From The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Archives: OH!
Ever had one of those moments when you see something you have walked by many times in a totally new light? This week I just such an experience. And it all started at 10 Bushwick Place.
By north Brooklyn standards this building is not terribly remarkable. In fact they’re a dime a dozen. Until you take a closer look; that’s when it starts to get intriguing.
This facility was once the bottling plant for the Hittleman Brewery. While this is interesting in and of itself, the juicy stuff lies just around the corner on Meserole Street.
One bigass brewery. I have walked down Meserole Street. I have walked down Bushwick Place. Numerous times. But until last weekend I had never walked down Bushwick Place and this stretch of Meserole Street in a single clip. Which leads me to my discovery.
No, it wasn’t this ice plant (as nifty as it is).
Or even this. Romanesque architecture was all the rage in the late 19th century. While the typography is enjoyable, it was not what piqued my interest.
Rather, it was what I found next door that motivated me to get my cybersleuth on.
Not much to go on, you say? Actually it was terrifyingly easy to learn what (or in this case, who) these letters refer to. All I had to do is Google “Hittleman Brewery”. Per NY Food Museum:
A German immigrant, Otto Huber, Sr., who had worked for other breweries in Brooklyn, established his own plant in the late 1860s. He purchased the Hoerger Brewery in 1866 and built the new plant, which became one of the largest and most productive breweries in Brooklyn. After his death in 1889*, his sons, Otto, Jr., Joseph, Charles, and Max, managed the company and it remained a family enterprise until the 1920s when it was sold to Edward Hittleman, who renamed the brewery after himself. Hittleman produced near beer until repeal of Prohibition, and in 1934 he changed the name of the company to Hittleman-Goldenrod Brewery. Goldenrod was a traditional brand name dating to the Huber brewery. After being renamed Edelbrau after a popular beer, it was finally changed to Edelbrew in 1946. Not long after Hittleman’s death in 1951 at age sixty-eight, the brewery closed.
“O” + “H” = Otto Huber. And, as I learned from this article dating from the December 20, 1896 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, “O.H.” means oh so much more:
You can read this article in its entirety by clicking here. Be advised it is a rather lengthy read (~1,200 words give or take), but well worth the extra time. (The man made a lot of beer. Seriously.) In closing, here are a few more things I learned during my research.
1. The business office for Otto Huber’s brewery was located at 1 Bushwick Place.
2. A saloon was on the premises. Judging from what is extantÂ today I would hazard to guess this (which is conveniently located across the street from 1 Bushwick Place) was it.
3. The more eagle-eyed among you might have noticed what is inscribed on the chimney in the background.
I have. Especially since there is something a mere stone’s throw away that bears a similar inscription.
But that is the stuff of another post (which I have already started researching, lest you are wondering). When you (and you know who you are) kick back and enjoy a tall frosty one this balmy weekend why not give a toast to Otto Huber? The man who gave us “OH”!
*This is a factual error: Otto Huber died in 1890. Here’s his funeral announcement from the March 23, 1890 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.