Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gruetzmacher Homestead


This is a recent photograph of 1910 Avenue N in Galveston, Texas. According to the realtors, the building was built in 1886. Which is just about the time the Gruetzmacher family lived there, so I suspect they were the original builder/owners. The family lived there during the 1900 Storm, when Papa Gruetzmacher drilled holes into the floor to allow water to rise into the house rather than the water raising the house off its foundations. The high water essentially 'anchored' the house in place, while so many of their neighbors houses were swept away by the flood tide.

The house, which is currently a multi-apartment house, was listed for sale this summer for over $165,000. The listing says the house is 4,915-square feet. A 1-bedroom, 1-bath, 700-square foot downstairs apartment, with window air, is currently available for $400.00 a month. Fresh paint and quiet neighbors!

Market Street, Galveston, circa 1910

(click for larger view)


Postcard view of Market Street in Galveston, circa 1910. Notice that Purdy's Book Store, which used to house Louis Gruetzmacher and Bro., Printing, is on the right side of the street.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Andy [Story 1]

At the Jennifer/Adam wedding this evening Christopher passed along a story that I had never heard of (or dis-remember).

It seems Andy was on the road with a traveling sideshow-type outfit. Apparently this was before the war, but when exactly is a guess. I am unaware that dad was ever part of a traveling sideshow.

The sideshow would travel from town-to-town by train and featured a boxer who would take on all comers. Some sort of betting was going on, with the boxers 'backers' taking bets against the townie's brawlers.

Each time a local champion got into the ring, the traveling pugilist would give him a knuckle sammich. And each time the odds tilted more in the 'ringer's' favor. Eventually, a stranger would climb into the ring and the bets were made, with the townfolk laying down their money that the traveling pro would be the winner.

The fight would commence, and while the pro put up a valiant effort, the stranger ended up the winner and the townies ending up the losers, money-wise. Seems the stranger was part of the sideshow troupe, and was let off the train before the town limits. He would walk into town, hours after the troupe had arrived, and the locals never figured him as part of the sideshow gang.

Night after night, town after town, the stranger would always beat the pro, and the sideshow would end up with the local gamblers money, having conned them with the fixed fight.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Antoinette Gruetzmacher

Antoinette Gruetzmacher was born September 28, 1854 in Germany (Hamburg, Havelburg Province, Prussia, by tradition), the daughter of Louis Gruetzmacher and Mathilda Schuler, according to her death certificate.

In the 1870 census she is listed, as Anna, age 15, with her parents and siblings in Galveston.

She is listed in the June 1, 1880 census, as Antonette, age 25, with her mother and siblings at 75 W. Winnie Street in Galveston.

In the Galveston City Directory for 1888-89, "Miss Antonia", while living with Matilda Gruetzmacher, her mother, and is working as a dressmaker for E. D. Garratt & Co.

In the next edition of 1890-91, she is listed as a seamstress, and is again living with her mother at 71 Winnie.

Antonia's last listings in the City Directory comes in the 1891-92 and 1893-94 editions, living at 2619 Winnie, which I believe was her mothers home before her death.

Antonia married Alfred Olson in Galveston on April 19, 1893.

Alfred had previously been married (August 17, 1886) to Anna Bolliman (b. ca 1862; d. December 24, 1890), and they had two children: Ida Celeste Olson (b. November 19, 1887; d. December 6, 1933); and Arthur Alfred Olson (b. January 6, 1890; d. December 17, 1939).

Antoinette and Arthur had only one child together, Olga Anita Olson, born November 19, 1894, in Galveston. Olga died April 18, 1966.

Antoinette is listed in the 1900 census with her husband Alfred (a grocer), and children Celeste, Arthur, and Olga.

Antonia Gruetzmacher Olson, age 87, died November 21, 1941 at John Sealy Hospital after fracturing her hip 5 days earlier. She had fallen on the floor of her home at 1901 27th Street, Galveston. She was buried at Evergreen Cemetery on Novemeber 22, 1941. [Info from death certificate.]

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Paul Gruetzmacher



Paul Gruetzmacher at age 32 in 1888.

Paul Gruetzmacher was born in Germany around November of 1852, to Louis Gruetzmacher and Matilda Schuler. His burial certificate states he was born in Havelberg. He arrived in Galveston after June of 1858 with his mother and 3 siblings on board the ship "Fortuna" from Germany.

Paul is listed in the 1860 census with his parents at Hallendale in Grimes County, Texas. I have found no information about Hallendale.

By the 1870 census, with his father Louis having died of disease in the Civil War, his mother had moved the family to Galveston.

In the 1872 and 1874 Galveston City Directories, Paul is listed as living with his mother at 324 E. Market Street. By 1876 they are located at the corner of 19th Street and M 1/2.

