Louis C. Ott, Rockaway Beach, L.I.

 

Louis C Ott was a hotel owner in Rockaway Beach (previously called Oceanus) from the late 1880’s until the late 1910’s. He was also active in the local democratic party serving as a NYS Assemblyman in the early 1890’s and later as a Town Supervisor in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s. Also active in the community, he served as a fire warden and a member of the Board of Representatives of the “Oceanus Hook and Ladder Company No. 1.”

Ott’s hotel business appears to have been closely tied if not one and the same with the liquor and beer trade. The first mention of Ott that I can find is as a liquor tax certificate holder with the town of Hempstead. (Note that at the time Rockaway Beach was under the Jurisdiction of Hempstead and not yet a part of NYC.) He was listed with the classification “hotel”and located in Rockaway Beach, but no address was given. His certificate was paid up through September 4, 1890, which leads me to believe the business started at least a year or two earlier, sometime in the 1880’s.

Sometime during this period, Ott became an agent and bottler for the Joseph Fallert Brewing Company. Advertisements in the local newspaper, “The Wave” between 1896 and 1898 bear this out and the 1899 Trow Business Directory listed the business on Hammels Avenue (now Beach 85th Street) under the heading “Bottlers of Lager Beer.”

Whether Ott’s relationship with the Fallert Brewery dated back to his 1890 liquor tax certificate is not clear, but by 1899, it appears that the two entities had a falling out. On April 26, 1899, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle announced a judgement against Ott in favor of the Joseph Fallert Brewing Company for $7,308.40.

In 1900, Ott took over a hotel previously run by an Assemblyman from New York City. That year, in May, “The Wave” reported:

Supervisor Louis C. Ott will shortly open the hotel corner of Eldert Avenue and the Boulevard, formerly conducted by Assemblyman Honeck.

The 1903 Trow Business Directory for Brooklyn and Queens listed Ott at the Eldert Avenue (now Beach 87th Street) address under the heading “Wines/Liquors/Lager Beer.”

Around 1904 Ott’s listed location changed again and he was named in various newspaper articles as the proprietor of the Grassy Point Hotel located at Broad Channel on the Jamaica Bay trestle. Both the 1904 Trow Business Directory and the 1910 census records listed him at this location. In fact, The August 16, 1911 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that he spent his 57th birthday there.

Louis C. Ott, former Assemblyman from the Sixteenth District of Brooklyn celebrated the fifty-seventh anniversary of his birth at a family dinner at the hotel of which he is proprietor, the Grassy Point, on Broad Channel on the evening of Tuesday last. The table was placed lengthwise of the long dining room, covers being laid for twenty-four. The decorations were asters and gladioli, a huge horseshoe of asters  being placed on a table just back of the host, a gift from friends and sent with many wishes for good fortune.

More than just a hotel, Grassy Point was a resort that included a restaurant, dancing, bowling alleys, billiards, a fishing station, bathing, boating and ball fields. A photograph contained within a 1908 advertisement left no doubt that by then, Ott had switched his allegiance from Joseph Fallert to Trommer’s.

Ott apparently operated the Grassy Point Hotel through at least the mid-teens. Ott was listed with a Broad Channel Hotel in the 1910 NYC Telephone Directory but not in the 1914 edition. By 1920, census records showed him widowed and living on Long Island in the Valley Stream/Lynbrook area with a son-in-law. He died while living on Long Island in July, 1924.

The Grassy Point Hotel remained in operation until it was destroyed by fire in January 1939. According to the January 5, 1939 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, the damage had been extensive enough to require rebuilding of the structure. At the time of the fire, the operation consisted of only a restaurant and grill. No rooms were rented.

