tv Heurich Brewing Company CSPAN June 25, 2017 6:00pm-6:21pm EDT
of the american revolution. announcer: you're watching american history tv, 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter @cspan history for information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news. to learn about american history. house andh washington, d.c. was built by krishan heurich, we started a successful brewing company in 1872. today we learn how prohibition and world war i impacted the heurich family and their brewing company. this is the second of a two-part series. >> welcome to the heurich house museum. this is the home of washington, d.c.'s most successful brewer.
he lived between 1842 and 1945. andas born in a small town died here and washington, d.c. at the age of 102. he was the oldest brewer in the world at that time. so now we are in the basement of the heurich house, and we are in the original man cave for him. this room was built originally to be krishan iraq -- heurich -- christian heurich's beer drinking room. maybe they would feel comfortable ash in their cigars on the floor in the original tavern signature we have in the middle of the room. because krishan was 60 years old when he had his children and his dining room was the only place for the family to have meals, this became the german breakfast room.
this is where the kids would have their breakfast and lunch. it was a more casual dining space, and when that conversion happened, they ordered a suite of venture from krishan's home province in germany. we have a set of table and chairs, this amazing sideboard. we have a -- we have a couple other pieces including a bench. all of them have years in them that are historical figures from the place where krishan grew up. -- christian grew up. they are the founders of his home town. this room still retains a lot of its original features. we have murals on the wall that have been restored that are all idioms about drinking in germany. he who has never been drunk is not a good man. on the walls over there with a cat on top it says, there's room in the smallest chamber for the largest hangover.
improving the marketing, forming relationships with area businesses so he can distribute his beer to them, and really turning into an operation. if we look at fixtures of the brewery, you can see how fast the changes were. part of what encouraged the larger building on the site was the fact that he suffered multiple fires at that location. it was just a fact of life when you were brewing beer. any sort of business at the time, any home, a potential hazard for fire being used to heat was being used to manufacture, boil the match for .is beer just a spark would cause something to erupt. there would be small and large fires there.
at some point there were a few fires that nearly bankrupted him, the damage was so great. fire he hadhe last built a business of, big announcement, had enough capital that it didn't ruin him that he got the picture that this was going to be a problem and it was a hazard to his livelihood. he decided to build a fireproof brewery, at the same period he built -- he was using fireproof technology, and he built a state-of-the-art brewery down at the site of where we now know the kennedy center, right on the potomac. and that brewery was unveiled in 1895, much fancier, there were a lot of opening events and parties. and coming the largest brewery and washington, d.c. that brewery had a capacity of 500,000 barrels and they never
.uite made that much between 1872, when you first open this brewery right here until 1966 when his brewery finally closed, they had 11 labels with many different beers , different iterations of beers under the table. high rick's heurich's lager, old georgetown, multiple different .rand he was a household name in washington, d.c. at the time. so when heurich moved to washington, it was a period of time when there were a lot of german-americans coming here. what they were bringing was here during beer was part of the german culture. so there were breweries being set up all over the city, all over every city. competitiveurich and not feel like schnell did
was he really was trying to create a more state-of-the-art business are trying to create a more sophisticated islamists. so that meant he would go out and form relationships and have bars and restaurants that were people who he knew were going to take his products. maybe nowthing that we take for granted because at this point, craft brewing in america has become this industry and there are best maybe now we take for granted because at practices, businessmen coming here, starting from scratch, trying to figure out what would help him make it here. and he did succeed. we know that he suffered from periods of exhaustion when he was building up his business and would have to take large amounts of time off and go to europe and take the cold water cure i do these things to sort of revitalize himself because he
was working nonstop to build up this business. the biggest challenge to heurich 's brewery and probably to heurich personally, very trying time he and his family had to go through happen a 1917, which is when prohibition came to washington early later in the year in 1970. i think he could see its march heading towards that process. earlier in the year in march, america entered into world war i. world war i, the entry into world war i sort of made the , in ordern inevitable to change the country's sentiment there was a lot of propaganda, and a lot was focused on the german-american
community. up until that point when we hadn't entered the war, there was sort of no reason to necessarily take a side though nobody was really focused on. at that point, germany is our enemy. so prominent german-americans in washington, d.c. had a difficult time. the heurichs at a difficult time to the department of justice was investigating them. we have recollections from about theand amelia department of justice coming to the house and looking through every cranny of their house. and won't he be ashamed when he realized that we've done nothing wrong. to get ridup having of chris junior's ham radio, which was in the current of the house, because the department of justice suspected that it might be used for spying. there were articles coming out
in "the new york times" accusing heurich of -- he had a dairy farm in maryland. he had a muzzle him matilda, his second wife, at the farm. a reporter went and poked around and then wrote this story saying the mazza liam must be some sort of foundation -- he was constructing against washington ec. even later that same period of time, "the new york times" published a story saying heurich had committed suicide. he at that point got on the phone with the editor and the editor said, i will retract the story. he said, don't retract it, just keep me dead and keep my name out of the newspapers. it was a trying time for them. in the recollections, one of the hardest times for christian because here he is, having made his life in america. he alwayso come here,
said that germany was his mother but america was his bride. and now he's being challenged, and being accused of not supporting his country. germany becoming our enemy during world war i, and the connection between beer and the german-american community, the german culture, was so closely tied that it was just sort of a matter of time that the anti-german sentiment from us entering world war i would bring prohibitions faster than maybe it would have otherweise. so, it was a real blow to heurich in 1917 to not only have america be at warm -- war with getswn country, but d.c.
