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4. The Early 1900s:
THE LATER RIEDLIN YEARS (1900 - 1918)

By 1900 the population growth in Cincinnati was still increasing, but not as significantly as in other cities. As a result, its population was no longer ranked within the top 10 largest cities in the U.S., as it had been for several previous decades. The population of Covington was also growing, but also not at the same pace as previously. Nevertheless, both areas still maintained significant population gains in the beginning of the 20th century. At the same time the U.S. was experiencing population growth, the industrial revolution was also transforming America in the 1800s and early 1900s. Electricity, the telephone and the combustion engine began having profound impacts upon America and other countries in the late 1800s. Even though automobiles were being built in the mid-1890s, it wasn't until 1908 that Henry Ford utilized assembly lines and introduced the Model-T until 1908. This not only had a strong stimulating effect to the U.S. economy, but it caused a transformation allowing people to more easily travel and reside outside of major cities. These changes influenced many industries. Some companies, like the Bavarian Brewing Co., took advantage of them. 

THE BREWERY CONTINUES TO EXPAND

In the 1880s and 1890s the brewery expanded with new buildings on its narrow site. However, it began to exceed the capacities of these structures by the beginning in the 20th Century. Consequently, in early 1903, a newspaper article entitled "BIG" indicated that the brewery announced plans to make it one of the largest and finest in the country. Buildings were designed to consist of a new bottling house 45 x 151 feet, a two-story stable 46 x 188 feet, and a stock house. The stables were constructed first, and the stock house thereafter. In conjunction with this construction, the brewery would also need structures that would support the power needed to operate a larger brewery, such as a new Engine Room, a Boiler House and a Tall stack. These support facilities would precede such other buildings that were contemplated, including a new ice house, a new bottling house and an executive office building. Therefore, a building program was conceived around 1900 that would take place in the coming decade, as discussed below.

PROPERTY ACQUISITIONS (Early 1900s)

However, a daunting challenge the brewery faced while anticipating this future development is that it was subject to land constraints. It was becoming landlocked in the middle of a block that included a combination of business and residential uses. The brewer needed to acquire some adjoining properties for the new structures it planned to build.  Even though discussions probably began in previous years, Bavarian officially did not acquire L.H. Deglow Tannery off of Pike Street, known as the "Tan Yard" property, until 1904.  It was acquired from the Louis and Julius Deglow family, and from George Lubrecht in another transaction that same year. Additional acquisitions occurred in 1906 and 1908 with purchases from Blanch and Carl Wiel, as well as Monika and Anton Ruh, respectively.  These acquisitions ultimately allowed the brewery to extend its site from what is shown on the accompanying 1894 Sanborn Insurance Map to what is shown on the 1909 map below. 

BAVARIAN WORKERS AS THE 1900s BEGIN

The Bavarian Brewing Co. was positing itself for significant growth when this picture of workers below was taken on December 19, 1902. With regards to some of the items in the photo, the sign in the center of the photo was made by the Cincinnati Sandblast Co. It was also used in other photos on this website of the Bavarian Rathskeller and Tap Room.  "The Stein," as it was sometimes referred to, was made by Mettlach in Germany and was also known as the "Germania Stein." The noted items are enlarged and shown on the right. Additionally, the barrel with the star indicates Bavarian Beer was made according to the German Purity Law, known as Reinheitsgebot.

1902. William Riedlin Sr. is standing second from the right and the brew master, Anton Ruh is to his right. William Riedlin Jr. is seated third from the right.

Stein & Sign c. 1900. Only a monochrome picture of the sign was available. However, it had bright colors on reverse glass with glue chip lettering in a zinc frame. The "Germania Stein" includes shields of various German states around the bottom. Click either image for more information and also see the Tap Room section for more steins. 

BUILDING CONSTRUCTION

The Bavarian Brewing Co. began a continuous building program between 1902 and 1913 consisting of nearly a dozen structures.  Some of the construction required the razing of a couple buildings, such as the original Bottling Department and the original brewery building. The new structures were much more functional and allowed the capacity of the brewery to be increased. Even though some buildings were separate from one another, such as the ice houses and the Bottling Department, most were connected. For example, the Stock House, its Addition, the Wash House, and the new Brew and Mill Houses were all connected together with interior access. However, they were also separately identified. Further, the new Office Building adjoined the original Mill and Brew Houses. Another group of connected buildings included the Engine Room and Boiler House. A listing of these buildings in chronological order is presented on the accompanying table. 

A lithograph c. 1912 and site map dated 1909 below both correspond to the chronological numbers on the side.  Each building is briefly discussed in the following. Most are accompanied by photographs obtained from the Kenton County Library and the Schott Collection at the Behringer-Crawford Museum.

A diligent effort was made to address each structure built in the early 1900s.  However, due to the gaps in historical evidence it is possible a couple have been omitted. If anyone has any information about any omissions, or believes we need to modify or add any descriptions, please contact us

 

Building Summary  (1902-13)

1.  Water Cooler & Ice Plant (1902)

 

2. Stables (1903)

3. Stock House - with Racking Room & Wash House (1903-5)

4.  Tall Stack (1906)

5.  Boiler House (1906)

6.  Engine Room (1907)

7.  Bottling Department (1908)

8. Ice Plant (c. 1908)

9.  Executive Office Building (1910)

 

10.  Brew & Mill Houses  (1912)

 

11. Stock House Addition (1913)

THE BREWERY COMPLEX BEFORE PROHIBITION

The initial structure for the Bavarian Brewery was located at 369 Pike Street. As it grew, the facilities were rebuilt to the south and to the north side of 12th Street, and also expanded to the west and the east.  This growth occurred during a period of substantial industrial evolution. In the more recent lithograph below (dated c. 1912), the building numbers correspond to those presented in the side bar above and with the descriptions below. Those buildings that are shown in red were removed; those shown in blue remained, although they were repurposed for non-brewery uses. 

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Lithograph.  The image below dates from c. 1912. The letters on it correspond to buildings described in the previous section, Early Riedlin Years. The numbers that correspond to the building descriptions below. Those number in red were demolished, but those in blue were repurposed and still exist. The lithographs above were prepared by the Cincinnati Lithograph Co. and were used on Bavarian Brewing Co. stationery. They were obtained from the Schott Collection at the Behringer-Crawford Museum. (See Stationery.) These lithographs were enlarged into a large wall exhibit now located on the second floor of the Kenton Co. Gov't Center. See Lithographs

1909 Sanborn Map.  This map above represents a site plan of the Bavarian Brewery around 1909 and provides another perspective of the brewery complex. Please note, the orientation of this site plan is from the opposite direction as the lithograph. (The lithograph is view to the south with W. Pike St. in the bottom, the top of the map faces north.) The numbers on the map correspond to the sidebar above, those numbers shown on lithograph on the left above and the descriptions below. The letters shown on both the lithograph and map are for those buildings constructed a decade or two earlier, as mentioned in 3. Early Riedlin Years. Additionally, please note that the 1909 map does not reflect the outlines of some of the buildings constructed around 1909 and afterwards such as the Brew & Mill Houses (10) and the Stock House Addition (11). 

In analyzing the above diagrams, please note the Original Brewery Plant (A) was replaced with an Ofiice Building (9) and the Bottling Plant (E) was razed and replaced with a new one (7). Several additional buildings were constructed while some of the other structures were used for other purposes. For example, in the lithograph the earlier Ice Plant F is not properly displayed; and the Engine & Boiler Houses (5 & 6) have too many stories and are not accurate.  The river shown is actually situated in the opposite direction, and a train on the far right in the lithograph would probably not have been visible from the view shown. For more details, please click on any of the images.

INDIVIDUAL BUILDING DESCRIPTIONS & IMAGES

Each of the buildings identified in the c. 1912 lithograph and in the 1909 Sanborn Map above are briefly described below.

1. Water Cooler & Ice Plant (1902)

The water cooler was a large structure built around 1902. It was situated just south of the Brew House. It helped produce up to 200 tons of ice daily and was powered by 90hp and 60hp engines. A photo of the tower is shown on the far left of the photo on the side. It was taken in 1911 while the Brew and Mill Houses, on the right, were being built. It is also shown in the site plan below, directly to the left of the Stock House.