BierTalk English 1 – Talk with archaeologist Chelsea Rose & archivist Tiah Edmunson-Morton (Oregon State University)

The Pacific Northwest is rightfully proud of its thriving microbrewery scene. Most beer lovers probably consider the rise of craft brewing a phenomenon of the past few decades. But the first brewpubs in the Northwest date so far back that archaeologists were called in to excavate the remnants of one in Jacksonville, Oregon. In this BierTalk Episode we talk to archaeologist Chelsea Rose & archivist Tiah Edmunson-Morton, both from Oregon State University, about their findings and the role of women in early Northwest brewing…

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Markus: Hello und a warm welcome to our new podcast Beer Talk. Today we start a new experiment and it will be a Beer Talk in English, because normally our podcast is broadcasted in German, but now we have American guests and also a very interesting American topic and so the idea was, why not do it in English? So we will try this today, I hope you will understand everything. Of course, you can write us and we can answer you and now we go deep into the story. We go to Oregon in the Pacific Northwest and there we meet the archaeologist Chelsea Rose from the Southern Oregon University and Tiah Edmunson-Morton, Curator of the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives at Corvallis, also in Oregon. You will be talking about the Pacific Northwest Brewing History, which is very interesting and maybe also new for you but not new for our two guests. So could you please introduce yourselves shortly to our listeners. #01:01#

Chelsea Rose: Hi, I’m Chelsea Rose, I’m a historical archaeologist based in Southern Oregon and my research really focuses on the settlement and the development of the American West. So breweries and saloons are just one part of that kind of interesting story that I’d like to deconstruct using archaeology. #01:23#

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: My name is Tiah Edmunson-Morton, I’m an Archivist and I work in Oregon State University at the library – Special Collections and Archives Research Center there. I started the Hops and Brewing Archives in 2013 and I do normal archiving stuff, so I put things in boxes and I write guides to collections. But I’m also working on a book about women and brewing in the 19th Century in Oregon. #01:54#

Markus: So that really sounds very interesting. You are talking about brewing, about saloons, about all these good old times. Maybe first we can talk a little bit about what is your actual personal relationship to beer? #02:07#

Chelsea Rose: I don’t really like it! (laughter) I am embarrassed to admit, I’m more of a wine person or whisky person but I do really appreciate the micro-brewery culture in the Pacific Northwest. I think that is really been a nice addition to, you know, options for going out, but I usually order something else! #02:32#

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: That’s the punchline to every joke for me too, but I also really like wine. I do like cider and I like it a good sour beer. I think that is something that I’ve learned the more I’ve gotten to taste lots of different beers. I like sour beers. But I will say that my interest in beer history, agricultural history, is definitely academic. But my great, great grandpa and his brother also grew hops in Eugene – which is about 45 minutes south of where I am in Corvallis – in the early 20th century. So I do have some family connections, agriculturalwise! #03:13#

Markus: So that really sounds good, and I would say we are half way there, because if you already drink wine and spirits and like cider and all these things, there are lots of beers which are quite close to that and maybe can catch you and also bring you into beer and brewing. But also, I think it is very interesting if you say you have a professional approach, a scientific approach, to brewing which is also maybe better than only a drinking approach, I would say. Yes, okay, maybe let’s talk about how you came across the idea of researching on breweries and doing archaeology, doing excavation, which really sounds interesting for us. How did it come, how did it come to this idea? #03:50#

Chelsea Rose: Well, the Eagle Brewery – oh wait a minute – which we excavated this fall, is located in a little town called Jacksonville, Oregon, and it is a really well-preserved kind of 19th century landscape, a lot of the buildings survived up till today. And the private parcel where the brewery, the remains of the brewery is, is owned by these two gentlemen that hired us to take a look at what kind of archaeology might be on this property, because they recognized the historical significance of the property and they wanted to make sure that the archaeology present would be taken into account in some sub-dividing, because it is quite a large parcel right in town. So there is plenty of room to put other houses and stuff in there and they wanted to look into that because they figured if they didn’t do it, the next owner would and they really wanted to make sure it was done the right way with the heritage of this brewery in mind. So we came out and developed a plan to see what was there, where it is on the landscape, what we would want to make sure was protected in the development and what areas they could build roads and houses, or whatever they needed to, on. So that was kind of how we ended up and this site, but I’ve been, as I mentioned, I’ve had a long interest in saloons and breweries and, you know, come across them quite regularly and there are a few, there are other ones in town that I’ve kind of had my eye on in addition to this one. So when this opportunity came up it was really exciting because, you know, that is just one of the really fun dream projects that you want to look into, the myths of the Wild West! And in doing this research I came across Tiah’s work which overlapped just so beautifully. And it became clear that, not only was it this a really cool project because it allowed us an opportunity to interrogate some of the myths of the Wild West surrounding breweries and saloons, but there is this woman at the heart of this story and Tiah had been doing this research to kind of uncover her part of it. That just made it even more interesting to me. #05:58#