Ott, a New Yorker of German heritage, had nine children, including six sons. Four of those sons were members of the U.S. armed forces during World War I and at least three were involved in active combat. According to an October 30, 1918 article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Pvts. Harry and Walter Ott, sons of Louis C. Ott of Mineola Ave., Valley Stream, L.I., have both been wounded. They were drafted in 1917 and trained at Camp Upton before departing for France. Walter is 22 years old and Pvt. Harry is 25. Both were engaged as chauffeurs prior to their entrance into the service. Walter, who is a member of Co. G 308th Inf. was wounded on August 17th. Just when Harry was hurt is not known. He wrote his father a note from a hospital ship stating that he had been injured and that he was on his way to London. A third brother, Sgt. Andrew Ott, is stationed at Camp Sevier in South Carolina, giving instruction on gas masks. He too, was drafted in 1917, sent to Camp Upton, where he received his sergeant’s chevrons, and finally to France. There he was gassed and after three months of continual trench duty ordered to return to America. He was a member of Company D, 305th Inf. He is 27 years old and was formerly a silversmith, employed by the Gotham Company in Manhattan. A fourth brother, Robert Van Wyck Ott, is eligible for the new draft and is expecting his call momentarily.

The bottle I found is a champagne style beer with an applied blob top. The slug plate refers to Rockaway Beach, Long Island. This would indicate it was made in 1898 (the year Rockaway Beach became part of NYC) or earlier and most likely contained the Joseph Fallert brand.

 

 

John Kessler, Woodmere, Long Island

kessler            kessler-1

Census records from 1900 through 1920 reveal that John Kessler immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1880 and worked as a salesman. Sometime after 1900 he started operating a hotel located somewhere on or near Woodmere Bay. The 1910 census lists his address as “out in Woodmere Bay”. He passed away sometime around 1914 and his wife Margaret continued to run the business for several more years. In the 1920 census Margaret is listed as a widow living with her daughter on West Broadway in Hewlett and the family is no longer involved in the business.

John Kessler, Hotel, Woodmere Bay south of Woodmere Dock, is listed as a liquor tax certificate holder for the years ending September 30, 1911 and September 30, 1912. In the years ending September 30, 1914 and 1915, Margaret not John is listed as the certificate holder. I’ve found that many local hotel owners in this era were liquor tax certificate holders and bottled their own beverages.

I found a champagne style beer bottle with a tooled blob finish that fits the early 1900’s time period. I haven’t seen this one on the Internet adding to the evidence that this was a small local business.

A Wolff, Central Bottling Co., 55th St, bet 2nd & 3rd Ave New York

wolff

The A stands for Anthony (Anton) Wolff.

Wolff is first listed in the 1880 NYC Directory as a maltster with a home address of 330 East 47th Street. In the 1884 directory he’s listed as beer with a home address of 226 East 56th Street.

Then from 1886 through 1912 he’s listed in various NYC directories as a bottler (or sometimes beer) on East 55th Street. He listed several addresses over the years, all on 55th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue, primarily 204 East 55th St.

The March 28, 1889 issue of the newspaper “The Daily Graphic” Lists 24 Bottle Registration Notices from different bottlers. A Wolff is one of them. His states:

To All Whom it May Concern: I Anthony Wolff doing business and trading as the Central Bottling Co, certify that I am engaged in bottling and selling lager beer, ale and porter and other beverages, and use and have the sole right to use my name, marks and devices branded, stamped, etched, blown or otherwise produced upon my bottles and boxes, a description of which distinguishing names and marks is as follows: Glass bottles on which is “Central Bottling Co” and “A Wolff”; other bottles with “Central Bottling Co”; other bottles “A Wolff”. Boxes on which is “Central Bottling Co” and “A Wolff”. CENTRAL BOTTLING CO. By A WOLFF.

The business is listed in the Annual Report of Factory Inspectors of the State of New York in 1896 and 1898. In 1898 they listed 6 male employees.

Several New York State newspapers covered a fire that included Wolff’s plant that occurred on August 25th, 1898.

The explosion of a large ammonia tank used in the making of artificial ice set fire at an early hour this morning to Jacob Hoffman’s Crescent Brewery, a 5-story brick structure at 206 and 208 East Fifty-fifth Street. The flames spread with marvelous rapidity and the Central Bottling Company’s plant, of which A. Wolff is the proprietor, at 202 East Fifty-fifth Street soon caught fire. Within a very short time the entire block surrounded by Third Avenue, Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth streets were doomed.