probation for the rest of the country and he has to shut his brewery down. he decided he wanted to keep his staff employed as much as possible. he cleaned out barrels in the brewery, had them sterilized, bought $100,000 worth of apples, and try to create a healthy, .onalcoholic apple cider within a year and a half, the they fermented in -- and were allowed to sell a bit of it, but after prohibition they weren't allowed to get rid of it in any other way other than draining down the sewer. it was pretty sad. heurich wasn't able to keep the brewery open, had to shut the
doors. he still had a nice making plant. that gives some people some work, but it was the end of his brewery. it's interesting that he never completely knocked down the building during that time. i don't know if it was for thought or he just didn't have the heart, but he did survive prohibition. he lived to be 102. ended, hebition decided to put his personal capital he had made, all this money through not just the brewery, but put in land invest ments. he floated for re-opening of the brewery, redoing the equipment, hiring a new head brewer, and was really the only brewery in washington to survive prohibition. the brewery did not even close until 1956. it's possible to say that in the end prohibition did kill the brewery anyway because people had sort of lost their taste for beer.
they were used to bathtub gin. brewing wasn't really happening behind the scenes, and so in the 1950's when they had to close, it was these large conglomerate breweries, standard recipe beer the people were gravitating towards. dailyidn't have this desire for this hard year beer as they had before prohibition. after christian died, his wife decided she was -- the kids didn't want the house and she was trying to figure out what to do after she died in she decided she was going to give the building and the property to the historical society. at the time it was called the columbia historical society. now it is the historical society of washington, d.c.. she gave it to them and kept a
life estate, meaning she could continue to live into the house until she died. unfortunately she died within the year of the gift. so the historical society took possession of the house in 1956. this became their headquarters and they were here in different iterations, building of their own organization until 2003. they moved downtown into the carnegie library. two of the heurich grandchildren created the heurich house foundation, which is where we are today. it is what operates the museum here, and they helped take possession of the house and all the objects inside. luckily for us because the family has been so involved, since 2003, all kinds of artifacts have come back into the building. journals and diaries and photos and objects and pieces of
furniture, that i kind of been scattered in 1956, have all slowly come back. every day we get more and more material, more and more documentation to help us understand the heurich stories. there are a great amount of historic preservation of buildings in d.c. moste probably one of the restricted in terms of reservation, properties, and washington. not only is this building a landmark, the exterior of the building is a landmark, but also our interiors are. we are one of 23 buildings in washington to have one of our interior landmarks and probably the most heavily landmarked in that way. garden, which is this amazing open space in dupont circle, and it's very rare in washington for there to be a big theen in the backyard, reason why it still exists and has to exist is because
washington has something called the height act, which means buildings can only build up to a certain footage, and then they are not allowed to go any higher unless there can be an arrangement made with neighbors who have land that has not yet been developed. they basically buy the rights of their neighbors. our neighbor has purchased our rights, and the building and carriage heights have to remain the heights they are now because we have given away the right to build up. i hope you're able to get a feeling for the heurich family. they were a really important family in washington, d.c. they were this last story that at one point everyone knew who and they really helped build up washington, d.c. there's a part of washington that i think the rest of the
country doesn't see and doesn't necessarily understand that is not just the federal city, it's not just the federal government and sony and. there are people that have lived here for generations rated this is their hometown. they have a history too, and the story is important to the growth of this city, the economy of the city, and the spirit of washington, d.c. as well. >> you can watch this and other american artifacts programs by visiting our website at c-span.org/history. tonight on "q&a" -- reporter for public politics. i got interested in political power. and i can see with these books, first moses, power and cities, urban power, the national power, as studies in political power. if i thought when you are a reporter, i won a couple of
minor journalistic awards, but whenever you win awards, you think you know everything. startedt time moses talking to me, i realized i didn't know anything about power at all. >> and author talks about his project on power, looking at the and exercise of political power in america. he shares his progress on the next part of his biography. >> he has passion from the beginning. the ambition is the overriding consideration with him. it was only when compassion and ambition coincided, he realizes if he wants to be president, has two pass the civil rights bill, but he really turns. so you say, was he feeling forth? not at all. all his life he had wanted to help poor people.
>> tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span's open q&a." -- "q&a." >> american history tv was at the annual meeting in new orleans, where we spoke with a historian about irish immigration in the 19th century. the interview focuses on the book "expelling the poor, atlantic seaboard states and the origins of american immigration policy." this interview is about 8 minutes. >> your research focuses on immigration restriction and the united states. when do you see this begin? >> i think it started mid 19th century when a large number of impoverished irish catholic immigrants came to the united states. it was this immigration status in massachusetts and new york developed a series of