 and 112 Main Street.—A prominent business house engaged in handling, both wholesale and retail, foreign and domestic manufactured crockery, glassware, and other kindred goods is that of Messrs. C. E. Brockmann... This is a five-story building, with a frontage of 24 feet and a depth of 100 feet. In addition to this, Mr. Brockmann occupies a four-story warehouse, 24x100 feet in dimensions, No. 15 Hammond street, rear of store on Main street. The salesrooms in the store are neatly fitted up, while the display of wares is particularly complete and choice, and the general stock is as large as the wares are rare and beautiful. All goods are of Mr. Brockmann's own importation or come direct from manufacturers. Special departments are here for pottery and glassware of English,  French, Dresden, Canton, Silesian, Japanese, and Faience manufacture; French, Bohemian, Baccarat, Crystal, English, and American, table glassware, queensware in great variety, silverplated ware, and a general line of necessary and fancy wares.
As for C.E. Brockmann, the following was written about him in 1904, in Centennial History of Cincinnati and Representative Citizens, by Charles Theodore Greve.
The death of Christian Brockmann at his handsome residence on Montgomery avenue, Pleasant Ridge, in the summer of 1903, removed one of the pioneer business men of Cincinnati. Mr. Brockmann was born in Germany, July 4, 1834, but had been a resident of this city since the age of 14 years.
While Mr. Brockmann was prominently associated with the various interests of Cincinnati, he will be best remembered by the business world as the founder and owner of The Brockmann Pottery Company, whose manufacturing plant is located on Richmond street, and whose retail establishment is at No. 312 Main street. His name was identified with many of the leading German institutions of the city, and he was always prominent in supporting their charities. His industry and perseverance, with consequent success, offer an example to those who follow in the paths already made smooth by the pioneers, of whom he was an example. Coming to Cincinnati a lad in 1848, he had little to depend upon except his own efforts, and that they were directed in the right direction is evidenced by the large estate he acquired and the honor and esteem in which he was universally held.
Mr. Brockmann married Josephine M. Ries, who still survives, with these children: Christian F., who is the manager of the Brockmann Pottery Company; Philip E.; Edward, who is connected with the pottery; Herbert W.; Mrs. I. Arnold, of Chicago; and Mrs. R. Ross Whiting, whose husband is a member of The Whiting View Company of Cincinnati.
While Mr. Brockmann had been in poor health for many months, his death was not expected, and came to his family and friends as a great calamity. It is hard to realize that one so kind and thoughtful, so necessary to the happiness of others, so useful in many avenues, should now be but a dear memory.
After his death, the store on Main Street closed, and from 1905 until 1918, The F.A. Schwill & Son Company had a retail store, selling glassware, hotel and restaurant china, and bottlers' supplies. In 1918, The Cincinnati Auto Specialty Manufacturing Company took over the building. They made various seat covers and other specialty parts for the emerging auto business.  
Ad from the Cincinnati Enquirer, May 28, 1919
Ad from the Cincinnati Enquirer, May 2, 1920
By 1930, The Main Supply Company was now in the building and they sold electrical supplies and in 1940, plumbing supplies. They remained owners of the building until 1946. It appears since then, it has been used for various retail establishments and possibly office and/or apartment rentals. It is currently owned by CBD Holdings, Inc., which is part of 3CDC. They were awarded historic tax credits to rehab this building along with 308-316 Main Street. Plans are for street-level retail and condominiums for the upper floors. 

But remember I said this was the story of two buildings? It just so happens that before Mr. Brockmann lived in Pleasant Ridge, he built another home at present-day 1418 Elm Street in Over-the-Rhine. 
1418 Elm Street at center - currently owned by OTR Holding, Inc.
After Mr. Brockmann moved his family to Pleasant Ridge, the Elm Street home became rental property, with various tenants over the years:
Fishwick Geo. T. salesman, 26 W. 4th, h. 480 Elm
Hervey Lizzie R. teacher, h. 480 Elm
Hervey Samuel H. trav. salesman, h. 480 Elm

