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GARDENS AND PICNICS IN OLD WET DAYS
ments Which IVere
Engaged in Meet
Favored by Popu
Prohibition at the
, BY J()I1\ CI. AC.KTT PROCTOR.
I "Oh, when you hear the roll o1 the big
I bass drum.
Then you know that the Deitch have
^jr the Deitch company is the beet
Tint ever came over from old Germany.
"When Greek meets Gjeek. then comes
the tug of war.
f When Deitch meet Deitch, then comes
the lager beer.
For the Deitch company is the best
That ever came over from old Germany."
AND so beer ha* returned—and with
it the short ones, the steins and the
schooners! And soon we may look
for the return of the Maennerchor.
the Arion. the Saetigerbund and
other German singing societies so popular in
Washington before Mr. Volstead outlawed the
amber fluid and replaced the "Stein Bong"
"How dry I am how dry I am—
Nobody knr»s how dry I am."
Of course, to make things complete, we
ahould have with it the return of "Dot Leedle
Scherman Band" that once paraded the city m
streets to the delight of every kid in Wash
ington. especially the jolly, rotund, red-faced
man who played the tuba bass and occasion
ally dropped in a minor for a natural, es
pecially if he were playing the Lauterbach
song or "O du Lieber Augustin," particular
favorites with these musicians.
Indeed, it might be seasonable to reintro
duce some of the old drinking songs, now
aim' ft forgotten, but known to every old-timer,
such as "Brown October Ale," sung by W. H.
MacDonald of the Bo^toniaa* 1.406 times
during the first 13 years that DeKoven and
Smith's tuneful opera "Robin Hood," was
sung on the stage. Perhaps you recall the
finale—see if you do not. It went like this:
"Yes, laugh lads, and quafl lads,
'Twill make you stout and hale!
Thro" all my days I'll sing the praise
Of brown October ale."
Then there was that German drinking song
»-made famous by that great American basso,
Myron W. Whitney—entitled in English,
"Down Deep Within the Cellar"; in German,
''Im TiefTen Keller Sitz' Ich Hier."
It is only natural for the present generation
to speak of this basso or that basso as being
the greatest of the great, and perhaps they
are not to blame, for. after all, they speak
of present-day talent, and may never have
heard Myron Whitney. Eugene Oowles and
others of our own country, and Edooard de
Beszke from abroad.
Mr. Whitney has living a son and namesake,
Ivho makes Washington his home, and who,
like his father, is greatly interested in music.
If our thirsty Washingtonians are not In
terested in some of the older drinking songs,
there are other more recent stein songs which
always help to cheer the soul and add to the
enthusiasm of the occasion; one ends with:
"F*>r it's always fair weather
k When good fellows get together.
With a stein on the table
And a good song ringing clear."
r:E writer has not before him the number
of beer saloons in the District before the
town went dry—officially dry. But the city
Directory for 18S9 lists under the heading,
"Restaurants and Saloons." just 480 places,
fend it is probable that the total number of
beer licenses ere long will at least equal one
tor every gasoline station in the city—and
surely that ought to be abundance.
Seriously, whatever may happen, venditions
can hardly be worse than they have keen dur
ing the last decade, when everything was sup
posed to be dry, and when, In reality, accord
ing to conservative estimates, there fere more
Hitwy Branch Holcl. Hri f>litinn»l. uhit'h stood w*vt of C.oioratlo tUHtnii' aml
south of Kennedy street. 4 uoll kmmn thirst rm prtrium of hygofw risyt.
ainaU-ur brewers in Wishiiidton than there
were Federal employees, and no one was par
ing a license or revenue tax.
The manufacture of clear beer, we are told,
is of very high antiquity, and is a-scribed by
Herodotus to the invention of Isis. The Egyp
tians made a drink of tills character and Xer.o
phon mentions it as being used in Armenia,
while the Gauls were early acquainted with
it. At a much later date, the Pilgrims brought
a stock of it along with them to this country,
and when their own supply ran out. that. too.
on Christmas day, and the skipper observed
the passengers drinking water, in the good
ness of his heart he gave of his own private
stock, and so. to quote the words of our an
cestors. "We had at divers times, now and
then, some beer."
