Journal News, Sunday, June 2, 1991
Mason brewery part of Hamilton's frothy history
By Jim Blount
After an absence of 50 years, brewing has returned to Butler County this year with the opening of the Miller Brewing Co. facility between Hamilton and Trenton. The last beer-producing company to operate here was located in a structure on the west side of South C Street, just north of Millikin Street.
Although it had several owners and a series of names, the building at 365 South C Street was best known as the Mason Brewery.
Daniel Beck and John Koeninger built a brewery on the site in 1852, then in the town of Rossville, which would merge with Hamilton in 1855.
In 1853 the brewery was destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt in 1854 by Jacob Stahl, who operated it until 1869. Other owners included Henry Egger and H.P. Deuscher.
During its early existence, it was known as the Rossville Brewery.
Its most prosperous period began in 1886, when 30-year-old Martin Mason became involved in its ownership and operations.
Mason was born Oct. 1, 1856 in Hamilton, one of eight children of Martin and Barbara Mason. His parents, both immigrants from Germany, ran a boarding house at Third and Court streets in Hamilton.
Mason held a series of jobs in Hamilton before joining Herman Reutti, his father-in-law, in the malting business of Mason & Reutti on Maple Avenue.
In 1886, Mason joined H. P. Deuscher in a partnership in the Rossville Brewery, and a year later he acquired Deuscher's interest.
As its sole owner, Mason invested $50,000 in improvements and expanded the brewery's capacity to 20,000 barrels a year. Brewery employment increased from eight to 25 people in the next 15 years.
Because Mason used Eagle as a brand name for his beer, the brewery was known as the Eagle Brewery. An 1888 advertisement called it the Eagle Brewing Co., with Martin Mason as proprietor.
In 1896 it was incorporated as the Martin Mason Brewing Co., under the leadership of Martin Mason and William F. Mason. Later, Charles E. Mason and William O. Schlosser also were associated with the company. (Martin, William F. and Charles E. Mason were brothers.)
In Hamilton, Martin Mason also was an officer of the Miami Valley National Bank, and a member of the board of education for four terms. He married Lillian F. Reutti on Feb. 6, 1879. They were the parents of two children.
Health problems forced Martin Mason to leave Hamilton in the fall of 1898 for the wanner climates of El Paso, Tex. and Tucson, Ariz. He died in Tucson Feb. 3, 1900, but his body was returned to Hamilton for burial at Greenwood Cemetery.
The Mason Brewery was the only Butler County brewery to continue in business when Prohibition began in May 1919.
The Cincinnati Brewing Co. at South Front and Sycamore streets in Hamilton, and the Sebald Brewing Co. in Middletown closed when a constitutional amendment and state and federal legislation imposed severe restrictions on the manufacture, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages.
The Hamilton Beverage Co. produced "near beer" in the Mason building until April 1929, when owner John Kiessling closed because of a lack of business.
When Prohibition ended in December 1933, production resumed at the South C Street brewery as the Hamilton Brewing Co.
In December 1936 about 25 people were employed there, and its featured products were beer and ale in half-gallon and gallon jugs, while demand was increasing for bottled beer for home delivery.
In November 1939 the Hamilton Brewing Co. was placed in receivership at the request of its principal stockholder. The company continued to produce its Old Hollander beer and ale until operations ended in 1941.
Later, the former brewery was used by Landmark (Butler County Farm Bureau Cooperative) until the building's demolition.
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Journal News, Sunday, June 9, 1991
1932 interurban accident killed nine
By Jim Blount
Nine people died in the summer of 1932 in the deadliest accident in nearly 42 years of electric-powered interurban train operation in Butler County.
About nine others were injured in the crash on the Cincinnati & Lake Erie line near the Elk Creek curve, about one and one-half mile north of the Trenton station.
The toll could have been higher if the usual number of weekday Hamilton commuters had been on board the morning of Thursday, June 30,1932.
C&LE officials said the early run was hauling few of the 10 Hamiltonians who usually rode to jobs as far away as Dayton.
Six of the nine victims died at the crash scene, including the two motormen — a Hamilton man piloting the single northbound passenger unit and a Miamisburg man driving the southbound freight.