The surrounding tenements, all filled with sleeping people, next ignited and the bewildered tenants began to pour out into the streets by the hundreds. Alarm after alarm was turned in by the police, and by the early arrivals of the firemen, until four alarms had sounded and 18 engines and five hook and ladder trucks were on the scene. As a precaution several ambulances were called from Bellevue and other hospitals. Many thrilling rescues of frightened men, women and children were made by the firemen.

Wolff’s business must have survived the fire because he remained at 55th Street through 1912.

In 1912 the American Bottler reported that Wolff resigned his membership in the organization that year. He’s not listed in the 1914 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory, so I have to think the business ended in 1912.

In the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories between 1905 and 1914 there is also a Central Bottling Co listed at 617 11th Avenue (it’s listed under Central). In the same directories Wolf is listed under Wolff as “Wolff A., Central Bottling Co. (RTN) (Anton W. Wolff).” Based on this there doesn’t appear to be a connection.

204 E 55th Street lies within the current footprint of 909 Third Avenue. Interestingly, PJ Clarke’s address is 205 E 55th Street so Wolff was right across the street 100+ years ago (probably his lunch spot?)

The bottle I found is a champagne style (12 oz) with a tooled blob finish. It fits within the 1886 to 1912 time frame of the business.

J Wittmann, Woodhaven, New York

wittmann           wittmann1      wittmann-2

The J stands for Joseph Wittmann.

Joseph Wittmann, Queens Ward 4, appears in census records from 1900 to 1930. Over that period, he listed himself as a bottler, proprietor, manufacturer and retail merchant of mineral/soda water. According to a September 28, 1940 Brooklyn Daily Eagle article announcing his death, Wittmann was born in Brooklyn and lived in Queens for 46 years. He died in 1940 at the age of 76.

The business apparently started in Brooklyn in the late 1880’s. Joseph Wittmann, bottler, was listed in the 1889 and 1890 Brooklyn directories, with an address of 729 Flushing Avenue. He was not listed in the 1887 Directory.

Sometime between 1891 and 1898, the business moved to Thrall Pl, corner of Broadway, Woodhaven, where it’s listed in the 1899, 1903,1907, 1908-1909 and 1912 Trow Business Directories of the Borough of Queens under mineral water. It was also listed in the Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island Section of the New York Telephone Directory as Carbonated Beverages through at least 1928. By this time, the address was 97-40 91st but I don’t think the location changed because Thrall Place was renamed 91st Street. Based on the census records the business could have lasted into the 1930’s.

I found three mouth blown bottles, all embossed “Woodhaven”. Two are large (28 oz); one has a tooled blob finish and the other a tooled crown finish. The third is smaller (8oz) with a tooled crown finish. The larger bottles used slug plates while the smaller one is a private mold. All three fit the earlier years that the business was in Woodhaven

I’ve also observed machine made (28oz) bottles in the bays as well.

Welz and Zerweck High Ground Brewery, Brooklyn, NY

wz-1

Welz and Zerweck traces its roots to John Welz who was listed as early as 1858 in the Brooklyn City Directories as a brewer located at 132 Scholes.

The company was featured in the “Illustrated History of Greater Ridgewood” published in 1906. The feature included information on it’s early history.

The original brewery was established in 1859 by the late John Welz.

The brewery was first established in Scholes Street and Graham Avenue, in the old “Dutchtown” section of Williamsburg. Two years later it was moved to the building on Myrtle and Wycoff Avenues.

In 1897, the brewery was made a limited corporation with John Welz, president; Chas C.D. Zerweck, vice-president, and Harry Roth, secretary and treasurer. These three officers also comprise the Board of Directors and are the owners of all the company stock.

It was called the Welz Brewery until 1883 when Charles C.D. Zerweck and John Welz’s son, also named John, took over the business. Zerweck, a German immigrant, had joined the Welz Brewery in 1878. The business was first listed in the Brooklyn directories as Welz and Zerweck in 1884.