Markus: Yes, that really sounds great. Maybe first a short question, if you think on archaeology, or just think about digging, so how deep did you have to go to find something? #06:08#

Chelsea Rose: Yes, so well, you know, in archaeology in the US it is not uncommon for us to do stuff that is much more recent than probably in Germany or other places around the world. So sometimes the stuff we are looking for is even on the surface or, you know, not very deep. So this property we didn’t have to dig very deep to find what we were looking for and, in fact, one of the main research questions we had was this rockpile that is just there right there on the surface and it was really easy to see that these rocks were put there with intention and they represented part of the building that was formerly there. So it was pretty easy to start off with: Okay, dig here. And when I say „dig“, a lot of that really entails moving rocks (laughs) in that particular site. So it totally varies. If you’re down in an area where flooding happens things can be quite deep. If you’re in an area where there is a lot of erosion or wind-blown sediment, stuff can be pretty close to the surface. So the depth isn’t always correlated to age here in Oregon. #07:21#

Markus: One last question about that: I read that you also had to look at the fire insurance records to find exactly the places. Is that a common way, a common approach? #07:30#

Chelsea Rose: Yes, yes, so we not only dig through the dirt, but we dig through the archives wherever we can and take any, you know, artefacts of the past that we can into consideration. So one really important clue to the past in the way cities and homes were set up, especially in the late 19th century, are what are called Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps and that is somebody came along and recorded your building and what size it was, what materials it was made with – was it wood, was it brick? – with the purpose of insuring it against fire. So that means that some buildings are more carefully recorded than others – depending on who had insurance or not – but it is nonetheless a really great record of what historically is on a parcel. So we have several different years for the Eagle Brewery and Saloon parcel and we can kind of track what was there, what kind of/ It is not perfect but it kind of gives us a lot of clues, what was there, what was its function, how was the property laid out. And then in archaeology, one of the fun things is we fill in the gaps. We can confront or corroborate evidence, other lines of evidence. So we don’t pick that as like the ultimate truth, but it is definitely a really important clue that we work with to try to tell the story. #08:59#

Markus: Yes, maybe Tiah you can also explain a little bit from the side of the archivist or of the curator, and maybe also, as you already mentioned, it is also about women your research, so did that also take place in the 19th century? Because if I think of all the movies I’ve seen, I never saw a female brewer in any of these movies. So what about your findings? #09:19#

