Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Before the Ban Part 2 - Pre-Prohibition Baltimore Breweries - The August Beck/Frank Steil Brewery

Now long forgotten to history, Baltimore was once a major brewing city with over 45 breweries operating at one time. In this series, I hope to bring to life this long lost history.

The August Beck's Lager Beer Brewery was established on Garrison Road, now South Franklintown Road by August Beck in 1861.

August Beck's Lager Beer Brewery 1869

Beck was born in 1821 in Rottenburg, Wurtenburg and was married to Frederica Beck.
Employing 12-15 men, in 1878 the brewery sold 7,706 barrels of beer and in 1879 it sold 6,935 barrels of beer.

1887 Advertisement 
By the time of Back's death in 1880, the brewery complex consisted of a number of buldings. There was a recently built 40'x40' dwelling house with a mansard roof and a two story 24'x24' brick back building which served as the residence of August Beck. There was a two story brick 40'x140' beer brewery, beer cellar, engine house, office and ice house.Just north of Beck's dwelling house was a two story brick house which was used as a dwelling house and a beer saloon. Behind this was a 24'x120' two story brick building used as a stable and adjoining this was a 24'x70' brick wagon shed. At the rear of the property was a 40'x95' large frame "sommerhaus" built for and used as a beer and concert hall. Also on the property was a brick stable for cows, a small frame cooper shop and an open frame shed. The brewery itself contained 8 large fermenting tubs of 300 barrels each and 16 fermenting tubs of 600 barrels each, 2 maish tubs, 2 large copper kettles and a beer cooler. There was also four large double and three single beer wagons. The brewery had the capacity to produce 10,000 to 12,000 barrels of beer per year.

1888 Advertisement

In 1881 the brewery was sold to August Beck, son of the founder.

John Marr, formerly of Bauernschmidt & Marr, bought the brewery in 1899 to run it as John Marr's Independent Brewery, under the management of Frank Steil. The brewery went bankrupt and in December 1900 was purchased by Steil, operating under the name of the Frank Steil Brewing Company. In 1913, Steil added a 45'x46' bottling house designed by George Repp.


With prohibition, the brewery was converted into a slaughter house and meat packing plant.

1908 Advertisement

Some of the brewery survives today. The most obvious survivor is the former house of August Beck built in 1875. The two story beer saloon and the row of buildings behind it were torn down sometime between 1983 and 2016. As late as 1983 the beer cellars below this row of buildings survived, but it is unknown if they survived the demolition of the buildings themselves. The brewhouse itself burned in 1969 and has been replaced by a more recent structure.




A. Beck's Brewery 1890
200 South Franklintown Road

Frank Steil Brewing Company (formerly A. Beck's Brewery) 1901
200 South Franklintown Road

Frank Steil Brewing Company (formerly A. Beck's Brewery) 1914
200 South Franklintown Road

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Before the Ban Part 1 - Pre-Prohibition Baltimore Breweries - The Bauernschmidt & Marr Spring Garden Brewery

Now long forgotten to history, Baltimore was once a major brewing city with over 45 breweries operating at one time. In this series, I hope to bring to life this long lost history.

The Spring Garden Brewery was established on Stowman's Hill by John Jacob Bauernschmidt  in 1859 as John Bauernschmidt's Lager Brewery. Bauernschmidt was born in 1830 in Wambach, Bavaria and was married to Elizabeth Marr Bauernschmidt. Bauernschmidt enlarged the brewery several times, adding a saloon and inn before his death in 1879. The brewery originally featured wood fired copper kettles and cypress wash tubs. In 1878 the brewery sold 12,017 barrels of beer and in 1879 it sold 10,037 barrels of beer.

John Bauernschmidt's Lager Beer Brewery 1869



Bird's Eye View of John Bauernschmidt's Lager Beer Brewery 1869

After Bauernschmidt's death, his wife's brother, John Marr, joined the brewery operating as Bauernschmidt & Marr.


Elizabeth Bauernschmidt died in 1886 and the brewery was purchased in 1889 by British interests. Marr continued to manage the brewery under the name Bauernschmidt & Marr's Spring Garden Brewery.


Baltimore American News 1886 Advertisement

The name of the brewery changed again in 1892, now known as Baltimore Breweries Company Ltd.'s Spring Garden Brewery.

Baltimore American News 1894 Advertisement


In 1902 it was purchased by Frank Steil Brewing Company, becoming its Spring Garden Brewery. In 1903 the brewery closed, and was purchased in 1905 by the Mount Vernon Brewing Company of New Jersey, reopening in 1906 as the Mount Vernon Brewery. They built a 72'x40' one story bottling plant along Ridgely Street in 1905 built by B.W. &E. Minor and designed by W.L. Minor. The brewery fell into receivership and was sold to L.F. Ruth, R. Marietta and Clair Stellwagon. In 1908 the brewery was bought by Conrad Eurich, but it went into receivership that same year and closed for good in 1909. Then in 1909 the brewery was sold Gustav A. Bachman who planned to open the site as the Consumers Brewing Company of Baltimore City. In 1911 it was again sold at a receivers sale. In 1912, Joseph H. Straus and Alexander L. Straus were rumored to buy the Mount Vernon Brewery to operate it as an independent brewery, but they bought the Standard Brewery instead.


Today parts of the brewery still remain. Bauernschmidt's house, which also some of his workers, was built in the early 1870's, but was torn down some time between 1980 and 2016. It was a three and a half story, almost cubical, brick house, five bays wide on all sides, with a hipped roof. Marr lived in this house until at least 1890. But 1901 the first floor was being used for bottling with lodging rooms above.

A 14 bay long brick bottling plant lies along Ridgely Street. It appears that the brew house also survives on this site.

Bauerschmidt and Marr Brewery 1890
1500 Ridgely Street

 Spring Garden Brewery (formerly the Bauerschmidt and Marr Brewery) 1901
1500 Ridgely Street

 Site of the Mt. Vernon Brewing Company (formerly the Spring Garden Brewery) 1914
1500 Ridgely Street

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