30 May 2014

LaGrange Cemetery

Has anyone noticed the old LaGrange Cemetery in Slingerlands? It is located at the end of Vista Blvd behind the new Shop Rite off Rt 85 or New Scotland Road.  It is a very small old cemetery with very few stones. Four larger stones are very prominent with a few small stones behind them.  We are fortunate that this old farmer's cemetery was not lost to the development of the new commercial development occurring there. Perhaps the previous owner of the land knew of the small cemetery and stated to the developers that the cemetery must stay and the development be built around it? Either way the cemetery still stands.

LaGrange Cemetery

Buried in the cemetery are Abram C. LaGrange who died 6 July 1859 aged 37 years, 4 months. Below is his stone.
Abram C. LaGrange

Christian C. LaGrange died 7 December 1851, aged 25 years.
Christian C. LaGrange

Jamima LaGrange, wife of Christian I. LaGrange died 2 December 1828, aged 32 years.

Jamima LaGrange

Christian I. LaGrange died 24 July 1848, aged 69 years.
Christian I. LaGrange

03 May 2014

German Hotel Proprietors in Albany

The following is an excerpt from my 2005 MA Thesis, From Acceptance to Renunication: Das Ende von Albanys Deustchtum. This sub-chapter gives a brief history of Albany's German hotel proprietors and a brief synopsis of the times.

Many Germans proudly worked in the service sector of Albany’s various business entities.  They provided board, entertainment, camaraderie, and Bier.  German proprietors ran many halls, hotels, cafes, and Biergartens.  German hotels were numerous in the downtown business section and also outside the city limits.  According to Howell and Tenney, the first German hotel was the National Hotel situated across from Steamboat Square at 266 Broadway and run by former barber John Wachter.[1] Wachter operated the hotel from 1848 until his death circa 1860.  His wife, Catherine, then became proprietress until John Bissikummer (1843-1883) took control around 1868.  Another early German hotel was Schweitzer’s Hotel, located on the corner of Lydius Street (now Madison Avenue) and Broadway.  The hotel was listed in the Albany city directory of 1851-52. 
Henry Parr

Outside the city limits, Henry Parr provided a fine assortment of wines, liquors, and cigars at the Abbey Hotel, located south of Albany on River Road (today Route 144) in the Bethlehem hamlet of Kenwood.

Abbey Hotel

The landmark hotel offered accommodations for private parties, picnics, and social gatherings.  The Abbey was “…famous for its marvelous German food and good draw of hops and malt.”[2]  The famous structure was said to have been built around 1680 and was in constant use until 1945, when it became vacant.  The building became a ruin when it mysteriously collapsed in 1959 and was consequently razed for safety concerns.[3]  

The Shafer’s Hotel and Family Resort also known as Shafer’s Grove was operated by Martin Shafer and was located at Central and Colvin Avenues; the present site of the Armory Garage complex.  The grove was in operation from circa 1894 till 1924.  It featured a swimming hole and an amusement park.  The grounds were the setting for many German picnics and outings.
The Hotel Germania, at 34 Beaver Street and summer Biergarten in the rear of the building was first managed by John Bissikummer from 1871 until his death on May 24, 1883.  Bissikummer’s wife, Caroline [Wachter] (1847-1926), then operated the hotel until 1889.  William Menk took charge next until 1892, when John Bissikummer Jr. (1869-1895) brought hotel proprietorship back to the Bissikummer family from 1892 to 1894.  Theodore J. Gutekunst was the last manager of the Hotel Germania.  
1893 Ad
He operated the hotel until 1901, when he opened the Hotel Washington, located at 93 Washington Avenue.  Gutekunst ran the Hotel Washington only three years.  Mrs. Bertha Klemp next took control of the 93 Washington Avenue locale, until 1906 when she opened a new hotel at 73 Whitehall Road.  The Whitehall Road hotel was in operation until circa 1924.
Washington Hotel

Michael Milhauser
German proprietors sometimes moved from location to location.  When this occurred, other German proprietors soon followed and established their businesses in the locale of a former German establishment.  For instance, Michael Milhauser (1841-1935) ran a saloon at 49 Madison Avenue from 1887 to 1889.  He relocated to 33 Green Street and opened the Württemberger Hof there from 1890 to 1891.  William Firmbach next moved into 49 Madison Avenue and established the German Hotel between 1891 and 1892.  After Milhauser left his 33 Green Street location, John Markert (1855-1920) moved into the locale and established Markert’s Hotel from 1892 to 1907. 
John Markert
Markert made lodging available weekly or daily board along with Dobler’s Lager, fine liquors, and cigars.  Württemberger Hof from 1892 to 1912.  Nearby, at 29-31 Green Street, Nicholas Engel (died 30 July 1896) operated a restaurant known as the “The Best Lager.” The rear of the restaurant backed into John Bissikummer’s summer Biergarten at the rear of the Hotel Germania.[4] Meanwhile, Milhauser moved to 68 Green Street and reopened the
 The Hotel Columbia was a first class German hotel and restaurant.  It was located at 44 Beaver Street.  Gustav Zinserling was the owner from 1892 to 1900.  Louis Dube operated the hotel from 1901 to 1903 and John B. Staats from 1904 to 1911.
1893 Ad
 The Schlitz Hotel and Rathskeller, operated by Phillip H. Kalkbrenner (1863-1925) was located at 578-580 Broadway from 1897 until the 1930s. 
Schlitz Hotel
1902 Ad
Ernest Zeller (1827-1879) operated the Progress Hotel at 93 Green Street from the early 1860s till 1873.  He then became the operator of the Belvedere House, sited at 39 Beaver Street, until his death.  Zeller’s wife, Elizabeth, ran the hotel until 1892, when Nicholas J. Dell and Joseph Neuser took over. 
1889 Ad
The Bavaria at 38 Beaver Street was managed by Ernestine F. Gioth, in 1889 and 1890, until she moved to San Francisco in 1890. 

1891 Ad
Other German hotels and cafes included the Café Columbus, the Deutscher Hotel, located at 270 Broadway, the Old Homestead Hotel and Restaurant, which was run by Wilhelm Grandpré (1855-1922), who was also the president of the local branch of the DANB.  The hotel was situated at 33 Hudson Avenue.  Henry Schuster (1840-1922) from Nordheim, Bavaria ran the Hotel Schuster at 199 South Pearl Street from 1895 to 1900. 
Wilhelm Granpre

[1] Howell and Tenney, eds., History of the County of Albany, N. Y, pp. 652-653.
[2] Times Union, July 7, 1970, 5:1.
[3] Knickerbocker News, October 12, 1959, 1B:1.
[4] City Atlas of Albany, New York (Philadelphia: G. M. Hopkins, C. E., 1876), Plate E.