Well and Zerweck was listed in the 1890 Lains Business Directory of Brooklyn and the Trow Business Directory for the Borough of Brooklyn in 1899, 1903 and 1907 (the only years I could find). It was also listed in the “Copartnership and Corporation Directory of the Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens 1913-1914; John Welz President, Charles Zerweck VP, Henry Roth Treasurer, Capital $1,500,000. Certainly a closely held company, the 1913 -1914 officers were the same ones that were listed in 1897 when the corporation was formed. The address was always listed as Myrtle, corner of Wycoff, or sometimes 1562 Myrtle.

The feature in the “Illustrated History of Ridgewood” goes on to talk a little bit about the growth of the company in both size and volume of business.

If the old adage “tall oaks from little acorns grow” was ever appropriately applied, it is so applied to the Welz & Zerweck Brewery.

By turning out the best beer that the concern could possibly give to consumers the establishment grew, and from an output of 5,000 barrels a year in the beginning, the concern is brewing and selling more than 300,000 barrels per year, and the new additions that have been made allow a capacity of 500,000.

The entire plant and buildings, which include ice plant, brewery, bottling department, shipping department and offices, cover over four acres of ground.

The beer is sold in every part of Long Island and the Greater City, and is shipped to distant parts, such as the Southern States and Puerto Rico.

Perhaps the best illustration of Welz and Zerweck’s growth from the early 1860’s until the turn of the century are two photographs that attended the feature. The first and largest showed the plant as it existed when the feature was written in 1906. The second, inserted into the lower left hand corner shows the original 1862 building at the Myrtle and Wycoff location.

The brewery complex was located right on the border between Brooklyn (Kings County) and Queens County. This results in an interesting story I found in the December 6, 1894 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. It concerns a saloon and hotel that made up a part of the brewery complex until it was demolished around that time. It was entitled “The House That Stands in Two Counties”

The old building attached to the brewery of Welz & Zerweck at Ridgewood, for years used as a barroom and hotel, has been razed and in its place will be built a large and modern structure. A part of it stood on the dividing line of Queens and Kings counties and it is said that years ago, when the excise law was strictly enforced in Brooklyn the bar, which on weekdays stood on the Kings county side, would on Sunday be removed to the town of Newton, a few feet away. For many years past, however, the change of the bar has been discontinued, it being allowed to remain permanently , it was claimed, on the Queens County side

I haven’t seen many newspaper advertisements for their beers, but one in the February 15, 1912 issue of the“Forest Parkway Leader Observer” listed a wide range of products including: Gabrinus Brau, Pilsner Beer, Export Beer, Standard Beer and Sparkling Ale and made it a point that“our beers and ales are brewery bottled only.” They were were all $1.00 per case.

Another advertisement, this one in a May 1910 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle touts: “Gambrinus Bock Beer – Better than Imported.”

Welz and Zerwick apparently maintained branches or maybe sales outlets on Long Island as well. An advertisement for one of them in Sag Harbor was printed in the November 26, 1910 issue of the “Sag Harbor Corrector.” The advertisement showed that prices outside of Brooklyn were higher by 20 to 50 percent ($1.20 to $1.50 vs $1.00).

wz-li

It appears that the business continued to operate under the Welz & Zerweck name during the early stages of Prohibition. A June 21, 1921 article in the “Beverage Journal” provided a review of brewery activities (during prohibition) and stated that Welz and Zerweck was making cereal beverages. They were still listed in the Copartnership and Corporation Directory of the Borough of Brooklyn and Queens in 1922, with both Welz and Zerweck as directors, but by 1925 the business had shut down.

According to the May 7, 1925 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, the brewery complex, located at Myrtle and Wycoff was demolished to make way for a new theater and office complex.

The Welz and Zerweck Brewery, one of the oldest landmarks of the Ridgewood section, occupying the triangle formed by Wycoff Ave., Myrtle Ave. and Madison Street., is shortly to be razed to give way to the construction of a modern theater and office building with a street row of stores it was learned today.