From 1872 through about 1878 he is employed with (or quite possibly in partnership with) A. Stein & Co. A picture of this partnerships streetfront operation exists in Grace Newton's scrapbooks. The photographs shows a signboard reading "Paul Gruetzmacher & Co." directly above a sign for "A. Stein and Co." Grace's notes place the print shop on Mechanic, above the stationers.

From this information, I suspect that the photograph above was taken from 1872 to 1878, when Paul was partners with Stein. I believe Aunt Grace was in error as to the location, as the city directories never locate Paul's (or Louis') print shops on Mechanic.

In researching the location, I dug out my copy of "The Galveston That Was" by Howard Barnstone (1966), and found the picture above (and several more) of the "Willard Richardson Building" that was built in 1858. Located at 2217 Market Street, it was demolished around 1964. Upon close comparison of architectural details, especially the windows, I believe that this building was in fact the true location of Paul's first print shop in Galveston.

The building later was utilized by a series of bookstore's, first as Bacon's (with a job printer as co-tenant), next as Purdy's, from 1909 until 1930, and lastly as Henry's Bookstore from 1945 to 1963.

Barnstone describes the building as "One of the most luscious of the iron fronts to be built anywhere...." The iron front for Richardson's building came from the Philadelphia foundry owned by Sanson & Farrand.

Around 1876 Paul married Augusta Altmann, the daughter of William Altmann and Augusta Needemann.

In the June 5, 1880 census, Paul and his family consists of his wife Augusta, and children Clara and Mattie. His mother-in-law Augusta is also living with them. The 1880-81 City Directory shows the family living at 610 Avenue K. Paul now has his own store, Paul Gruetzmacher & Co., Books and Stationery, located at 125 Strand, between 22nd and Tremont (23rd) streets. His brother Louis also works there.

The 1881-82 edition of the City Directory shows Paul and family are now living at 607 Avenue K, between 12th and 13th streets, on the south side of the block.

In the 1882-83 City Directory, Paul is shown working at the William Terry & Co. print shop with his brother Louis.

The Galveston Daily News for October 4, 1885 reports that P. Gruetzmacher is on the arrangement committee for the Galveston Lodge No. 774, Knights of Honor which is celebrating their anniversary.

According to the 1886-87 edition of the City Directory, brothers Paul and Louis have their own print shop, Paul Gruetzmacher & Bro., located at 171 E. Strand (old street numbering), between 21st and 22nd streets. The family has moved again, this time to 611 E. Avenue I, between 12th and 13th streets.

Soon, Paul is working for Clarke & Courts printing concern, according to the 1888-89 City Directory. The family has moved once again, this time to a house on the north side of E. Avenue N, between 19th and 20th. This location is the final home for the family, 1910 Avenue N, which survives the 1900 Storm and, as of 2010, is still standing.

The Galveston Daily News for February 14, 1889 has an advertisment for Paul Gruetzmacher, Job Printer, Strand near Center, Telephone 84. And by the time of the 1890-91 directory, Paul has his own print shop over 2109 Strand (new street numbering), between 21st and 22nd streets.

In The Galveston Daily News for May 7, 1893, (and other dates) there is an advertisment for "Paul Gruetzmacher of the Tenth Ward is a candidate for Alderman at Large Election June 6, 1893. Respectfully solicits your vote and support."

In the June 12, 1893 issue, The Galveston Daily News calls him Alderman at Large Paul Gruetzmacher, so he obviously won the election. Over the next few years, until June of 1895 when he was either voted out or did not run for reelection, he is mentioned in the newspaper along with his fellow city aldermen.

Paul Gruetzmacher announces in the paper that he is now with Knapp Bros., Stationers and Printers, Center and Mechanic. --The Galveston Daily News, January 24, 1896. Paul is called a printer in the 1896-97 city directory, as well as the 1898, and the 1899-1900 edition, but there is no mention whether he was working for someone else, or if he again had his own shop.

In the June 7, 1900 census, Paul and his family, consisting of his wife, Augusta, and their children, Clara, mattie, Augusta, Pauline, Emilia, Otto, Paul, Edward, Arthur, and Edith, are living at the house at 1910 Avenue N. The census reports that Paul owns the home.

Next door the the Gruetzmacher's, at 1906 Avenue N, is George Maguire, a clerk in the telegraph office. Could this have been how Matilda Gruetzmacher and Andre' Hutt Newton met? Even in 1900, the telegraph world was probably a small one, and Andre', as the son and nephew of telegraphers, may have visited Maguire as a courtesy of the Newton telegraph clan.

One of the classic reports of the 1900 Storm is that a print shop collapsed over a bar during the early hours. While this would be a terrific family legend, I doubt that this shop belonged to Paul Gruetzmacher.