Seven of the dead were passengers on the northbound car.
They were: a married couple from Hamilton, both 30 years old; a father and son from Trenton, ages 52 and 22; a 27-year-old Overpeck man, an interurban employee; a 22-year-old Trenton woman, who was the daughter of the C&LE ticket agent in Hamilton; and a 52-year-old Hamilton man.
The couple included a Hamilton streetcar motorman, who was still, recovering from serious injuries suffered two years earlier in the car barn on Williams Avenue in Hamilton.
The father and son were on their way to work for the C & LE at its Moraine shop south of Dayton. The father had worked for the interurban line for 33 years.
The injured included the conductor on the freight, who jumped just before the collision, and a 59-year-old Busenbark man, who had been a blacksmith for the C&LE for 30 years.
Both the 26-ton passenger car and the two-unit freight, totaling 40 tons, were traveling at least 40 mph when the heavier freight plowed two-thirds of the way through the passenger car.
The passenger interurban had left the Lindenwald car barn in Hamilton at 6:07 a.m. and departed downtown Hamilton at about 6:15 a.m. It was scheduled to arrive in Dayton at 7:50 a.m.
Investigators said the northbound interurban with 14 passengers was in the wrong location.
The 56-year-old Hamilton motorman — who had been married the previous Saturday — had received a written order while in Hamilton, directing him to enter a siding north of Trenton so the two-car southbound freight would have the right-of-way.
No one is certain if the motorman ignored the stop order, misunderstood it or was unable to execute the move that would have prevented the crash, estimated to have occurred between 6:40 and 6:50 a.m.
Some passengers said that after the Trenton stop, the motorman's head was down until seconds before the head-on collision. But they weren't sure if the 32-year interurban veteran was dozing or ill.
One survivor said the motorman looked up just before the collision, possibly because of the screams of a woman passenger. The surviving conductor on the freight said the motorman on that train sounded his horn and was braking before the crash.
Cleanup work — aided by crews and equipment from the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad — blocked the interurban line between Trenton and Middletown for more than 13 hours.
As might be expected, the tangled wreckage attracted spectators. Safety officials estimated that more than 2,000 people visited the crash scene, which wasn't close to a road.
The site was so remote that the dead and seriously injured were removed in interurban cars to Middletown, where they were met by ambulances.
Some of the injured were reported to have walked two miles back to Trenton to seek assistance.
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Journal-News, Sunday, June 16, 1991
YMCA camp named for Campbell Gard
By Jim Blount
The YMCA's Camp Campbell Gard is named for a World War I airman who was the son of a Hamilton newspaper publisher. The camp on Augspurger Road in St. Clair Township was dedicated in 1927, six years after the death of Charles Campbell Gard.
Gard died the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 25, 1921, at his desk in the newsroom of the Hamilton Evening Journal (later to become the Journal-News).
A newspaper report said Gard "was preparing for a trip to Cincinnati, and was engaged in the editorial rooms in the final preparation of some copy," when he collapsed and died.
He died a few days before his scheduled marriage to Miss Helen Raymond of Wyoming, Ohio. He planned to obtain the marriage license on his trip to Cincinnati that day.
Among those attending the private burial of the World War I veteran in Greenwood Cemetery were two former Ohio governors from Butler County — James E. Campbell and James M. Cox.
The 26-year managing editor and vice president of the Journal Publishing Co. was born Jan. 13, 1895, in Hamilton, the only child of Homer and Lutie Mathias Gard.
He graduated from Hamilton High School in 1913, and attended Amherst College for a year before completing a one-year journalism course at the University of Wisconsin.
He then returned to Hamilton to join his father in publishing the daily newspaper, working in several departments to learn the business until World War I interrupted his career.
In July 1917 he enlisted in Battery E, First Ohio Field Artillery, in Cincinnati. In September 1917 he was sent to officer training camp at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis.
After earning his commission as a second lieutenant, he returned to the artillery battery and was sent to Camp Funston in Kansas and later to Columbia, S. C.