Hilton John, foreman, h. 480 Elm
Stephenson C. C. foreman. The Standard Harness Co. h. 480 Elm
Williams Geo. F. painter, h. 480 Elm

Gers Josie, domestic, h. 480 Elm Opp. Magnolia
Green Sarah, A. wid. Ezekiel, h. 480 Elm opp. Magnolia
“Wm. E. salesman, Smith & Nixon's, h. 480 Elm opp. Magnolia
Smith Stephen M. trav.salesman, s.e.c. 2d and Walnut, h. 480 Elm nr 15th

Berger W. R. student, bds. 1418 Elm
Golden Geo. W. clk. 711 Race, bds. 1418 Elm
Hoffman Frank, with The Interstate Advertising Co. of Pittsburg, room 55, 448 Main, h. 1418 Elm
Justice Carrie L. b. h. 1418 Elm
Salt Wm. driver, bds. 1418 Elm
Kirker Prank K. engineer, bds,. 1418 Elm
Morse C B. trav.salesman, bds. 1418 Elm

Flinn Wm S principal W H Morgan School h 1418 Elm
Gorman —Robt carp rms 1418 Elm
Justice Carrie L boarding 1418 Elm
Mendenhall Edward painter bds 1418 Elm
Golden Geo W clk 711 Race bds 1418 Elm
Rick Frank stockkpr 408 Pioneer h 1418 Elm
Stehle Lillie saleslady 1533 Elm rms 1418 Elm
Morse C E (C E M & Co) 4 Allen Bldg bds 1418 Elm
Watson David lab bds 1418 Elm
Boarding House - Justice Carrie L 1418 Elm

Beck Wm I carp rms 1418 Elm
Bennett Millard clk 1523 Plum rms 1418 Elm
Donley John paperhgr rms 1418 Elm
Geiger Anton clk 275 W McMicken Av h 1418 Elm
“Otto meatctr rms 1418 Elm
Heidel Earl wrapper h 1418 Elm
“ Jos M h 1418 Elm
Mueller Fabricuis Victor actor rms 1418 Elm
Weinkam Anna hair work h 1418 Elm

Barrett Mrs Catherine furnished rooms 1418 Elm
Beckner Valentine mach rms 1418 Elm
Kammerdiener Jacob helper h 1418 Elm
Schoeck Henry foreman The Storrs-Schaefer Co rms 1418 Elm
Meford Todd C painter rms 1418 Elm
Parson Thos clk rms 1418 Elm
Schendel Julius tailor rms 1418 Elm
Thomas Roy J hatter rms 1418 Elm

1418 Beckner Kate fum rms
1418 Bonta Julius

Beckner Mrs Kate furnished rooms 1418 Elm
Bonta Julius mach op h 1418 Elm
Bulger John clk Ry Ex Agcy rms 1418 Elm
Hall Paul rms 1418 Elm
Kent R W salesman rms 1418 Elm
McIntyre John J fireman rms 1418 Elm
Shuse Guy rms 1418 Elm

The building is currently vacant but is owned by OTR Holdings, Inc., also part of 3CDC and is held as part of their land bank for future development.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Remnants of Bruckmann Brewery Company

A Facebook follower and wonderful photographer sent me the following photo and asked if I knew anything about it:
Photo courtesy of Tim Jeffries
Of course, I went off digging and this was actually a pretty easy find. The Bruckmann Brewery is pretty well documented on the web.

In 1856, Frederick Bruckmann started the Cumminsville Brewery near the corner of present day Ludlow Avenue and Central Parkway. Of course, Frederick came from Bavaria, Germany around 1847 and was joined by his brother, Johan (John) Casper, who had been a barrel maker. The hops were grown on their own land near the brewery.

Eventually, J.C. bought out his brother and after his death in 1887, ownership transferred to his sons, William, John and Henry. The company was called The John C. Bruckmann Brewing Company and shortened to Bruckmann Brewing Co. until prohibition. Being one of very few breweries to remain open during prohibition by producing "Aristocrat Cereal Beverage" (a near beer) along with other non-alcoholic beverages, the company was called The Bruckmann Beverage & Products Company. Since the brewery was already open when prohibtion was repealed, they were the first brewery in Cincinnati to ship beer at 12:01 am on April 7, 1933.
Demand became great enough that they were able to purchase another plant on at 2960/2974 Spring Grove Avenue. In 1949, the Ludlow Avenue plant was sold to The Herschel Condon Brewing Company but it only lasted one year. Luckily, several buildings remain from the complex - an old farmhouse, the brewhouse built in 1856, a cellar building, a bottling plant and a power plant, whose chimney now reads "Worthmore".

