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Fredericksburg

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Charles Nimitz c. 1860

The first brewery in Fredericksburg was located under the saloon at theNimitz Hotel. Charles Nimitz was a former merchant seaman from Bremen, Germany who was among the first colonists to arrive in town. Nimitz opened the hotel in 1852, and it quickly became the social center of the town, and was, before the rise of El Paso, the last real hotel between San Antonio and San Diego. The German colonists brought their singing and debating societies, and the hotel was the perfect gathering place. By 1860, Nimitz was brewing beer under the saloon. Some sources report the beer was shipped as far as "Forts Mason, McKavett, Concho and Martin Scott," but since Fort Martin Scott had ceased to exist, and Fort Concho hadn't been established yet, the claim is unlikely. Local historian Elise Kowart speculated that an early photo of the hotel shows hop vines on several trellises along the side of the two-story hotel. The Civil War brought shortages to the area, and the cellar brewery was converted into a cistern. The copper brewing kettles stayed in the basement until 1911, when Charles died. No one knows what happened to them after that. The list of famous persons who stayed at the hotel is impressive: Robert E. Lee, O. Henry, Rutherford B. Hayes, Phil Sheridan, