As we can see from the Johnson Land Map of 1873 (on page 10), a number of tombstone yards and hotels had opened for business near the main gate to “Old Lutheran Cemetery” on the south side of Metropolitan Avenue. When the Bushwick Railroad opened their steam locomotive passenger service to Middle Village and established their terminal, it stimulated the building of additional hotels. In the immediate vicinity of the terminal were Frederick Grafelmann’s Empire Hotel, Michael Wendel’s Hotel, Metzger’s Hotel and Martin Mager’s Hotel. A short distance away on and near Mount Olivet Avenue (Mount Olivet Crescent) were additional hotels: Mount Olivet Hotel, William Repper’s saloon, Wannemacher’s Saloon, etc. Thirsty travelers did not have to go far for a drink.
Starting at Fresh Pond Road and moving east along Metropolitan Avenue:
Franz Eberle’s Saenger Hall and Saloon
Franz Eberle’s Saenger Hall and Saloon was on the site of Isaac Debevoise farmhouse at the southwest corner of Metropolitan Avenue and Fresh Pond Road in 1873. In July 1882, Eberle sold the business to Henry Both. There was a long succession of saloon proprietors at this location as it was at a busy crossroads as well as the Fresh Pond stop of the LIRR.
Fritz Wackenhut’s Saloon
Fritz Wackenhut’s Saloon in 1873 was on the north side of Metropolitan Avenue. We believe it was between what is now 62nd Street and 64th Street. Wackenhut was a local florist family.
Charles Langen’s Hotel
Charles Langen’s Hotel was a wood frame building constructed in 1885 at old #1637 Metropolitan Avenue, now 63-13 Metropolitan Avenue. It was on the north side of the street between what is now 62nd Street and 64th Street. In 1891, an addition was added to the east at old #1639, now 63-15 Metropolitan Avenue. By 1922, the Long Island Plate Glass and Mirror Company occupied the addition. At old #1641, now 63-17 Metropolitan Avenue, there was a barber shop and then to the east of it in 1922 at old #1643 now 63-19 was Nadelbach’s Delicatessen and Grocery Store.
William Repper’s Saloon
William Repper’s Saloon in 1873 was to the west of Wannemacher’s Saloon on the north side of Metropolitan Avenue between what is now 65th Street and 64th Street. His son, John Repper, became the first Foreman of the Fearless Volunteer Fire Company #7 in Middle Village when that company became part of the Newtown Fire Department on July 1, 1890. Marshall’s Ropewalk in 1873 was to the west of Repper’s saloon.
We believe in the 1870s into the early 1900s the site of the Hess-Miller Funeral Home at 64-19 Metropolitan Avenue on the northwest corner of 65th Street was the site of Heinrich Wannemacher’s Saloon. Today the funeral home is a 2 story wooden frame building. Whether any part of the Wannemacher saloon building exists as part of the funeral home we do not know. It was at old #1675 Metropolitan, later revised to #2607, now 64-19.
Mount Olivet Hotel
This hotel (pictured below in 1923) was erected in 1897 by Charles Dlouhy who was the proprietor of the hotel and saloon. It was at old #57 Mount Olivet Avenue, now 62-60 Mount Olivet Crescent, a short distance north of Metropolitan Avenue. Charles Dlouhy was the proprietor thru 1904. By 1907 Paul Loll was the proprietor. From 1908 to 1912 Louis Niederstein, son of John Niederstein, Sr., was the proprietor. During this period the building was owned by the Welz and Zerwick Brewery, the Ridgewood brewery located at Wyckoff and Myrtle Avenues. Naturally their beer was served in the Mount Olivet Hotel. In the 1950’s it was a bar and grill. By 1959 the Fresh Pond Crematory owned the building and it was no longer a bar and grill.
Charles Dlouhy Building
(65-11 Metropolitan Avenue near the northwest corner of Mount Olivet Crescent) It was there by 1873. Charles Dlouhy was a florist and he also operated a saloon. The building was acquired by Herman Ringe who had a grocery store at Forest and Metropolitan Aves on December 21 1874 along with the lot to the east. Charles Dlouhy was his tenant. On July 1, 1875 Ringe sold the building but not the lot next to it, to Jacob Marquardt who owned a brewery on Cypress Avenue in Ridgewood. Undoubtedly, Dlouhy sold Marquardt’s beer in his saloon. Jacob Marquardt died in 1880 without a will. Because he still had relatives in Germany where he was born it took years to settle his estate. Finally in 1887, his widow Heinericke Marquardt was able to dispose of some of the property. On October 1, 1887 she sold the property on Metropolitan Avenue to Maria Magdalena Dlouhy, wife of Charles Dlouhy. Because of the possibility of lawsuits most saloon-keepers preferred to hold property in their wife’s name. Dlouhy retained his ownership of the property on Metropolitan Avenue and he or his family were still the owners in 1923.
By the 1870’s Charles Kattenstroh had leased the Harper house from Lutheran Cemetery for a saloon and hotel catering to farmers bringing their produce to market. In early 1880 when Charles Kattenstroh died, the cemetery decided not to lease the premises but instead to use it for the residence of the superintendent of the cemetery who was Max Brekendorff. The house was near the office of the cemetery. In April 1896 the cemetery substantially modernized the house and David Avenius who was then the superintendent, lived in it with his family. Subsequently the house was torn down and the site on which it stood, used for grave sites.
Anton Timmes’ Half Way Hotel
In 1873, this hotel stood on the northwest corner of what is now Metropolitan Avenue and 69th Street. It was also described as a lager beer saloon. He died in August, 1882 and his son, Anton Timmes, Jr. took over business. In early 1885 apparently he had the old building torn down and on the site a three story wooden frame building was erected which he called the Middle Village Opera House and Hotel. Whether any operas were ever held in this building, we do not know. By January 1890 he was in financial difficulty and unable to meet the interest payments on his mortgage. The property was put up for sale at public auction and bid on by Michael Wendel, Jr. who was 21 years old. Apparently he had received financial help from his father who was an old time saloonkeeper in Middle Village. In November 1898, Michael Wendel, Jr. sold the property to John Scholler who operated it thru May 1901, when the building went on fire. Whether it was ever rebuilt, we do not know.
Christian Schuchhardt’s Hotel
In 1873, this hotel stood on the southeast corner of the road from Newtown Village to the English Kills (later called Juniper Swamp Road, then Juniper Valley Road and Juniper Avenue, now 69th Street). By 1875 Christian Schuchhardt was no longer operating the facility and had moved to Brooklyn. In that year he sold the land with Henry Schumacher buying a half interest in the 14 1/2 acres.
Christian Siebs’ Central Hotel
Christian Siebs’ Central Hotel stood on the northeast corner of Juniper Avenue 69th Street and the Williamsburgh and Jamaica Turnpike (Metropolitan Avenue). In 1857 Christian Siebs, who came from Bremen, Germany, acquired the small four room Central Hotel. He died May 28, 1889 at the age of 58 and his son, Jovinianus N.F. Siebs became the proprietor although his widow owned the property. The hotel over the years had been substantially enlarged to a wooden frame structure that was equal in size to Niederstein’s which was directly across the street. In 1889, Jovinianus Siebs and John Niederstein, Jr. helped organize the Fearless Hook and Ladder Company #7 Volunteer Firemen in Middle Village. On October 28, 1890 Minnie Siebs, daughter of Christian Siebs, married John Niederstein, Jr. In July, 1906 Emma Siebs, believed to be the widow of Christian Siebs, leased the hotel to Gustave Kessler for ten years at $2,400 per year. He called it Kessler’s Hotel. By August 1924 Jovinianus Siebs was the proprietor. The building burned down in 1930 and on the site Frank E. Lang, a stone cutter erected the present building which bears his name.
Albert Schumacher’s Hotel
This hotel was located at 70-01 Metropolitan Avenue on the northeast corner of Metropolitan Avenue and Sutter Avenue (70th Street). Albert Schumacher was the son of Michael Schumacher and we believe the nephew of Henry Schumacher. In September 1881 he opened his new hotel, a two story wooden frame building, at this location, with a stable in the rear. It was right across the street from the upper gate to Lutheran Cemetery. Albert Schumacher was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1851 and came to America with his parents in 1865. In the fall of 1888 he ran for Justice of the Peace in the Township of Newtown on the Republican ticket and was elected for a three year term from January 1, 1889 to December 31, 1891. He continued to run his saloon and hotel and held court in the hotel. In the fall of 1891 he ran again and was re-elected for another three year term. In May 1893 he became seriously ill and his brother-in-law, Frederick Schmidt, took over the operation of the hotel and saloon. Albert Schumacher died on Sunday, January 14, 1894. His brother, Gustave, ran for Justice of the Peace in the fall of 1894 and was elected, replacing his deceased brother. By June 1898, Mrs. Olga Hess was the proprietor of the hotel which she ran as “Schumacher’s Only Original Hotel. By 1908, Frederick Yack was the proprietor to be succeeded in 1911 by Reinig and Broschardt. By 1914 Edward Broschardt was the sole proprietor and he called the premises “Superba Hall”. By early 1924 it was Martin’s Hotel with Martin Blum as the proprietor. In December 1924 he sold the property to Dietrich & Son who were nickel platers. Part of the building was converted for their use but it continued as a hotel and cafe into at least 1928. In 1980, Horst Herink purchased the property and the building was torn down to make way for a much-needed parking lot for Niederstein’s.
(69-16 Metropolitan Avenue) – On September 27, 1863 Henry Schumacher from New York City bought from Rosina Heuss, his mother-in-law, about an acre of land on the south side of the Williamsburgh and Jamaica Turnpike (Metropolitan Avenue) where Juniper Avenue (69th Street) intersects, and on the site he opened “Schumacher’s Beer Saloon and Hotel.” Henry Schumacher owned two saloons in Manhattan which he sold when he moved to Middle Village.
On April 15, 1867 the Metropolitan Railroad Company, a horse car railroad which operated from the ferry landings in Williamsburgh, signed an agreement with the Williamsburgh and Jamaica Turnpike Road and Bridge Company, to lay track along their toll road from Bushwick Avenue in Kings County, over their bridge at the English Kills, and then along their turnpike to Juniper Avenue (69th Street) in Middle Village. To finance the building of this new line, they borrowed $75,000 from Charles Randall and gave him a mortgage on the franchise and trackage on the new portion of their railroad.
On October 1, 1867 they commenced service from the ferry landings in Williamsburgh to Juniper Avenue in Middle Village with the fare 6 cents for adults and 3 cents for children. The line catered to people visiting Lutheran Cemetery where the cars passed the lower gate (the main entrance to old Lutheran) and then went almost to the middle gate at Juniper Avenue.
As a result of public transportation passing his saloon and hotel, Henry Schumacher decided to expand. On April 22, 1868 he purchased from his father-in-law, John Adam Heuss, 1/3 of an acre of land immediately to the west of his saloon and hotel. He then expanded his building on this land.
On August 24, 1874 Henry Schumacher leased his hotel and saloon to Michael Schumacher who we believe was his brother, for a five year term starting September 1st, 1874 at $1,200 per year. Michael Schumacher had two sons, Albert and Gustave, who helped him operate the saloon and hotel.
On September 1, 1875 Henry Schumacher bought a half interest in 144 acres of land across the street from his hotel, with the land bounded by Metropolitan Avenue on the south, by Juniper Avenue on the west, by what is now Juniper Valley Road on the north, and on the east by about 100 to 150 feet east of what is now 71st Street. Excepted from the deed was Christian Siebs’ land, the Trinity Lutheran School on Juniper Avenue and J. Miller’s land to the north of the school.
On July 31, 1877 Henry and Michael Schumacher mutually agreed to terminate the lease Michael Schumacher had an opportunity to lease what had been Smith’s Hotel on the southeast corner of Metropolitan and Flushing Avenues and he signed a seven year lease from August 1, 1877 at $450 per year for the first three years and $500 per year for the last four years.
He opened a picnic park on the premises which he called Schumacher’s Metropolitan Park. As a result of the cancellation of the lease Henry Schumacher resumed as proprietor of his hotel and saloon.
On November 16, 1882 Henry Schumacher travelled to Williamsburgh in his horse and wagon. On the way home he apparently became ill and fell from his wagon. He was run over by a horse car and severely injured. He was taken to St. Catherine’s Hospital where he died. He left his widow, Catherine and eight children. His widow ran the hotel and saloon assisted by her sister, Lilly.
In January, 1884 Catherine Schumacher married John Sutter, who owned a number of tombstone yards in Middle Village and Glendale. On September 1, 1884 she acquired the other half interest in the 14 ½ acres and sub-divided the land laying out streets and building lots. On September 24, 1888 she sold Schumacher’s Lager Beer Saloon and Hotel to Apolonia Niederstein, wife of John Niederstein, for $28,000. John Niederstein was born in Bonn, Germany and he had served in the Prussian Army. He emigrated to American arriving on April 22, 1866 at Castle Garden in Manhattan. On September 13, 1866 he married Apolonia Bauer, who was also a native of Prussia. He was the head cook at the Metropolitan Hotel in Manhattan but shortly after getting married, he opened his own saloon in Manhattan. For the next twenty odd years he operated saloons at various locations in Manhattan before moving to Middle Village in 1888 Probably Mrs. Sutter desired to sell the hotel as trade from farmers going to market possibly had fallen off. Wallabout Market had opened in Brooklyn in late 1884 and some of the Long Island farmers preferred to take Myrtle Avenue to the Wallabout Market. However, John Niederstein apparently decided one way to build trade was to cater to the funeral parties going to Lutheran Cemetery, St. John’s Cemetery and Mount Olivet Cemetery. He featured a pot cheese luncheon with boiled potatoes with the skins left on served with sour cream and chives. To entertain children in the funeral parties he had a small zoo in the rear with monkeys and a bear. John Niederstein, Jr.’s wife, Minnie, passed away in 1895 and the following year he married Louise Reimers on March 22, 1896. On April 1, 1896 his father turned the management of the saloon and hotel over to him The Raines law had just been passed by New York State making it illegal to serve alcoholic beverages on Sunday unless you were a hotel and then only with meals or in sleeping rooms. John Niederstein, Jr. expanded their facility to 32 sleeping rooms and called it the Grand Hotel.
In 1903 Apolonia Niederstein died at age 63.
In 1904 the Brucker Company from Ridgewood installed a “central air-conditioning system” in Niederstein’s Restaurant. It consisted originally of a boy in the basement pedaling a bicycle later replaced by an electric motor which a leather belt which went up to the main floor thru a hole in the ceiling of the basement. On the main floor thru a series of mechanical shafting, ceiling fans at appropriate locations were rotated cooling the premises on a hot summer day.
On January 30, 1905 John Niederstein, Sr. died at age 66. He was survived by three sons: John, Louis and Richard. Louis was the proprietor of the Mount Olivet Hotel on Mount Olivet Crescent. John was the proprietor of Niederstein’s and his younger brother, Richard, helped him. However, John was active in the Democratic Party and also operated the Prospect Hotel in Brooklyn. On December 22, 1906 Louis and John deeded over to their brother Richard, their 1/3 shares in Niederstein’s and Richard became the sole owner. John then went on to become Queens County Clerk.
On April 8, 1910 John Niederstein, Jr. died at age 40. Richard Niederstein – possibly as a protection against lawsuits – had deeded the property over to his wife, Grace. On November 20, 1920 with Prohibition in effect and profit margins slim, Grace Niederstein sold the restaurant to her niece, Henrietta Gabriel, daughter of Minnie and John Niederstein, Jr. In 1925 Adeline Niederstein, daughter of Katherine and Louis Niederstein, started working for her cousin at Niederstein’s. On April 14, 1940 Henrietta Gabriel leased the premises to her cousin, May Koller, also a daughter of Katherine and Louis Niederstein. On January 15, 1946 May Koller sublet the premises to her sister, Adeline Niederstein Lardon and Marie Burke. On June 3, 1969 Henrietta Gabriel sold the restaurant and property to Horst Herink. It had been owned by the Niederstein Family for over 80 years.
On November 26, 1969 he closed the facility and thoroughly modernized it. To retain some of its old charm, a portion of the old central-air conditioning system was retained. The restaurant reopened in March, 1970. For a period of time Adeline Niederstein Lardon continued as a hostess at the restaurant. Richard Niederstein died in 1981 at age 80. Adeline Niederstein Lardon died in Woodlands, Texas on August 12, 1989 at age 85 and is buried in Lutheran Cemetery. Horst Herink was also the owner of the prosperous chain of Glendale Bake Shops. He died in 1994 and the business passed to his brother, Reiner, who sold the beloved landmark to Tom Clarke in 2005 and it was torn down that year to make way for an Arby’s.
Henry Edinger’s Hotel
In 1890 this hotel stood on the north side of Metropolitan Avenue between what is now Pleasantview Street and 73rd Place. Edinger had purchased the land earlier in the year and had a two story wooden frame building erected on the site with a large open porch facing the avenue. He served Welz and Zerwick Beer. He had previously operated a hotel on Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village in another location as early as February 1883. By 1896, Frederick Weiss was the proprietor of the hotel. Henry Edinger died in 1914. He was the great-grand father of David Gigler, superintendent of Mount Olivet Cemetery. In the 1970’s, Bell’s Tavern was located in the building which was torn down in 1978. On the site today are the Metro Plaza Condominiums at 72-31 Metropolitan Avenue.
Samuel Way’s Brick Tavern
(75-43 Metropolitan Avenue now C-Town supermarket) – In 1845 Samuel Way, a resident of Middle Village, built a three story brick hotel at this location on the north side of the turnpike (Metropolitan Avenue). It was probably the finest hotel on Long Island at the time. On the ground floor it had a large bar room, a restaurant and a kitchen. On the second and third floors there were twenty-two bedrooms. As was the custom in the 1840’s there was no indoor plumbing and each room was furnished with a chamber pot. On the second floor and on the third floor there was a bathroom and in each of the bathrooms there was a tin bath tub set in brick and plaster. The only exception to the “no indoor plumbing” was that cold water was pumped to the bathrooms, with the water being well water that probably had been pumped to an overhead tank. The well was in the stable in the rear of the hotel. If hot water was needed during the winter time for a bath, the water had to be heated on the coal stove in the kitchen on the main floor and then hauled in buckets up the stairs there were no elevators to the bathrooms. The building was lighted with whale oil lamps. The property had 323’ on the turnpike and the depth varied from 240’ to 292’. The facility was known as Samuel Way’s Brick Tavern. Unfortunately he died a year or so after it was built, and his widow and children leased the premises. To the east of the hotel there was a house and to the east of that a shed. March, 1849 the Heirs leased the house and shed to John Falk, who was a blacksmith. He and his family lived in the house and the shed was used for his blacksmith shop. The Falk Family occupied the house and shed until the early part of their lease, they were permitted to use the well in the stable of the hotel.
About 1860 when coal oil kerosene became available, the hotel switched from whale oil, as coal oil burned cleaner. Reportedly during the Civil War, Confederate prisoners were kept in the basement of the Brick Tavern and the priest from St. Margaret’s visited them to comfort them. We believe that more likely the prisoners who were kept in the basement of the Brick Tavern for a brief stay during the Civil War were probably draft rioters who were protesting Military Conscription which started in July 1863. Many Irishmen were involved in the riots in Manhattan and also in Jamaica, Long Island as the conscription law was unjust with wealthy men able to avoid the draft by paying the Federal Government the sum of $300 or supplying a substitute who would serve in their place. There were ample prison camps in the area for Confederate prisoners at Hart’s Island and David’s Island in Long Island Sound, at Fort Lafayette, Fort Wood, Fort Columbus, Willett’s Point, and Portsmouth Cove, Rhode Island and therefore no need to use the Brick Tavern for Confederate prisoners.
When Samuel Way’s widow died in 1865 the Way heirs sold the property. The Brick Tavern was sold with 114 foot frontage on the turnpike and 270’ to 292’ deep, on January 2, 1866 to Anthony Timmes for $1,800. He operated the hotel for several years and then sold it to John Schneider for $4,000 on February 18, 1868. He changed the name to John Schneider’s Middle Village Hotel. In 1880 John Schneider became the first superintendent of St. John’s Cemetery and his son-in-law, Andrew Seiz, took over the operation of the hotel. In the late 1910’s when farmers started to replace their horse and wagons with trucks to bring their produce to market, the amount of trade that the hotels and saloon did along the farmers routes, declined. The Seiz family who now owned the hotel, converted it into an apartment house. In 1921 the stable in the back of the hotel was torn down. In the late 1920s or early 1930s a law was passed requiring the upgrading of residential housing with heating etc. It was not economical to upgrade the Brick Tavern to comply with the law and in 1941 it was torn down. The only part of the building that remained was the thick walls of the foundation. The bricks from the building were used to build the big apartment house directly in back of the old Brick Tavern. In 1951 the H.C. Bohack Company acquired the site and built a supermarket on it. When the Bohack Company went out of business, the building remained a supermarket and today it is a C-Town Market. An interesting story is told that during the famous Blizzard of 1888 snow drifts had closed Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village The Township of Newtown sent out a crew of men with a team of fourteen horses to open the road. Because of the immenseness of the job, the men took shelter at John Schneider’s Middle Village Hotel and stayed there almost a week. The hotel then submitted a bill to the Township for $84 for quartering the men and horses which the Township paid under protest.
Columbia Park Hotel
Columbia Park Hotel stood on the north side of the turnpike a short distance west of what is now 80th Street. When part of the Pullis Farm was sub-divided in 1852, the Cosius Family acquired the lots on the northwest corner of this intersection and subsequently built a saloon and dance hall on the site which became known as Columbia Park. They operated the facility until about 1890 when it changed hands and then in the 1890’s it changed hands several times. In 1896 New York State passed the Raines Law, which made it illegal to serve alcoholic beverages on Sundays unless you were a hotel and then it could only be served with meals or in sleeping rooms.
Immediately most of the breweries loaned the saloonkeepers money to convert some of the upstairs rooms into small bedrooms. In a rural area like Middle Village a minimum of six sleeping rooms were required to be classified as a hotel under this law. The Columbia Park became the Columbia Park Hotel, a so-called Raines Law hotel. In May, 1900 Peter Becker became the proprietor of the Columbia Park Hotel and he served Joseph Fallert’s beer. Where the Meyer Chevrolet have their show rooms and service shops on the northwest corner of Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan Avenue, in the early 1900’s the Quezal Art Glass Decorating Company was located. They made fancy glass chandeliers and lighting globes. Some of the workers at this plant lived in the small bedrooms at the Columbia Park Hotel.
By 1910 Peter Becker had switched to Meltzer Bros. beer and then a few years later to Welz and Zerwick, the Ridgewood brewers. Each spring Peter Becker ran a schlachfest in which a pig was slaughtered and then slowly roasted over a spit. Roast pork was then served to his patrons. After prohibition ended in 1933, the old Columbia Park Hotel became “Happy’s Village Tavern” run by Henry “Happy” Miller who had been an iceman. He had been kicked by a horse at the Wallabout Market; he then retired as an iceman. In November 1933 he was also operating “Happy’s” at 81-01 Myrtle Avenue (later Durow’s) in Glendale which premises he leased from the Sahner Estate. In his Glendale operation he served Rubsam and Hormann R & H Beer from Staten Island. Even though he did not own the premises at 81-01 Myrtle Avenue, he spent money fixing up the bar room and had frescoes of jockeys put on the walls. He operated “Happy’s in Glendale until 1942 and we believe “Happy’s Village Tavern” in Middle Village also closed at the same time.
Peter Hirsch’s Hotel
In the 1870’s and possibly earlier the Hirsch Family of age operated a general store and saloon on the south side of Metropolitan Avenue and West of what is now 80th Street In October, 1885 Peter Hirsch put up a new hotel building on the site with a saloon on the ground floor, catering to Long Island farmers bringing their produce to market. When the famous blizzard of March, 1888 hit the area a day or so after the storm ended, there were snow drifts about five or six feet deep across Metropolitan Avenue in front of Peter Hirsch’s saloon. The horse car railroad service halted for several days until the tracks could be cleared. By 1890 Anton Braun was the proprietor and he called his establishment the St. John’s Hotel, named for the cemetery nearby. By 1923 Joseph Bermel and Company had acquired the property and the old building was eventually torn down.