(This website was my source for the brewery information. They also make really cool lamps from old beer bottles!)

So I wanted to compare maps to see what exactly remains. Click on any of the maps to enlarge.
1891 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
The canal can be seen just across from the plant.
Close-up of the 1891 map. Click to enlarge.

1904 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Check out how Central Parkway follows the old canal route.
Close-up of 1904 map.
1904-1930 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
Part of the Rapid Transit System (the subway) can be seen at the top.
Close-up of 1904-1930 map. The bottling plant has been added on Streng Street.
1904-1950 Sanborn Insurance Map - Source
More details of the Rapid Transit System (the subway) can again be seen.
Close-up of 1904-1950 map.
2013 CAGIS Map
I-75 follows the Rapid Transit System path. 
Close-up of 2013 CAGIS map
1297 Streng Street. 1029 Ludlow Avenue, 1021 Ludlow Avenue, 1212 Streng Street are the remaining buildings.
An additional building at 1260 Streng Street was added after 1950 and is not part of the brewery complex.
Also notice Streng Street was re-routed to begin at Ludlow Avenue instead of its original start at Colerain Avenue which was cut off with the creation of I-75.
Photo by nevelo
Power Plant
Photo by nevelo
Photo by nevelo
Photo by nevelo
Original malt, fermenting and brew house
Google Street View of the Bottling Plant
Two old houses can also been seen on right, the last remnants of the original Streng Street.
Google Street View of the Cellar Building

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Furrier's Fine Family Home - Edgewood

Another home built by Samuel Hannaford and Sons and one the National Register as a result, a reader asked about this home recently.

400 Forest Avenue, Avondale
Hamilton County Auditor , 2005
This home was built in 1887, although according to a newspaper article in 1883, the original 16 acres of land was purchased in that year for $36,000. The purchaser was Adam Edward Burkhardt, an immigrant from Germany, who owned a successful fur business.

The following biography was written in 1875 in the book, Ohio, the Future Great State: Her Manufacturers, and a History of Her Commercial Cities, Cincinnati and Cleveland:
A Man who, from an humble position and by his own efforts, has risen to affluence and social position, and through all the events of a checkered life has preserved his integrity unimpeached, well deserves the pen of the historian, and to be held up as a model to posterity.

A. K. BURKHARDT was born in Herschberg, near Zweibriicken, Rhenish provinces, Bavaria, April 26. 1845, and is, therefore, in his thirty-first year. When ten years old, his father died, and he, with his mother and sister, embarked for America the same year, settling with them in Cincinnati immediately after their arrival. In three and a half years after he lost his mother, so, at the age of thirteen, he, with his sister, were left orphans. Mr. Burkhardt attended school in Germany when only six years old, and continued his education in the public-schools of Cincinnati till his mother's death, which occurred in 1859; after which, he entered the employ of Mitchell & Rammelsberg as errand boy at a salary of one dollar per week. This position he occupied only three months, and left to better himself pecuniarily, having received an offer of one dollar and fifty cents per week from Jacob Theis, retail hatter and furrier; and here was has first step that has resulted in his present colossal business. Commencing at the lowest possible position, he gradually promoted himself by his strict attention to the duties imposed upon him, till after a few years we find him occupying the loftiest position within the gift of his employer, and a fitting reward for his zealous fidelity to his employer's interests. This position he continued until January, 1867, at which time himself and brother-in-law, F. B. Burkhardt, bought out the business from Mr. Theis. The subject of this sketch assumed sole management.

What success has attended his exertions and shrewd business management is apodictical to us all, for there are few among our readers who do not know Mr. Burkhardt personally or by reputation as taking the lead in the art as hatter and furrier. His business so soon increased that the demand for more capacious accommodations resulted in his leasing the new and spacious salesrooms at 113 West Fourth Street (Mitchell's Block), where he caters to the wants of his customers, though he still keeps the old stand on Main Street. A. E. Burkhardt & Co. are also large exporters of raw skins, their principal shipping-points being Leipzic and London. They receive consignments from every State in the Union, British and South Americas, and have over three thousand correspondents.

On March 1, 1871, Mr. B. was joined in wedlock to Miss Emma Amanda, the only daughter of our distinguished fellow-citizen, Andrew Erkenbrecher, Esq., and we need not add that the result has been a happy one. He has been successful in all of his business pursuits, from a rare combination of industry and judgment, and has gained the confidence and respect of the whole community by at all times exhibiting a rectitude of character which never wavered from a proper direction. He can enjoy the fruit of the seed he has sown, whilst his nature is susceptible of enjoyment, and the stamina of life have not weakened and decayed. He has all the elements of happiness within his reach, and they are of his own creation.
The A.E. Burkhardt Home is on the left. Source -

Cincinnati Enquirer; Feb 11, 1892; Pg. 5
At Edgewood,
Brilliant Reception in Avondale
Mrs. A. E. Burkhardt Entertains Charmingly
In Honor of Her Niece, Miss Clara Erkenbrecher

In all of Avondale there is no place more beautiful than Edgewood, the home of Mrs. A.E. Burkhardt, and in all the annals of Cincinnati’s social history no reception has excelled in sumptuous appointment the one she gave yesterday to meet her niece, Miss Clara Erkenbrecher. The house of stone is built on the edge of one of the most picturesque woods in the Ohio valley and has a far-away view from every outlook.
The interior is of royal magnificence, with its rare painting and statuary pieces from the A. T. Stewart collection, bric-a-brac picked up at intervals in Europe, and an abundant wealth of the floral world filled the house with delicious perfume and added to the general gorgeous effect.
The drawing room, furnished in white and gold, was lavishly decorated with bowls of pink and white roses.
The hall was gorgeous in red: half way upstairs beneath a superb stained-glass window was a floral window seat in yellow tulips. The library across from the drawing room was a picture in yellow. The high shelves of the mantel were heaped with the golden flowers of spring and across the top of the long book-case were massed the same lovely flowers in riotous profusion.
The rooms above the stairs were greatly admired, especially the Moorish room, and Mr. Albert Erkenbrecher’s bachelor quarters on the third floor. A full orchestra was stationed near the stairs, and discoursed the brightest and latest of operatic and dance music…
But the prettiest place in all the house was the dining room, a dream in green and white, and everybody was lost in admiration. The mantel was banked high in white Roman hyacinths, tulips and maiden-hair hyacinths and maiden-hair ferns… 

This photo from The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden book, published in 2010, shows the detail on the porch of the A. E. Burkhardt home. - Source

Cincinnati Enquirer, Aug 3, 1902; pg. 8
As noted in the article above, in 1902 the Burkhardt home was for sale, and when no willing buyer was interested, it was sold at a sheriff's sale for half of its value. It was just two years later, when then-owner Joseph Joseph passed away. However, the home remained with his wife until 1919, when their son Arthur Joseph took ownership. Arthur and his wife Florence owned the home until  1936 when Robert H. Gibson bought the home.

It eventually became a nursing home but now stands empty and decaying. In 2005, a neighbor bought the home to protect their investment and with hopes that someone would buy it and fix it up. However, this has not yet happened. I am not aware if the home is still for sale. It was condemned by city order in 2011.

This photo was taken while the home was being used as a nursing home. Source
The home is described as "a Large scale, asymmetrical, two-and-a-half story random rock-faced ashlar building. It is distinguished by a large gable end, stone porch, and corner turret with conical slate cap and finial. The front fa├žade is marked by a projecting boxed gable end enclosing a dentilled cornice, elaborate stone embellishments around a man’s head, and a group of five, twenty-over-one windows with arched lintels… Architecturally, it incorporates elements from the Victorian, Queen Anne, and Romanesque styles." Source