The real lager beer—so called because it was
usually kept for four to six months before
being used—If not originally made in Germany,
at least reached its perfection of manufacture
there, where hops for this purpose are raised
in great quantities, as personally observed by
the writer last Summer while traveling through
In the early days of Washington, before com
pressed yeast was used, hop yeast and potato
yeast were almost entirely, if not exclusively,
Thus *u due to the great demand (or it from
the soldiers and sutlers, and then everything
including stale bread, was acded as a tiller.
Prom the first, even hotels and boarding houses
served it at meals covered with a nice sauce,
and Anally the bakers of other cities grasped
the idea, and we are told that even such
well-known places as the A*tor House, In New
York City, served it upon occasions.
Of course, this did not go with beer, like
prelsels. rye bread and cheese. and its sale was
generally confined to children, when its popu
larity was on the wane.
LOOKING back into the history of the early
days of the Capitol, the writer And* that
as early as 1797 a building of stone was com
pleted in the square bounded by Twenty-first
Twenty-second, B street and the Potomac
River, and In It ik established a brewery by
C. Conmgham ti Co. The C. Coningham
w an Dr. Cornelius Coningham. a native of
England and the company James Greenleaf,
who erected the building for the brewery, and,
indeed, in conjunction with Robert Morris,
Thomas Law and others, bought more of the
city's lots than he could pay for. Just before
!he crisis came, when he was forced to enter
the debtor's Jail, he turned over to his brother
Keru'in's Brewery, j\ street, bet ween First and Second norlhircst. later a public
school and first home of the ISatioruU Homeopathic Hospital.
used in the making of bread, and many fami
lies grew their Winter's supply of hops in their
own gardens. Two or three cents' worth of
potato yeast—if hops could not be had—was
sufficient for the making of a batch of bread.
It was about the consistency of cream and was
generally procurable at the beer saloons
throughout the city, as well as quite likely at
bakeries and other places.
This was during the period of half a century
ago, when Washington pie was still considered
by many—especially the youngsters—as a
luxury. Indeed many of those whose scruples
prevented them from tasting beer were not
so particular about Washington pie. which was
made of scraps of cakes and pastries of all
kinds, and not very wholesome as food. Milk
and water were added to this conglomerated
mass, a few raisins thrown in—just for ap
pearance sake—and it was then baked in sheets
about an inch thick, in large iron pans. A
nickel would buy about as much as a
healthy boy could eat, and 20 cents would
buy a whole panful.
Those who lived here before and during the
Civil War say that, as originally made, it was
very fine, though it fell into disrepute during
the early sixties when certain bakers, in their
efforts to produce great quantities of it. were
not very careful as to what it was composed of.
in-law. John Appleton, his interest ill the
In the Washington Gazette of 1796 appears
an advertisement telling of this brewery, which
Strong Beer at 6 dote. Table
do, at 3 dols. Hops, (rains
and Yeast, likewise
of a superior quality now ready
for sale by
C. Coningham ft Co.
Who will give a generous price for
Rye and Barley."
The site of this old brewery, as near as can
be judged, was in the block now occupied by
the National Academy of Science Building.
George Watteraton places this brewery where
the glass house was afterward erected, and a
very early newspaper item tells us that the
glass house was near the Potomac River in
square 89, between Twenty-first and Twenty
second streets west, and informs us:
"The window glass made at this factory was
superior to most glass made in the country,
and was held by the glaziers and others in
high estimation. This factory stood near a
wharf where, some 75 years ago, ships
of considerable burden were accustomed
to anchor. The channel has been filled up
by the deposit of sediment. brought down the
river, and a new one has been formed on the
Virginia side. This part of the city was
originally called Hamburg, and afterward
FunbUiwn, from an old Dutchman who was
ambitious of having his name (Punk) trans
mitted to posterity. He moved to near Haters
town, Md.. and had his ambition re
warded by giving his name to the small village
of Funkstown. Near a rock in the river, west
of the factory. Gen. Braddock is said to have
landed with his army, on hts way to the West.
It was called by the old citizens Braddock's
rock, and the place near it Braddock's Land
Coningham did not conduct his Washington
brewery very long at the original site, but soon
sold out and removed to the Southeast, or Navy
Yard section, where he continued in business for
some time. He then had the only brewery in
the city, as the brewery of Herford A: Sons,
which stood about on the site of the old Marble
Saloon, a little west of Ninth street, on Pennsyl
vania avenue, was probably not u e:l subsequent
to 1808. This site is now occupitd by the De
partment of Justice Building.