Frank Heizer has recently provided me with the following information: "At the lunch hour, as the wind increased in velocity, the first deaths occurred. At Ritter's Cafe and Saloon on Mechanic Street, a popular lunch spot for businessmen, a blast of wind tore the roof from the building, collapsing the ceiling onto the ground-floor dining room." --Houston Chronicle, Aug 28, 2000.

And from the book "The Great Galveston Disaster" by Paul Lester, 1900, Alexander Spencer tells about his father being at Ritter's Cafe, where he was killed. Stanly Spencer was sitting on a desk, with his hands clasped over his head, a favorite position of his, talking to Mr. Lord and a Greek, named Marcleitis. "Ritter's cafe was a strongly-built brick building, which was thought to be very safe, but, unfortunately, it was at the foot of a short street leading to the wharf. This gave the wind from the Gulf full sweep against it. There were several other men in the cafe, and one of them said: 'Why, did you all know there are just thirteen people in this room?' Papa laughed, and remarked that he was not superstitious. Just then the crash came, killing five of the thirteen. In the floor above the cafe was a large printing establishment. A beam hurled down by the weight of the presses above struck papa, killing him instantly."

The last listing for Paul Gruetzmacher in the City Directory was in the 1903-4 edition, where he is called a city solicitor for the Hatch, Millis & Co. firm. Was this a type of lobbyist?

Paul died at his home at 1 A.M. on December 2, 1905. He was suffering from cancer of the larynx. He was buried the next day at Cahill's New Cemetery, which was later renamed Lakeview Cemetery. There is a good-sized family plot reserved for the Gruetzmacher's there, with a low cement border surround. On one edge of the surround the family name is carved in relief. There are no headstones within, as of the 1980s.


























Friday, July 9, 2010

Eaton Memorial Chapel



I have no idea which church the Gruetzmacher's attended in Galveston. But I ran across this postcard today and thought "that ain't no chapel". When I think of a chapel, I think of small. Really small. I think of Sister Mary Elephant (or whatever) telling Sidney Portier (in that thick German accent) that she wanted him to build a "shappell".

This ain't no shappell.

The Eaton Memorial Chapel was designed by architect Nicholas Clayton in the Gothic Revival Style. It was erected in 1878-82. After the city-wide fire of 1885, the chapel was used by St. Paul's German Presbyterian Church.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Paul Gruetzmacher & Co.'s Galveston Printshop


Reece sent me some photos from Aunty Grace's scrapbooks this past week. Among the portraits of a bunch of Gruetzmacher's [What is the collective term for this? A Gaggle of Geese. A Pride of Lions. A Grinch of Gruetzmacher's, maybe?] was a cabinet photograph of Paul Gruetzmacher & Co.'s storefront in Galveston. Grace's notes place the print shop on Mechanic, above the stationers. I date the picture from before 1900 for two reasons. As far as I know, Paul never re-opened his printing business after the 1900 Storm. And, looking at the picture, it appears to have gone through the storm with some rather heavy water damage.

In the Galveston City Directories for 1872 through 1878, Paul was in business with A. Stein & Co. (whose name is below Paul's on the storefront sign). The location of this store is not in my notes. From 1880 to about 1882 "Paul Gruetzmacher & Co., Books and Stationery" was located at 125 Strand between 22nd and Tremont (23rd) streets. From 1882 to 1885, Paul worked for another printing outfit, but soon went independent again in 1886 as "Paul Gruetzmacher & Bro., Book, Job & Comm. Printing" at 171 Strand (later re-numbered 2109) between 21st and 22nd. He is listed at that location to about 1895-95, and until 1900 simply as a printer, with no location provided. After the 1900 Storm, Paul is mentioned in the 1903 Directory as a City Solicitor with Hatch, Millis & Co.

From this information, I suspect that the photograph above was taken from 1872 to 1878, when Paul was partners with Stein. I believe Aunt Grace was in error as to the location, as the city directories never locate Paul's (or Louis') print shops on Mechanic.




In researching the location, I dug out my copy of "The Galveston That Was" by Howard Barnstone (1966), and found the picture above (and several more) of the "Willard Richardson Building" that was built in 1858. Located at 2217 Market Street, it was demolished around 1964. Upon close comparison of architectural details, especially the windows, I believe that this building was in fact the true location of Paul's first print shop in Galveston.

The building later was utilized by a series of bookstore's, first as Bacon's (with a job printer as co-tenant), next as Purdy's, from 1909 until 1930, and lastly as Henry's Bookstore from 1945 to 1963.

Barnstone describes the building as "One of the most luscious of the iron fronts to be built anywhere...." The iron front for Richardson's building came from the Philadelphia foundry owned by Sanson & Farrand.