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: Yes, well I love to dig in my yard and so when Chelsea said that they were doing an archaeology dig I was very excited. It was very different from digging in my yard. It was very different from weeding. I think like I wanted to clean everything up and that was not my task. But I was excited to really look at this overlap between what would have been happening in a domestic setting like a house. And for the Eagle Brewery in particular, well, and really for 19th century breweries period in Oregon, there was often a really close proximity of the house and the brewery or the house and the saloon. So to be able to be in that space where somebody lived that I was researching, but also to just have a kind of visual aid, I guess, to think about how far the house was or where the/ what would it have been like to walk out to do this business. And to see how close the house was to the brewery business sort of confirmed in my mind this idea that these were family businesses and that the man’s name maybe was on the record of the license, or was on that Sanborn map, or in advertisements in the newspaper, but there was no way that this could have been separate, that this home life and this business life could have been separate. So I think you were right in what we see in history or what we see in more popular culture about history and the women definitely were involved in 19th century Oregon. Women have been involved for a very long time and so the idea that men are the brewers is actually a relatively new construct. That wasn’t always the case. In lots of different cultures and lots of different eras women were the brewers because brewing was an aspect of house and food management, or the duties that were related to keeping the house more broadly. So a lot of the women who were brewers in medieval England or in ancient times, they were often displaced by industrialization. So as breweries became more profitable and as brewers became trained and professional, that was often when women were excluded. That they didn’t have the path to get loaned or to get education or to join brewing guilds, as was the case in England. So they were just excluded from the evolving industry and I think it is often about profit. It is often always about profit. And I think what we’re left with is often this sense that men have always done this work. And in Oregon, like I said, the – we can talk more later about what the industry was in Oregon more generally – but in Oregon the customers of these mid-19th century breweries were almost always local. These were small establishments; they were small businesses. Family members were involved in lots of different ways, and these were family businesses. So what we are left with is the story of men working with men, or men drinking with men, but the reality is that women had always contributed to the family venture. To kind of bring it back full circle to this dig, to see that these were literally – I’m trying to think of how many feet it would have been, or how many yards it would be – it’s not very far from the back door of the house, where the house was, to the back door or the front door of where the brewery was. There were vastly more Germans than any other group of people making beer in Oregon, like vastly more! (laughs) The thing is though, is that by the time people arrived in Oregon, by the time the people who became the brewers arrived in Oregon, they for the most part already were brewers. So they arrived with commercial enterprises in mind. That doesn’t mean that women didn’t make beer for home consumption, or maybe for like local trading, but it doesn’t seem like there was the same displacement that happened. It did happen on the East Coast in colonial times for sure, that there were women in the colonies who started to operate taverns or run smaller breweries and then the same thing happened to them. But it doesn’t seem like that was the case in Oregon. I haven’t been able to find any direct records from the women who were in Oregon at that time related to brewing. I’m hopeful that there would be some diaries at the university that maybe, again the other major university just south of me in Eugene, they have a big collection of mid-19th century diaries there that I want to go look at, but covid meant that I wasn’t able to. So it is possible that there will be some records of people who were doing home brewing that was then they were selling or bartering at some level, but it doesn’t seem like that. #15:25#

Markus: Yes, maybe also we talk about, you mentioned it, a lot of Germans coming to the country in these times and we already talked about that it is the time of the Gold Rush. But you also said that people came and had already their business in mind, so they not only came maybe for gold digging. And, I don’t know if you know, we have – I’m from Bamberg, Germany, which is in the southern part of the country – and only a few kilometers away from here live the Strauss family and a guy went to San Francisco, Levi Strauss, and he invented the famous trousers. So also quite interesting history of that when you see and hear which covers that, and so maybe what role did brewing have in this Gold Rush year? Were there really brewers coming and saying, okay we want to make beer for the people who dig for gold or were there people which came for digging and then decided, okay maybe we’ll do better if we do beer? What do you think? #16:17#

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: I’ll give the short answer first and then Chelsea can give the much longer answer because she knows much more. The brewers, a lot of them were chasing gold. They were living in Colorado or California or Idaho before coming to Oregon to settle. So there definitely is a very, very direct connection between people who were miners and then people who became brewers – but also the miners liked to drink. That’s my shorter answer. (laughs) #16:52#

Chelsea Rose: Yes, and I would just say that, you know, the first thing that everybody wanted to come out and get rich quick mining from all over the world. And a lot of times it was to get that seed money to start some other enterprise. Nobody really thought they were going to have a career forever in mining. But one of things that many people realized right away was you could make a lot more money and more consistently by mining the miners, so to speak. So if you could set up some kind of enterprise that could give those miners a very handy way to spend that gold dust and those gold nuggets you would just make way more money way more consistently. So I think that’s where a lot of these enterprises kind of came into play that way. But, you know, it was a really unique moment, it’s really a global event that happened because so many people moved in a really short amount of time from all over the world to this one kind of area. And Oregon, being just north of California, we were just – the Gold Rush made its way up here within a few short years of the first strike in California, bringing lots of folks, lots of disruption, to the people who had been living here and it really had a huge impact on, you know, the way that this landscape changed really quickly. And one of the things that was interesting, especially in Southern Oregon, is people/ The miners came, the businesses came like that, before there was even really large, it wasn’t even a territory here. In fact, it was sovereign native land at that time. But people came and they built breweries and so kind of the shenanigans surrounding that became some of the first laws, that people realized: Hey, we have to kind of rein in some of this. I don’t know if you have come across some of that here with – I know there’s definitely, you know, things targeting violence and all that kind of stuff – but, you know, who could have a saloon, what you had to pay for it. They tried to like pretty quickly get on top of some of that – which is another really interesting aspect of this. #19:00#

