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All posts for the month January, 2016

Jacob Weber Brewery 1860

The Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1860 listed Jacob Weber as operating a brewery on Grand Avenue in Lansing, Michigan. The 1860 Federal Census listed Jacob Weber’s profession as a brewer. Just what happened to Jacob Weber’s Brewery is unknown. It may have been a beer garden and not a full fledge brewery. The 1870 Census listed Jacob as working in a hardware store as a clerk and married to Caroline. The 1873 Lansing City Directory reinforced this, and shows Jacob Weber listed as working for the Dart & Davis Hardware Company and living on Cherry Street. The 1878 City Directory listed a Mrs. Caroline Weber as living on Cherry but there is no mention of her husband. There was a Jacob Weber who served as brew master at the Blue Island Brewing Company prior to 1900 and the Baier & Ohlendorf Brewery in Freeport, Illinois, after 1901. But in a 1904 court case involving Jacob Weber it was stated that Weber had been a brew master for eight or nine years but it fails to link this Jacob Weber with the Jacob Weber of Lansing. So at best the brewer, Jacob Weber who operated a brewery in Lansing in 1860 is lost to history.

 

City Brewery (1863-1880)

 

City Brewing 1885

The 1885 Sanborn Map of the City Brewery Property

The City Brewery was located at the foot of Jefferson Street and the Grand River and was built by John G. Schoettle in 1863. (Durant, 140, Adams, 436) By far the City Brewery has one of the most obscure histories of any of the breweries that operated in Lansing; in fact the confusion is exacerbated by the names of the principals involved, Schoettle and Schlotter.

City Brweing 1892

The 1892 Sanborn Map of the City Brewery Property

John G. Schoettle opened the City Brewery in 1863; it was listed in the Michigan Gazetteer 1863-1864 as Schoettle, John G., brewery Jefferson, Lansing, Michigan. There is no record of the type of beer the brewery produced; in fact there was almost no marketing of the brewery. John was married to Mary Briesch; the couple had four children Mary, Carrie, Louis and Louise Schoettle; all of the children predeceased their mother. John was listed as a veteran; just what war he served in is unknown at this time. John passed away at his home on March 30, 1868 at the age of 31. The City Brewery may have been the first fully functioning brewery in the history of Lansing.

 

Schoettle

The only known advertisement for the City Brewery in Lansing

With the death of John management of the brewery was taken over by his (brother, partner?) George Schlotter who ran the brewery until 1880-1881. There is some confusion over George’s last name. He is listed as Schoettle in the 1860 Census and in Mudge’s Directory of Lansing City, 1878. In the 1870 Census George’s name is listed as Schlotter and in the majority of the later listings. Oddly John’s wife in the 1870 Census is Mary Schoettle with her four children by John and one son George by her current husband, George Schlotter. The same occurred in the 1880 Census with the four children by her former husband and two by her current husband, named George and Anna. What is interesting is that according to the 1880 Census the home was in Mary’s name. In the marriage record for two of the children, Louisa Schoettle records her father as John Schoettle and her mother as Mary Briesch while Anna B. Schlotter’s marriage record listed her father as George Schlotter and mother as Mary Briesch. The City Brewery ceased operation in 1880. George either died or left Mary in 1881-1883 because in the Lansing City Directory 1883-1884, Mary is listed as a widow. A review of the records at Mt Hope Cemetery in Lansing shows that Mary is buried with John and John’s children and other members of the Briesch family. No record of has been located regarding George Schlotter’s death. It is interesting that Mary lived on the property of the brewery until around 1895 and that even on the 1892 Sanborn Map the property is still listed as John Schoettle estate (see images).

Next the Grand River Brewery

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