The transaction was said to involve nearly $1,000,000 and the purchasers to be a syndicate of business men in Brooklyn and Queens…

The Welz and Zerweck plant has stood on its present site for more than half a century, and until prohibition, was one of the most flourishing Brooklyn breweries. In passing, however, it has been more fortunate than many other breweries. A subway was built through Wycoff Ave. with a station at Myrtle Ave., and a business center for a population of 100,000 has sprung up around the site, making the property of even greater value than ever during the pre-Volstead days.

It is understood that the new theater building will be from five to eight stories high and that work on it will commence in a month or so.

A year later, on May 11, 1926 they held an auction that included:

The last of their former saloon properties…for which, having sold their brewery and retiring from business, they have no further use.

Finally it appears that the the Welz and Zerweck brands were absorbed by Liebmann’s. According to a March 29, 1933 article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Liebmann’s didn’t plan on continuing with them when National Prohibition ended.

Before Prohibition put a snag in the beer business Liebmann’s has absorbed many famous brands of beer and breweries. They were Peter Doelger’s, Welz & Zerweck’s, George Ehret’s, Obermeyer & Liebmann’s plaza brew, Beadelston & Woerz and the Krumenaker bottling works – and some 30 other brands. With the possible exception of Peter Doelger’s, all of them will remain absorbed, and they will reappear – are now being bottled –  as Liebmann’s.

I found one bottle with a tooled blob finish, several aqua tooled crowns and one brown tooled crown. I haven’t found a machine made example but have seen them on the Internet.

 

 

 

 

Jas T Weeks, Rockville Centre L.I.

weeks      weeks-seltzer

James T Weeks listed his occupation as mineral water manufacturer and as soda water in the 1900 and 1910 census respectively. In the 1920 census, he had moved to Islip and was employed as a driver. The “Annual Report of the Factory Inspectors of the State of New York in 1898 indicated Weeks had a mineral water business that had 3 employees during that time, all male (no address). The same report in 1903 showed water bottling at a Centre Avenue location (no employee information).

Based on this information, he was in business from at least the mid-1890’s to sometime in the 1910’s. There’s not much else to go on.

All the bottles I’ve found were mouth blown: two 27 oz with a tooled blob finish, several 8 oz tooled crowns and one siphon bottle. Haven’t seen a machine made bottle, even on the Internet. This supports the time frame of the business as estimated above.

W&T, 57 Downing St., NY

tw-1 tw-2 tw-3 tw-4

Soda water manufacturers, the proprietors were William Wills and Anson B Taylor.

The business is first listed in the 1859 NYC directory as Wills, Taylor & Co., with an address of 49 Greene Street. In 1865 the name of the business in the listing was changed to Wilson & Taylor and around the same time they moved to 57 Downing Street where they remained through 1874.

Anson Taylor continues to be listed individually as waters through the early 1880’s with an address of 119 East 124th Street.

On a side note, Anson B Taylor played baseball for a pioneering baseball club called the Mutual Baseball Club. Organized in NYC in June 1857, they were named after Mutual Hook and Ladder Company #1. A book entitled “Baseball Founders: The Clubs, Players and Cities of the Northeast that Established the Game”provided the following brief biography of Taylor:

Anson B. Taylor was born in Connecticut around 1827. He played a few games for the Mutuels in 1858, then was a regular for the next three seasons. He had served as club treasurer while an active player and began a four year tenure as club president in 1861. Taylor, who was partner in a mineral water business, died in New York on June 2, 1884.

The bottle I found is an 8 oz pony with an applied blob top finish. It’s embossed “W&T” with the 57 Downing Street address so it most likely dates between 1865 and 1874.

Fred vonDohln & Son, 348 West 36th St. NY

vondohlen        vondohlen-1

I have to believe that the name is miss-spelled vonDohln on the bottle. There is a Fred vonDohlen listed as a grocer in the 1897 Trow NYC Business Directory at the same address that’s embossed on the bottle, 348 W 36th Street. He was also listed in every NYC general directory I could find between 1876 and 1909 and always at that address. Interestingly enough the 1900 Directory (and only this Directory) lists him as Fred vonDohlen & Son (as embossed on the bottle) and lists him as water not grocer. All other directories list him as a grocer (and no & Son).