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: Yes, and I think that is something that makes it really challenging for those earliest breweries is we want something to be the first, or we want a record of something being the first or second. I mean it’s really, really hard. It’s hard because those systems of government were not yet in place and the tracking was not yet in place. I think it is very like that there were breweries that were essentially opening concurrently. But maybe they weren’t licensed or they weren’t official in the sense of having like federal – they weren’t complying maybe with federal regulations. So I think that the records, the lack of records from that time is really challenging. And I will also say that on the north part of the country, the north-west part of the country, that same sort of extractive work was happening but it was fishing. The early setting it up in the north-west part of Oregon where, again, some of those other early breweries, or early alcohol establishments, were being established wherever there was industry and that industry meant displacement of the people who were there, because there certainly were people in all of these places where these industries set up. #20:27#

Markus: Maybe a short question on data. How many people came in the Gold Rush and where did they come from? #20:33#

Chelsea Rose: Yes, that’s a tricky one to answer too for the exact reason that the records are not great, but I think I read recently that some folks are thinking like 300,000 to California in the initial stages of the Gold Rush. But the answer is complicated because it depends on what, how narrowly you define the Gold Rush because some scholars would consider it just California, just between these few years, and then Oregon had its own Gold Rush starting in the 1850s on. So it’s one of those questions that is really hard to answer. But a lot of folks came in really quickly and it was a pretty abrupt shift to these landscapes. And folks came from all over the world and a lot of them had different motivations. There were, of course, plenty of people already here and, yes, it was a really global phenomenon and some people always intended to come and make money and take it back to the East Coast or back home to wherever they came from. Others really saw it as an opportunity to, you know, advance settler colonialism and build their empire in this „new territory“ that they thought was empty and that they could fill with, you know, whatever they wanted to. So there was a lot, it was a really complex time and it is hard for me to give solid figures on what that looks like. #21:55#

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: Well, and I think that one thing that I have been surprised about, I just finished a huge data project. I looked through the census records from 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 and then sort of did some spot-searching in review in those in the later years until Prohibition, and looked through city directories, trying to identify actual brewers, seeing how many brewers there were. And I was really surprised at how few people stayed for more than one census cycle. So there were nearly 600 people that I’ve identified, only 40 of those were actually here, 40-ish, were here for more than one census cycle. So there was a, it was a really transitory business. I think people would stay for a few years and then go somewhere else. I don’t know where that „else“ would be. #22:58#

Markus: Maybe they stayed in the States and went somewhere else. But before you mentioned there were a lot of Germans, so is that in the records? Can you see that? #23:07#

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: Yes, absolutely, so many Germans! I wish I had the percentage in front of me. I was looking to see if I actually had it in my notes. It was something really close to like 75 per cent earlier on, certainly. #23:22#

Chelsea Rose: In the brewing industry? #23:23#

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: In the brewing industry, yes. And there were people who were from Austria or from Switzerland or from the part of France that is closest to Germany, so they definitely were coming from that region even if their country, their home country, wasn’t Germany. #23:47#

Markus: That’s the other side of it because at the time, in the 1850s, there was no Germany at all! So it was all these little member states and so you cannot really identify who is German or not but they were German-speaking. And as far as I learned, you had lots of even magazines and journals and newspapers in German and German events and German clubs and all these things. Also, we were talking about the Eagle Brewery, was this also a German based brewery and did it have the name Eagle or was it Adler, the German word, or did you find something like that? #24:22#

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: That was a good question! #24:23#

