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Showing posts from August, 2011

The Brewery Baron

At the age of 22, George Ehret left Germany to join his father --a brewer --in New York. Within ten years --in 1866-- he established the Hell Gate Brewery, named for its location near Hell's Gate on the East River in Manhattan. For a good part of the late 19th Century, Hell Gate Brewery was the country’s largest brewer, rivaling Anheuser-Busch Pabst and Schlitz. Ehret chronicled his success in a book he published in 1891: Twenty-Five Years of Brewing with an Illustrated History of American Beer.

In addition to the brewery, Ehret amassed substantial real estate holdings in New York City, many of which were rental properties. As both a boss and landlord, Ehret was benevolent. Perhaps his kindness and philanthropic ways were part of the reason that more than 2000 people--–including the German Ambassador--attended his funeral mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in January of 1927, when he died at the age of 92. Ehret was entombed in the family mausoleum in Woodlawn Cemetery, joining his …

Happy Birthday Louis Armstrong

Jazz legend and New Orleans native, Louis Armstrong, died in his sleep, on July 6, 1971 in the Corona, NY home in which he had lived since 1943. The next day, a visitation was held in a local funeral home. Meant to be private, the name of the funeral home was withheld from the press, but neighbors easily figured it out and soon gathered outside. A day later, a public visitation took place from 10 A.M. until 10 P.M. at the Seventh Regiment Armory at Park and 66th Street in Manhattan. It was estimated that 25, 000 people filed past Armstrong’s open casket to pay their final respects. Dressed in a navy blue suit, pink shirt and pink and silver tie, Armstrong reposed in a steel grey casket with white velvet interior, under the grand, wooden staircase in the armory’s front hall, which was filled with floral tributes.

Armstrong’s religious service took place at the Corona Congressional Church in Corona, the next afternoon. Among the five-hundred mourners who packed into the small brick chu…