From The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Archives: OH!

July 17, 2009 by
Filed under: Bushwick, Williamsburg 

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.

Hittleman1

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.

bottling

Hittleman2

department

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.

meserolest

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.

iceplant

No, it wasn’t this ice plant (as nifty as it is).

1885

This.

1875

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.

HO

OH

“OH”.

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:

BDE excerpt

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 extant  today I would hazard to guess this (which is conveniently located across the street from 1 Bushwick Place) was it.

saloon

3. The more eagle-eyed among you might have noticed what is inscribed on the chimney in the background.

VD1858

I have. Especially since there is something a mere stone’s throw away that bears a similar inscription.

FHVD

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”!

Miss Heather

*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.

HUBERFUNERAL

Comments

5 Comments on From The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Archives: OH!

  1. bestviewinbrooklyn on Fri, 17th Jul 2009 5:55 am
  2. I love this stuff. I’m glad you’re also interested in it so I can reap the benefits of your walkabouts while sitting on my butt. Thanks!

  3. janimpala on Fri, 17th Jul 2009 9:04 am
  4. Hi Heather – The Huber brewery building more recently housed floors and floors of stuff collected by the recently departed Williamsburg business man Henry Von Damm (the stack has “Von Damm”). I met Henry in 1979, as he was a prominant lifelong member of the Williamsburg St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (my old church in Clinton Hill was sharing a pastor with them) and I would run into him at various functions and on the street. He was a prominant old school Williamsburg business leader. His family, as you can see from that stone, goes way back to when Germans immigrants were the new kids on the block in Brooklyn and basically built a good portion of what we see now as Wburg from Bway Ferry heading out to Bushwick and into BedStuy, among other places. You would never see Henry without a black suit and tie no matter what the weather was. Never afraid to say what was on his mind – ever and not afraid of anyone either, yep a real tough guy. I have a couple of other HVD stories, maybe later I can relay them.

  5. smoothsailing on Fri, 17th Jul 2009 6:50 pm
  6. So I know the owner of TMI Trading (Manufacturer of Twin Marquis and Chef One lines of oriental food products). He currently owns this building and runs his food manufacturing operation out of the building. He was very happy to hear about this history of his building that he has occupied for a few years now, yet was completly unaware of. Good job Heather! And here is a good freelance business idea for you… Individualized property historical narratives for owners.

  7. missheather on Fri, 17th Jul 2009 7:02 pm
  8. Maybe one of these days I’ll have to hit him up to let me inside to poke around (I’ll behave myself)? I am completely enamored of the saloon on the corner. I absolutely adore this building.

  9. 297maujer on Fri, 4th Jun 2010 1:05 pm
  10. I grew up on Maujer Street, at 297 Maujer Street (gone but not forgotten). I remember Henry Von Damm and yes he always wore a black suit and tie. He was a friendly man. That wasn’t the case with the other residents of the neighborhood. I remember his business on the corner of Grand and Waterbury in the late 1970’s. Von Damm was a bustling business when I lived there. His son, we called him Junior, has a reputation of a tough business man. I wish there was a website dedicated to Von Damm. In the office there was a black and white picture from the the 1900’s I believe. I was fascinated by the picture.

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