When volunteers were sought for the Army air service, Gard responded and was trained at Fort Sill in Oklahoma and at Selfridge Field, near Detroit, before nine months of overseas duty in France and along the German border.
At the end of his nine-month term, Campbell Gard returned to Hamilton and resumed his newspaper career, the heir apparent to his father, Homer Gard, who had purchased the Hamilton Daily Democrat Sept. 21, 1901. (The newspaper's name was changed to the Hamilton Evening Journal in 1908, and to the Journal-News in 1933.)
Jan. 15, 1926, Mr. and Mrs. Homer Gard announced their gift of a 30-acre site along the Great Miami River, about six miles northeast of Hamilton, to the Hamilton YMCA to be used as a camp for young people.
Mr. and Mrs. Gard, in a letter to the YMCA, said they intended the camp as "a memorial to our boy, Charles Campbell Gard," and asked "that it always be available for boys and girls of any age, color or religion."
The camp was dedicated Friday, July 1, 1927, featuring remarks by former Gov. James M. Cox of Dayton and Charles P. Taft II of Cincinnati, son of William Howard Taft, a former president and chief justice of the United States.
John L. Prosser, secretary of the Hamilton YMCA, said the YMCA had opened a more primitive camp on Four Mile Creek 13 years earlier.
"We had several old tents, an oil stove with only two burners and first aid kit consisting of a bottle of iodine and some gauze," Prosser recalled during the dedication ceremonies.
When it opened in 1927, the new camp had 20 buildings, including a 20-foot by 80-foot dining hall with electric stoves and refrigeration; five lodges, each housing 11 campers and a leader; a recreational building "for rainy days"; an informal playground for games; and a guest house "equipped with hot and cold shower baths."
Homer Gard continued to support the YMCA — and especially the camp — until his death Oct. 8, 1952, at the age of 86. His first wife, the mother of Campbell Gard, died May 15, 1934.
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Journal-News, Sunday, June 23, 1991
Interurban system relied on powerhouse
By Jim Blount
In recent decades, the Hamilton Powerhouse recreation complex in Lindenwald has meant softball and tennis competition. It also has been the location of safety lessons conducted by the Hamilton Safety Council for youngsters.
But for 20 years the powerhouse generated power to propel Hamilton streetcars and interurban trains between Cincinnati and Dayton.
The Powerhouse site is between Williams, Power and Fairview avenues and Neilan Boulevard, the latter built after most of the building was razed.
When the powerhouse was built, Lindenwald was a growing community south of the Hamilton corporate limits. Lindenwald leaders agreed to annexation by Hamilton in May 1907.
The two-story, concrete powerhouse was built in 1906 by the Ohio Electric Railway Company.
The Lindenwald powerhouse replaced earlier generating stations at Symmes Corner, then a rural area in Fairfield Township, south of Hamilton, and at Busenbark in St. Clair Township, north of Hamilton and south of Trenton.
The Lindenwald plant also sold electricity to industries as far away as Richmond, Ind., and West Carrollton.
Its steam turbines generated 33,000 volts and. distributed the power through seven substations along the interurban line, according to newspaper reports.
The tower — the only remaining part of the powerhouse — stored water drawn from the Great Miami River, just west of the site.
The water was used in coal-fired broilers and then returned to the river. The complex burned an average of 170 tons of coal a day.
Coal reached the powerhouse via a railroad siding that extended along Williams Avenue from the main line of the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad (later the Baltimore & Ohio, the Chessie System and now CSX).
The contents of the rail cars were dumped into a pit on the west side of the powerhouse. A bucket crane lifted the coal to bunkers that fed it into the fire boxes.
At its completion, the powerhouse was reported to have included 10 400-horsepower boilers carrying a pressure of 170 pounds and fitted with stokers; three 350-watt rotary converters producing 625 volts of direct current; three 1,500-kilowatt alternators with current raised by transformers from 370 to 33,000 volts; and a 750-watt generator.
Ohio Electric operated the Lindenwald powerhouse until April 26, 1918, when the interurban system was acquired by the Cincinnati & Dayton Traction Company.
It changed hands again May 6, 1926, when the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Company bought the business.