Chelsea Rose: A really good question, I’ve only ever seen Eagle Brewery. But I wanted to say – and this is a German brewing family, so we’ll get into that in a minute – but one of the interesting things is around the time period, and I think 19th century maybe even, you know, early to mid 19th century, there is a shift in preference for beer from the research I’ve been doing, that shows people are getting a lot more interested in lagers and that is different to brew and the types of structures you build around it are different than you would for like the English brewing. And you probably know way more about this than me, but from what I have read you need to keep it cooler because you have to allow it – what was it? – top fermented versus bottom fermented. So you have to let the beer rest and lager for longer, which means you have to build some way to keep that beer cool. And that has been really interesting for me to read about because you can see again this recursive relationship between people and culture and the things they make and build. And that’s, of course, where archaeologists are always getting interested. So the two breweries in town, in Jacksonville – one being Eagle Brewery we’re talking about – were associated with German brewers and we do see – and especially in this other brewery where there are still the ruins of all these lager caves. So it’s really interesting to see, you know, the type of beer that they are choosing to make definitely is reflected in the landscape and in the archaeology. #25:55#

Markus: That really sounds interesting! This is the major change in the American brewing. When they went from ale to lager and, as far as we know, or I know, it is connected to the German people which were immigrating and they started around the 1840s, 1850s, the first bottom fermenting brewing, lager breweries, and also the other ones, they kept on the top fermenting yeast but tried to ferment as cold as possible and so maybe, you know, the term of the steam beer from Anchor Brewing, for example. Then also a quite interesting things, but maybe that is another topic for another podcast. (laughs) Maybe if you have a look back on this German family of the Eagle Brewery, did you find out something about their living and their history and were there also other breweries there and what happened to them? Did you find out anything about that? #26:47#

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: So much! Oh! I will say that there are some people that it is really easy to research, they leave behind lots of different clues. And then some people you just dig and dig and dig and sometimes you don’t find much at all. In this case we found a lot. Both of the people, both the Wetterers, were born in Germany and I’m not sure exactly when he came over. I can’t remember off the top of my head, but in the late 1840s, early 1850s, was when most of the brewers in Oregon emigrated to America. She also came over at that same time. Most of them landed, I guess, they were in Missouri or the Mid-West for a certain amount of time. So a lot of the early people who were linked to brewing in Oregon came across on the Oregon Trail, one way or another. Some of them failed, but it depended on how much money they had. Whether they could afford to go around by boat, so not overland by boat but on the water by boat. So that was what she did, and she and her family settled in Albany, Oregon, which is – I could ride my bike there if I had some time, so it is really close to where I am now. And she was actually listed in the census as a cooper, so she was doing actual work related to brewing. Her father was a carpenter, but brewers lived with them. Her sister then married a brewer and stayed in Albany, Oregon. They had, Joseph and Frederica married in 1860 and lived in Jacksonville. He died, she lived a long time after he had passed on. They had lots of kids. He also left her with a lot of debts when he died and so there are a lot of really interesting important records related to the business and what was part of the business because there was so much legal strife around it. So we have lots of information about what the property of the bereaved was like. We have lots of information about how many kettles they had or how many bar stools they had. There was also a lot related to them in the newspapers and so there is a lot of really wonderful detail that kind of feels gossipy. It’s very like so and so went to visit her sister, or so and so came to visit. There was one really, really great article that I found that I shared with Chelsea about a lightning strike. There was a lightning strike on the building and it’s told how there was gold in the wallpaper and that the lightning travelled through the wallpaper. So we knew that this house had some definite decorative touches. I think that this thing about reconstructing this business history but also this family history is – Chelsea and I joked, I joked and Chelsea laughed – but this is very much like archaeology. That you really are just, you’re finding little itty-bitty clues and then you’re stringing them together to try to reconstruct what we think happened outside of the more traditional tax records or production records. What was it actually like to live in this place and be in this family? I think there is a benefit to Jacksonville being so – what’s the word I’m looking for, Chelsea? – not stuck in time but preserved. That there’s a real preservation to the town itself, to the properties that are there, to the families that have lived there for a long time. So that’s not the case in Portland, that’s not the case in Oregon City, that’s maybe not even the case in places like Albany which are so smaller towns. There has just been a lot of change and there hasn’t been a lot of change in Jacksonville. I think that makes it easier in a way because people keep talking about the same families and have stories to share. #31:29#

