Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Rise and Fall of Market Street Brewery (Part 1)

The recent news of development plans with the property at 10th and Market was great to hear. It’s also a commonly known fact that the site used to be a brewery. Luckily, I’d also recently acquired the book Louisville Breweries by Peter R. Guetig & Conrad D. Selle (get your copy at Destinations Booksellers today). Put all this together, along with a little curiosity on my part, and we’ve got the makings for another Our History posting.

The brewery was established by Peter Buchheit in 1856. It was known as Market Street Brewery. The Buchheit family lived in the home at the corner of 10th and Market (lost to fire in the 1990’s). The brewery operation was right outside their back door. The operation spanned nearly the entire block on the west side of 10th Street between Market and Spring Street.

Excerpts from an 1877 Ledger article provide a nice overview of the brewery operation.

The New Albany Ledger Standard, February 21st 1877

His (Mr. Buchheit) beer is known and greedily guzzled in New Albany and far beyond her confines. This gentleman has met with considerable misfortune by the destruction of his establishment in 1875 by fire. Being a man of great nerve he at once set about and rebuilt, and today has a larger and better brewery than ever. It is built mostly of brick, with iron roofs, and the arrangements and conveniences are better than formerly.

The brewery is complete in every department, and has capacity of making ten thousand barrels of beer annually. Last year Mr. B sold nearly 4,000 barrels, and paid the Government $1 each for the privilege. The best material is used for the manufacture of the beverage, the best barely, California hops, &c. A very convenient elevator is arranged in the main building, and grain and other articles are speedily and safely hoisted and lowered from and to the different floors and cellars.

Mr. B has expended a large sum of money and may be considered among the large manufacturers in the city. The large and deep cellars connected with this brewery are stored with lager made during the cold weather and it will be kept cool during the summer months by being completely surrounded by ice. The ice house at the brewery contains about 609 tons, and another on the Jeff railroad above the city contains fully 1,000 tons.

The fire referenced above is described in another Ledger article below.

The New Albany Ledger Standard, September 22nd 1875

This morning at 6 ½ o’clock, the alarm of fire was sounded and it was discovered that the extensive brewery of Peter Buchheit was on fire.

When the alarm was given the three engines, the Sanderson, Jefferson and Washington, were prompt in action, and did efficient work in subduing the flames, which required three quarters of an hour. The cause of the fire is not known.

The citizens gathered from all quarters and rendered timely assistance. The building contained two thousand bushels of malt and a quantity of barley. The basement was filled with beer, which will be damaged by becoming heated. The malt, which was consumed, is valued at $2,500, barley valued at $1,000.

A snapshot of the Sanborn insurance map below (from 1886) shows the layout of the brewery in great detail (in 1884 the brewery had been acquired by Julius Gebhard and Company). The right side of the map is 10th Street and the bottom is Market.

You’ll note that in the lower middle of the image there’s a structure noted as a dancing hall. Also nearby is another structure noted as a saloon (this is 911 E. Market which is currently for sale – visit to buy). A dance hall, saloon, and brewery all in close proximity – how cozy!

Here's a close up of the brewery operation.

In part 2 of this post we’ll examine the buildings on the site today (one structure there does remain from the brewery days), the evolution of the site and the brewery operation.


The New Albanian said...

Ted, you've taken this to a whole different level with your research. Conrad didn;t uncover this much. I'm very excited, and will link my blogs to this when you're finished.

TedF said...

Orginally, I just wanted to set the record straight on the brewery site and the buildings still around. And to give Mr. Castille a small write up of the brewery history. I've been pleased to find more info than I thought I would. It was a much larger brewery operation than I had imagined.

Part 2 may take a few days to finish up.

Richard Williams said...

Thanks Ted for your wonderful information on my GGgrandfathers Brewery. Peter (really born Jean Pierre in Schweyen, Lorraine, France) was it seems, quite an addition to the New Albany area. He married Barbara Helgrien (sp) 6 Aug 1850.
I will be going to Schweyen in Sept. and I understand Peter's fathers house is the only original house still standing after WW II.Thank you again Ted for your insight.

TedF said...

Richard - what a pleasure it is to hear from you. I will continue research on the brewery site and post more info as I get it.

Have a great trip to Schweyen. If you can, please email a photo of the home to me?

Also, if you have any further info on your great-grandfathers time in New Albany, please share with me.

Talk to you soon.

Richard Williams said...

I found the connection to the "beerhouse" picture. I guess I should read things first before sticking foot in mouth! LOL
Maybe the Historical Society will find more pictures of the house and the Brewery.
Thanks for information Ted. You are doing a great job!!!
Cheers, Richard

Anonymous said...

We live in the Brewery at the present time. We were told by past tenants that have been in tunnels and took pictures that there is nothing in the tunnels..They just lead on and on..

Anonymous said...

As you quote from The New Albany Ledger Standard, February 21st 1877, can you help me find The New Albany Ledger-Standard, 9 Oct 1877, p. 1, col. 4? It supposedly has an obituary of my 3rd great-grandfather, George Starbuck.