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Henry Weinhard - Brewer

Portrait of Henry Weinhard

BIOGRAPHY of HENRY WEINHARD
(1830-1904)

The following is from Harvey Scott's History of Portland, Oregon with illustrations and biographical sketches of prominent citizens and pioneers. Harvey Scott, Syracuse, New York: D. Mason & Co., 1890. pp. 637-638

Henry Weinhard, the leading and oldest brewer of Portland, was born in Lindenbroun, Wurtemberg, Germany, February 18, 1830. After serving a regular apprenticeship and working at the trade of a brewer in Stutgart and other places in Germany he came to the United States in 1851. He first secured employment at his trade in Philadelphia where he remained a year. He then went to Cincinnati and at the end of two hears removed to St. Louis, where he remained until 1856, when he came to California and for a short time was located at Sacramento City. In March, 1857, he entered the employ of the John Meney a brewer at Vancouver, Washington Territory, and superintended the erection and fitting up of a new brewery. In 1859 Mr. Weinhard bought the brewery from Mr. Meney, and for some four years successfully carried on the business at that point. In the meantime, in 1862, he bought out the Henry Saxer Brewery, the first established in Portland, and soon after, in partnership with George Bottler, established his present brewery, having at the time a controlling interest in the three breweries in this section of the country. In 1864 he sold out his brewery in Vancouver, and from that time has exclusively confined his operations to Portland. In 1866 Mr. Weinhard bought the interest of Mr. Bottler, and immediately commenced to improve and enlarge the plant, and from that time to the present has constantly  been increasing his facilities for meeting the demands of his trade. Refrigerating machines, malt and brew houses and cellars are models of their kind, and in their arrangements, throughout are as perfect as in any establishment in the country. The buildings are all of brick, and present a handsome and imposing appearance. The brewery occupies a whole square, and is the largest plant of its kind on the Pacific Slope north of San Francisco. In 1870 the output was less than 2,000 barrels, while for 1889 the total output was 40,000 barrels. With the exception of six years, when William Dillenger was a partner, Mr. Weinhard has been sole proprietor of 1866.

Mr. Weinhard was married in 1859 to Louisa Wagenblast. They have two daughters, the eldest of whom is the wife of Paul Wessinger, who is connected with Mr. Weinhard in the management of the brewery. As a business man Mr. Weinhard has been very successful. He is a member of the Masonic Order, and of various German societies in the city which are maintained for social purposes, and for the relief of distress countrymen. He is a man of generous impulses, and toward every benevolent enterprise cheerfully contributes. Among his own countrymen his popularity is very great. Every project to advance the interests of Portland finds in him a warm friend.

Three years after the preceding history was written, Henry's other daughter married. Miss Louise Henrietta Weinhard, married Henry Wagner on 21st of June, 1893.

A more complete biography was written for Henry's obituary in the Morning Oregonian, on Sept. 21, 1904:

Henry Weinhard, Pioneer Brewer, Dead
Henry Weinhard, the pioneer brewer of the Pacific Coast, whose name has become a household word in Oregon, died at 11:10 o'clock last night at the age of 74 years. He was suffering from an attack of uremic coma, the third with which he has been seized in recent years, and for several days his life has been despaired of. The disease stopped the action of his kidneys three days ago and he had been unconscious during that period, except for a slight glimmer yesterday afternoon. The end came without struggle and apparently without pain.

Mr. Weinhard was a typical Western man, with all the social qualities of the Western man and German. He succeeded by close application to a business which he made one of the largest industries of the city with a fame extending beyond the bounds of the United States. He was ready to lend to the city and state for the promotion of the success of the community the energy and ability which had made his own success, and he readily contributed to every charitable and public enterprise. As disease has crept upon him with age, he has gradually entrusted his business more and more to his sons in law, who have associated with him from their early manhood, so that thee will be no break in the management of his great interests. The arrangements for his funeral will probably made today. As he was a Mason, the Masonic body will doubtless take a leading part in the ceremonies.


How He Built A Fortune
 
The story of Henry Weinhard's life is the story of success achieved by a young German who came to the United States equipped with youth, energy and thorough knowledge of his business. Born at Lindenbrohn, Wurtemburg in 1830, he was educated there and was apprenticed to the brewing business. Then he determined to seek a broader field for his activity and in 1852 came to the United States. After being employed for four years at a brewery at Cincinatti, O., he came to the Pacific Coast by way of the isthmus in 1856. He first worked at his trade in Vancouver, Wash., for six months and then in 1857 moved to Portland and, in partnership with George Bottler, erected a brewery at Couch and Front streets.

The growth of the business did not satisfy him, and not long after sold his interest and returned to Vancouver. He finally settled in Portland in 1862, when he bought Henry Saxon's business on First, near Davis street, but in the following year bought the site of his present plant at Twelfth and Burnside streets, together with the small buildings occupied by George Bottler's small plant.

Since then his business has steadily grown until his beer has a market throughout the Pacific states and he has built up a large trade export. The capacity of the plant has been steadily enlarged until it now covers two and three quarters blocks and produces 100,000 barrels of beer a year, the refrigerating machines alone making 42 tons of ice a day. How rapidly the business has grown is indicated by the fact that the storage capacity has also been greatly enlarged. Mr. Weinhard was always progressive and never hesitated to adopt the latest improvements in his business, he was very conservative in his investments. He erected ice plants at Eugene and Roseburg in place of local breweries which he bought out, and storage buildings at Oregon City, Baker City and Aberdeen, all of which with the sites were his own property.

He had of late years made large investments in real estate, but they were all in Portland and the immediate vicinity, and he has covered his city property with valuable buildings, but he never began any of them until he had the money on hand to complete them, for he never went into debt. His largest buildings, in addition to the breweries and its various buildings are the large seven story building bounded by Oak and Pine, Fourth and Fifth streets, the second half of which is nearing completion; the Grand Central Hotel, five stories high, at Third and Flanders, streets; the five story Hohenstaufen building, 50 by 100 feet, at Fourth and Alder streets, a two story building,50 by 100 feet, at Fourth and Madison streets, and a farm of 620 acres in Yamhill County, known as the Armstrong farm.

Mr. Weinhard married in 1859 Louise Wagenblast, a native of Wurtemberg, Germany, who survives him, and by whom he had three children, one of them a boy died at the age of 2 1/2 years, on September 13,1862. His other children were Annie C. who married Paul Wessinger, the superintendent of the brewery, and Louise H., who is the wife of Henry Wagner, his accountant. Mrs. Wessinger is the mother of two children, a girl of nearly eighteen and a boy of sixteen and a half years, and Mrs. Wagner is the mother of a boy of ten years. His only other relatives in this country is Jacob Weinhard, a well to do maltster at Dayton, Wash., who is his nephew.

Mr. Weinhard was a member of the Willamette Lodge, A.F.&A.M. of Portland, and the Chamber of Commerce, Board of Trade and Manufacturers Association. He always took an active interest in all measures aimed at promoting the development of the state and was a liberal contributor to all public enterprises.

As alluded to in the obituary, his two sons-in-law, Paul Wessinger and Henry Wagner, became executors of the Weinhard estate and proprietors of the Henry Weinhard Brewery.

 

 

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