Chelsea Rose: And it is a kind of follow-up on that spot. You know, the original saloon that was adjacent to the brewery and part of it, is still there and is part of the modern owners‘ residence. And across the street there’s a woman, who actually is one of our volunteers, she works with us a lot, she dropped across the street and knew the granddaughter and daughter of the original brewers. So when she was a kid they were pretty old, so she remembered going over there and like checking out the brewery. So we were able to do like oral history with her too, just as a coincidence because she was already coming out to help us on this project. So, you know, there are those kinds of connections that you hope tell the story, but I think that it is important to recognize that, you know, archaeology can take many forms and we’re just looking at artefacts which are things made for and used by humans as the most basic interpretation of that. And that’s documents as well as things that we unearth from the dirt. And we were joking this morning about how going through the census records was really not that much different for screening through all the dirt and finding – we found a million nails out there of this brewery. So, you know, all these little clues that in and of themselves aren’t necessarily that groundbreaking – I guess it is pun intended! – or exciting, but when you start to add them all together, they all provide a thesis to the larger story. And archaeology is always about assemblages and patterns and how things fit together to create a context that you can try to build a story from. #33:04#

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: And I think that is what is, for me, what is so important in thinking about these as family businesses. So not just thinking about them as men drinking with men or men making beer that was consumed by men or that they were allied with sin and vice. That these were/ I think when you start looking at these clues that are left behind and frame them as family enterprises, it really requires that we consider what it is that we think about alcohol, period. But alcohol in the „Wild West“ and I’m doing air quotes which no one can see. (laughter) #33:49#

Chelsea Rose: You know that might also, that reckoning might also kind of tie in to what happened shortly thereafter which was the Temperance Movement, which was women trying to gain power over their relationship with alcohol and how it impacted their lives. So, you know, this is not something I’ve done a lot research into so I can’t really speak to it, but I just as we’re talking that, to me, seems like there’s probably a correlation in some ways. #34:14#

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: That’s something that definitely would surprise me as in Portland in particular which grew vastly larger than any of the other cities that were established at the same time. By the 1890s it was pretty out of control, but it was – there was a lot of violence, there was a lot of drinking and not in the sort of delightful German beer hall kind of way, but it lived up to its reputation from what I can tell. #34:46#

Markus: Yes, very interesting, and I can tell you there were not only nice days in the German (laughter) so also a lot of fighting and things. I just had an idea when you talked about the Temperance Movement, when we see pictures about the Prohibition Era and all these times we always see that the women said „Okay, we don’t want our men being drunk“, it was never about themselves drinking. But I think there is also something which should be considered. #35:14#

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: Well, yes, and I think that that’s really what it was, was they, women were often put in this position where they didn’t control a lot of the factors that impacted their own lives in the way that alcohol played a role within it. For example, I think Frederica’s story can kind of tie into this because after her husband died and she ended up taking over the business, she remarried to an English gentleman a couple of years later and she clearly was fully capable of operating this business and expanded it into, you know, continued to make alcohol as well as beer. And then when she married this new gentleman it all kind of goes downhill and there’s accounts of him getting arrested for starting fights. There are all these/ You know, he claims somebody poured soap into all the beer. And if you kind of read between the lines, you think like, aah, you know, he may be wasn’t the best person to team up with. And her daughter and in oral history says that, you know, when my stepfather came into the picture he just really didn’t have the background and he kind of got out of brewing. But I really think that here this woman had built up this business and worked really hard to save it, and then she remarries and the new guy just kind of drives it into the ground. And she’s stuck in a lot of ways with the consequences of his actions. So I think that is kind of the role that women/ that’s the kind of frustration that leads to the Temperance Movement. And really, when you look at that and the power it had, it is, you know, women totally taking control over new roles in politics and all the ways that they are influencing their communities. And several counties and cities in Southern Oregon went dry long before nationally. So that is another really part of the story women and how they were responding to their environments and trying to take their power back. #37:09#

Chelsea Rose: I haven’t done enough research yet to know, but I’m curious whether there was overlap between the women who were really pushing for temperance and were they in the same community clubs with women who were married to brewers. And that is something that I haven’t done too much research into but I’m really curious about that overlap and whether the wives of brewers were linked to alcohol, or whether they weren’t. And that is something I’m curious to learn more about because I imagine that it could be miserable. (laughter) #37:49#

Markus: It seems that we are starting many new topics today so far. #37:52#

Together: Yeah! (laughter) #37:54#

Markus: But maybe surely back to the Eagle Brewery, so was it the old brewery in the area and how long did they brew? When did they stop? #38:01#