That same year the new owner abandoned the Lindenwald powerhouse. Instead, the company began powering its interurban and streetcar lines with electricity provided by the Union Gas & Electric Company.
The powerhouse machinery was salvaged in 1930 by its next owner, the Cincinnati & Lake Erie Railway Company, which took over operation of the transportation lines Jan. 1, 1930.
The powerhouse had been a relic of the traction era for nearly 13 years when the C&LE interurban left Hamilton May 13, 1939.
In October 1943, during World War II, the property was donated to the city of Hamilton by the Hamilton City Lines, a bus company that was a subsidiary of C&LE.
The city began converting the site to a playground and softball diamond.
Demolition of the powerhouse — except for the cement tower — was completed in January 1951.
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Journal-News, Sunday, June 30, 1991
'Mad Anthony' Wayne more than mad
(This is the first of four columns on the career of Gen. Anthony Wayne in this region.)
By Jim Blount
General "Mad Anthony" Wayne — whose name is synonymous with military success in Ohio — established his reputation as a meticulous organizer and aggressive leader during the American Revolution.
He was born Jan. 1, 1745, in Waynesboro, Chester County, Pa., the only child of Isaac and Elizabeth Wayne. He married Mary Penrose March 25, 1766; she was the daughter of a Philadelphia merchant.
Wayne, who had worked as a surveyor, was a successful farmer and operator of a tannery, and a member of Pennsylvania's colonial house of representatives on the eve of the revolution.
He began protesting British actions in July 1774 and — despite a lack of formal military training and experience — was given command responsibilities by the Continental Congress.
Wayne helped organize a regiment from Chester County that became the Fourth Pennsylvania Battalion. He was appointed its colonel Jan. 3, 1776, and was promoted to brigadier-general Feb. 21, 1777.
During the revolution, he led troops from Canada to Georgia and participated in many major campaigns and battles, serving at various times under and with George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Nathanael Greene, Arthur St. Clair, Richard Butler, Henry Knox, Friedrich von Steuben and the Marquis de Lafayette.
Wayne's most notable feat was bis July 15-16, 1779, surprise attack and capture of Stony Point, N. Y., a British stronghold overlooking the Hudson River.
When the revolution ended, he was respected as an officer who insisted on discipline and intense training for his soldiers — traits that later made a difference in his campaign against the Indians in the Northwest Territory.
His nickname, "Mad Anthony," usually is attributed to his boldness, bordering on imprudence, in battle. But a recent biographer, Paul David Nelson, believes Wayne's success went beyond aggressiveness.
"Contrary to common belief, his ability as a soldier rested not upon some wild-eyed enthusiasm, but a natural flair for leading troops and a sensible recognition that his success as an Army commander hinged upon adherence to military fundamentals such as planning and logistics," said Nelson, in Anthony Wayne, Soldier of the Early Republic.
Wayne didn't realize the same success in civilian life between 1783 and 1792. He failed as a rice farmer, and personal debts forced foreclosure on his property in Georgia.
During those years, he also served in the Pennsylvania General Assembly (1784) before moving to Georgia. There, he was a member of the state convention that ratified the U. S. Constitution (1788), and was elected to a short-lived term in Congress.
March 4, 1791, Wayne assumed his seat in the House of Representatives from Georgia, but he lost it 17 days later because of charges of irregularities in the election.
Military disasters in 1790 and 1791 in portions of the Northwest Territory (which would become Ohio and Indiana) opened the way for Wayne to return to the army.
President George Washington — Wayne's commander during much of the revolution — appointed Wayne major general and commander-in-chief of the frontier army March 5,1792.
Although he usually was based at either Fort Washington in Cincinnati or Fort Greenville, his assignment periodically brought Wayne to Fort Hamilton.
His army was successful on the battlefield in August 1794, and the next summer Wayne concluded the Treaty of Greenville, removing Indian threats from most of Ohio.
The 51-year-old major general died Dec. 15, 1796, at Presque Isle (now Erie), Pa. He is buried in the yard of St. David's Church in Radnor, Pa., where the inscription on his monument notes that "His military achievements are consecrated in the history of his country and in the hearts of his countrymen."
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