The 1900 census records recorded a Fred vonDohlen living at 348 W 36th Street so it appears that he operated a small grocery store and probably lived above or in the rear of the store. He had four sons, the oldest of which, Karl, listed his occupation as clerk. I assume he was the clerk in his father’s store and is the son referred to on the embossed bottle. The other three sons listed unrelated occupations.

Looks like he was in business from at least 1876 to 1909. He could have been in the bottling business that whole time as well or maybe he gave it a go with his son for a year and it didn’t work out?

The current building at 348 W 36th St was built in 1936 so it doesn’t date back to the time frame of the business. The adjacent building is older and may go back that far.

The bottle I found has a tooled blob finish (8 oz) that probably dates to the  latter half of the business time frame, including  1900, the year he was listed in the water business. I’ve yet to see one of these bottles anywhere on the Internet.

United Bottling Co., P F O’Neill, 508 Greenwich St., New York

 

The United Bottling Co. / P. F. O’Neill was in business for over 40 years, always located within lower Manhattan.

Paul F O’Neill (waters) was first listed in the 1887 NYC General Directory at 185 Franklin St. but the September 1, 1883 “City Record” included him on a list of First Assembly District members as Paul F. O’Neill, mineral waters, with the 185 Franklin address. So it looks like the business extends back at least that far.  In the 1891 NYC General Directory, O’Neill’s address changed to 508 Greenwich St. where the business remained until at least 1925.

O’Neill began using the United Bottling Co. as a company name as early as 1890. The 1890 Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed the business as: United Bottling Co. (Paul F. O’Neill, propr.) 185 Franklin.

The Annual Report on Factory Inspections in New York State – 1898 listed the business with 5 male employees.

The 1917-1918 NYC Directory of Directors listed O’Neill as a Director for both the Bottlers and Manufacturers Association and the Bottlers and Manufacturers Collecting and Distributing Co.

By 1933, Paul F. O’Neil was listed at 74 Varick with the occupation of real estate.

Today 508 Greenwich is a four-story walk-up with a bar/restaurant at street level and an ornate exterior fire escape.

“Street Easy says it was built in 1900 but O’Neill was using it as his address continuously since 1891. I assume that the 1900 date was probably the construction date of an addition. It must have housed the business.

The bottle I found is a tooled blob (8 oz) embossed with the 508 Greenwich Street address. Although O’Neil moved to 508 Greenwich in 1891, I’ve seen 2 different variants of this bottle on the Internet and this appears to be the newer version, so I’d say it’s early 1900’s.

Although the business extended into the mid-1920’s, I’ve not yet seen a tooled crown finish or machine made bottle associated with this business.

E D Seabury, Rockville Centre, L.I.

seabury-2        seabury-1

The E stands for Edwin D Seabury. A long time resident of Roosevelt/Rockville Centre, Long Island, he served as a trustee on the first RVC Village board after they incorporated in 1893. Later in 1899 he served as president.

His obituary in the September 29, 1926 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle also mentioned that he served three terms on the Roosevelt School Board, was president of the Roosevelt Board of Trade and founded the Roosevelt Methodist Episcopal Church.

E D Seabury is listed in the Rockville Centre section of the 1892 Brooklyn City Directory as pianos. He’s also listed in the 1898 and 1900 Annual Report of Factory Inspections of the State of New York as piano supplies. The 1900 Report indicated that he had four employees.

He also had a son, Edwin D Seabury, Jr. I can’t find any information that connects Edwin or Edwin, Jr.,  with a bottling business but the time period and location are correct.

The bottle is 27 oz with a tooled blob that fits the late 1800’s time period that Seabury was active in Rockville Centre. I’ve found no mention of bottles from this business on the Internet and that’s unusual. Who knows??? I need to visit the Rockville Centre Historical Society.