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: Yes, that’s a hard question to answer. The first brewer that I’ve identified was in the 1850 census. He lived in Oregon City, which is the northern part of the State which was then the territorial capital. He was from Germany. I never could find anything more about him. I don’t have a brewery that was opened in 1850. It could be that he just identified as a brewer. The first brewery that I’ve been able to identify in Oregon was through a newspaper ad in 1854, that was in Portland. There was another brewery that was opened in 1856 in Portland and then over the next several years breweries opened in Oregon. So the person who opened the first brewery in Jacksonville was actually an Englishman and the first one who opened the first brewery in Oregon was Englishman. But the sort of irony that these first four Englishmen and then just like the Germans just steamed rolled over the later. So he was the first commercial brewer in Oregon. He opened the brewery in 1856. I think we feel pretty confident in that date. In 1854 he was in a census without an occupation and then the next year, 1855, he was listed on a jury roster with his occupation being brewer. So was he making beer? Probably. Was the commercial brewery then? I don’t know. I think that’s tough. There’s this elusive sentence that I have found but I can’t verify, that there was something in a newspaper, a Californian newspaper, so California and Jacksonville are really close to each other. So there was something in a Californian newspaper from 1852 or 1853 that he had purchased and was running this brewery in Jacksonville. So if that’s the case, then this Jacksonville brewery is the oldest in Oregon. I can’t find that paper because they are really, really rare and so I found different issues of it but I haven’t found the one that supposedly has this 1852 or 1853 date. It feels, it is feeling suspicious to me, like maybe that was a mistype or/ but I can’t verify it until I see it with my eyeballs I won’t say that, but it definitely was one of the first, by far one of the first. #40:44#

Markus: How long did they survive in the next generations or did they stop brewing? #40:48#

Chelsea Rose: There’s under Sanborn maps that the brewery itself is listed as dilapidated and all other accounts seem like by the 1890s they’re not really actively brewing anymore. And I think that there are two factors involved. One, like I said, the new husband did not make good decisions and was not a good partner, so I don’t think he helped this situation at all. But the town of Jacksonville in general was in decline. The railroad which was, you know in the American West it made or could break you. If the railroad came to your town, you’re golden, if it didn’t you are going to, you know, lose out to the town that it did go through. So the town by-passed Jacksonville by about five miles and they went into decline. And that is, so I think a lot of the businesses and stuff folks either thought well, I mean it’s out of town or we just don’t have the consumer base to support it anymore. But that is one of the reasons why Jacksonville is so well-preserved. It is what we call ‚preservation through neglect‘. So there wasn’t a lot of new developments and they didn’t raze buildings to put new ones up. So things were kind of just left as they were by the turn of the century until the 1960s when people started to recognize that it had its own worth as a historical landmark. #42:10#

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: And there was another brewery in Jacksonville, that was the City Brewery which was run by him and he, from what I can tell, came as a dry goods merchant but he was in Jacksonville 1852, 1853, and he ran this other brewery, which seems like it started – I think Wetterer started at that brewery and then sold it and then moved to this location that he’s at – it’s a bit, I’m a little fuzzy on that. But that brewery closed when he died. He died in 1892 and at that point that was when that business went under. #42:57#

Chelsea Rose: And that shows he did leave a bunch of archaeology, that’s where you can see the lager caves fairly well and this whole warren of brick underground, like stone and brick tunnels. And the building that was there was several stories high and you can see kind of how they were using the innovations of artificial cooling to kind of facilitate making beer which is pretty interesting. And that’s another one that I’ve got my eye on for archaeology at some point because I think that would be another really interesting place to look. And they had a brewery-saloon-dance hall kind of thing going on, and so that place definitely is central to a lot of this, you know, Wild West kind of paper cuttings that you read about all the fights and the rally parties and stuff there. #43:44#

Markus: Yes, I definitely have to come over.

Together: Yes, please!

