Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April 25, 1875 -- Beer in Chicago ... A Summary

April 25, 1875 – With memories of the city’s destruction four years earlier, Chicagoans understandably loved their beer, especially with a large share of the milk watered down and the drinking water suspect.  On this date the Chicago Daily Tribune ran a feature on the principal beer manufacturers in the city.  They included:

Conrad Seipp – located east of Cottage Grove Avenue at the foot of Twenty-Sixth Street with a main plant “probably the largest used for the manufacture of lager beer in the United States.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 25, 1872] Seipp founded the brewery in 1856 and admitted a partner, Fred Lehman, in 1858.  Lehman died in 1872 after being thrown from a buggy.  The firm employs 100 men with 60 horses “constantly in use and 16 teams delivering beer in the city and suburbs.  The establishment consumes 300,000 bushels of malt and 300,000 bushels of hops each year, producing “the enormous amount of 100,000 barrels of beer.”  The above photo shows the scale of the concern.

Downer and Bemis Brewing Company – located on South Park Avenue, overlooking the lake between Twenty-Third and Twenty-Fourth Streets and founded in 1861.  The brewery makes only lager beer and in 1871 sold 65,000 barrels.

Busch and Brand Brewery Company – located on Cedar Street near the lake and founded in 1851, “one of the first firms to make lager-beer in this city.”  Although it was destroyed in the fire of 1871 it was rebuilt within three months and produces 40,000 barrels annually with room in storehouses and ice houses for another 20,000 barrels. 

Chicago Union Brewing Company – located on Twenty-Seventh Street and Johnson Avenues, just east of Cottage Grove Avenue, the brewery was founded in 1869 for the manufacture of ale “since which time their products have achieved a reputation that places them first in the estimation of all.”  The company supplies “almost exclusively … all first-class saloons in the city” as well as the Palmer House and the Grand Pacific Hotel “and in fact every first-class hotel in the city.”

Doyle and Co., Brewers -- located at 423 North State Street (1243 North State today), producing only ales and porter.  The firm produces 24,000 barrels of ale and porter annually and “keeps four teams delivering and several others hauling.”

Fortune Brothers – located on West Van Buren Street near Halsted, founded in 1866, and producing ale and porter.  The brewery produces 80 barrels of ale a day with “a large corps of skilled workmen and keeps four delivery teams constantly going”.  

T. D. Stuver – the agent for Porter’s Joliet Ales and Porter, located on Randolph Street, an agent for “the celebrated Joliet malt liquors … begun at Joliet by Mr. Ed. Porter some twenty years ago, and, though first-class at first, have improved in excellence as in quantity these many years, until now they fairly rival the more costly English stocks of Bass and Burton and are acknowledged to be ahead of any other body ales in the United States.”  Four wagons deliver pale stock ale, “one of the healthiest and most palatable beverages, ever used or invented to refresh thirsty humanity.”

April 25, 1914 -- In a conflict that began with a relatively minor incident in which neither Mexican authorities or United States sailors could speak one another's language, hostilities loomed between the two countries, and young men began heading for the nearest recruiting posts, volunteering for the military. On this date the Chicago Daily Tribune reports that 1,000 applicants have made their way to the city, including Harold Witherspoon from Whiting, Indiana. The 17-year-old hwalked all the way from his home to enlist -- a distance of 23 miles. Within a block of the naval recruiting station at 205 Fifth Avenue (today's Wells Street) a packing case falls off the back of a truck and crushes his foot. He is accepted conditionally and sent to Lake Bluff to recover. If he fails to do regain full health, he will go back to Whiting . . . but not on foot. Of the thousand men who show up less than a hundred are accepted.

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