T was not far from the brewery of C. Con
ingham & Co. that Christian Heurich, many
years later, erected considerable of a plant.
However, he began the manufacture of beer at
1229 Twentieth street northwest, on rather a
imall, scale in 1872, a year after he came to
Washington. According to an old sketch of
him. published in 1884. nearly half a century
ago. we are told he is a native of Germany,
where he was born September 12. 1842. When
he came to the United States in 186G, he fin*
obtained employment at his trade as a brewer
in Chicago, later going to Kansas and then
Baltimore before coming here
When he left BUrope, he was an overseer in
the world-renowned brewery of A. Dreher, of
Vienna, and had learned the manufacture at
the malted beverage from the ground up. As far
back as 50 years ago the people of Washing
ton were consuming over 50 000 barrels of his
Mr. Heurich is one of Uie vice presidents of
the Association <»f Oldest Inhabitants, and at
nearly 91 gives every indication of being with
us for some vears to come He is as straight as
an arrow still has a beard and a good suit of
hair, which is still more black than white, and
although he is not a regular attendant at the
monthly meetings, yet rarelr missev those of a
If indications prove correct, the people of
Georgetown aid not have to come to the FVderal
City, even at this early day. to quench their
thirst, for it is probable that Caesar Lowry, or
some unidentified person was conducting a
brewery somewhere yn P street, west of Thirty
fifth. as early as 1800. if not, then in later days
they surely sold abundance of drinkables at
Green Springs, on the Conduit road, and Cabin
John Hotel surely made s fair reputation along
In Washington, the amusemt-iu places and
summer gardens supplied beer as an added at
traction, and some even provided a dance
pavilion on special occasions and a vaudeville
show besides. Of these, no doubt the first in
importance was the old Schuetwn Park on
Georgia avenue to the north of Howard Uni
versity. and not far behind it in reputation was
Beyer's Park, now the Ameriran League base
OF course, there were earlier Summer par
rien-s and parks throughout the District,
generally conducted Mid patronized by the
German residents, although they always had
plenty of company from other Wa.shin^tonians
not of Teutonic origin to help them be merry
and while away the time. The fir>t place of
this kind in the city, of which tlie writer has
knowledge, is recorded by Christian Hines as
being in the Southwest section.
"Among the earliest settlers of Washington."
he says, "was a Mr. Jacobs a stone-cutter, who
lived on the east side of Seventh street, between
B street south and Maryland avenue, on what
is now called the Island. He was the proprietor
of a large plat of ground—perhaps the greater
part, of a square. This piece of ground was
known by the name of "Spring Garden." Here
Mr. Jacobs kept a house of entertainment
somewhat similar to the numerous restau-ants
which now abound in our city. I recollect there
were, on the opposite side of the street, at that
time < 180:T or 1803> several large oak trees, on
which were suspended two or three swings in
tended for the amusement of young people. Mr.
Jacobs' family consisted, at that time, of three
bo\s—Michael. Jasper and Philip. He did not
continue there long, and I could never leam.
to a certainty, what became of the family, but
I ha\e understood that they moved to Frederick
County. Md. There was another per* on
living with him. or in the house adjoining,
named Henry Orandorff. This property, I be
lieve. was afterward purchased and occupied by
the late Mr. Hepburn. With some of the younger
members of the family we were well ac
quainted. especially the sons. I thin': John was
In the war of 1812."
Pearce's. on the we*t .side of Fourteenth
street, probably between S and T streets. Is
recorded at least as early as 1848. In IMS
Sea ton's Garden was given as at the north
end of Sixth street: three years later it was
at the west side erf Sixth street between K
and L. (It is quite probable that in IMS
there were practically no improvements ncrUi
of L street along the line of Sixth, and there
fore this would be the same designation.)
OUT where now is Brightwoud—called be
fore the Civil War Crystal Spring—was
a tract of land to the southwest of Colorado
avenue and Kennedy street, much used by
the German families as picnic grounds. Hie
Piney Branch race track was established there
in 1859, and what the nearby copious spring
could not provide in order to make up a Ger
man Summer outing the refreshment counter
at the Piney Branch Hotel always kept on
Hand for this purpose.
For years, and until the Schuetaen Park «a