Markus: I really want to see these lager caves. That really sounds very interesting. Maybe just a short question, why you just talked about making alcohol and beer. So was distilling also an important thing, not only brewing? #43:58#

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: Yes, yes, for sure! So they were the/ Definitely hard liquor was popular with the early white settlers, for sure, all over Oregon. (laughs) So there was that, I think that kind of small-scale brewing even before these named breweries. So they were definitely making all sorts of hard liquor. And Joseph Wetterer certainly absolutely distilled, and tax records and ads from newspapers show that he was advertising whisky and brandy and the lager beer. And then after he died in those probate estate records there is information about the distilling equipment and how much liquor is on hand at that time. And the implication that I was drawing, that I draw, is that Frederica, his wife, essentially was saying you can’t repossess this equipment because this is how I’m going to make money. So let me keep this brewing equipment and this distilling equipment and keep operating it because that is how I am going to be able to pay these debts. So, to me, that was pretty clear evidence that she felt like she could make money making liquor. #45:21#

Chelsea Rose: And there are also accounts of, I guess he’s a gauger – is that right? The guy who goes around and like checks the alcohol, what it is like. So he, there are definitely accounts of her producing apple brandy of a fine quality, according to this official that would come through and test it. So she was making brandy. And then just one of the things that kind of show how archaeology definitely reinforces this desire for folks to get alcohol out here. Before these breweries really got their footing and they were making, you know, lager and alcohol, we found archaeological places leading into the early 1850s that have the stoneware ale bottles and stoneware gin that had been imported from Amsterdam. And this is back when anything coming in has to come great distances either on foot, human feet, or via like mules and stuff. So the effort it took to bring this heavy, breakable alcohol out to these remote areas really showed you how much of a priority it was for these folks doing this mining out here originally. #46:28#

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: They were committed! (laughter) #46:30#

Markus: I can imagine, very interesting too. So maybe it’s the last question: All your findings, all your work, did that change your personal view on beer and brewing? #46:38#

Chelsea Rose: Well, for me it is still ongoing because we just finished working out there not too long ago. We have a few more things we’d like to continue to do. One of them is, do some remote sensing to see if we can identify where some of the underground part of the structure was that is now a lawn because there was, according to some documents, like a warren of like these caves and stuff, at the Eagle Brewery spot. So I’m still kind of I haven’t really wrapped my head around it fully, but the idea that families were living here and running this business definitely changed the way I think about it and that is being reinforced in the archaeological record in the buttons and the kind of a daily life type of artefacts that we’re seeing. It’s not just like saloon paraphernalia or anything like that, it’s definitely, you know, the domestic assemblage that you would assume where like a family was living. So that’s really what we’re seeing archaeologically and so that reinforces what Tiah has been saying about these breweries are not what you see in Wild West movies. #47:44#

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: I think what really surprised me. I wouldn’t say that it changed anything because, as Chelsea said, that was what I thought, so it sort of confirmed, I guess, what I was thinking. I think for me – I’ve been interested in women in brewing – 19th century women in brewing – for a few years and have done some on-site research – and we still do on-site research, before covid – but the last year and a half I’ve been doing almost all of my research looking at census trackers online or looking at newspapers online and I can find a lot. I think what really felt sort of overwhelming in a way to me was to be in this place, so the importance of actually going to the place where one of these women lived, talking to somebody who saw the house when it was still there. I think that was really important. There also was this, in the saloon building which is still there, there is a post in the center that had the names and the heights of her children marked on it. And I thought what an amazing record of the way that they were in this saloon building, with the kids, marking how tall the kids were. I think that felt, that sort of wonderful connection of these were people and they were doing the same things that people now do, just because it was the black and white era, and they, you know, didn’t have internet connections where they could talk to each other throughout the world or connect with their families, they still did the same thing. And I think that was probably one of my favorite parts. I mean the nails and the digging that was awesome but to see and be in that place was really special and I think made them seem even more real to me as people who lived lives and did ordinary things. #49:43#

Chelsea Rose: The original billiard table, billiard tables, also down in that saloon basement, largely because it is too heavy to get out. But that’s another really interesting connection to this past as well. #49:56#

Markus: Yes, well, these old times really come back to life a little bit and we really can imagine how these days were and I really am very fond of coming to you and having some beers with you and talking about these times. So for today I say thanks a lot, thanks for your time, thanks for your information and I’ll cross my fingers for your next findings, that you find interesting things, and I’m looking forward to maybe having another series in a few weeks or months and talk about the next thing. Thanks. #50:22#

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: Thank you so much for having us. It has been really fun. #50:25#

 

BierTalk – der Podcast rund ums Bier.

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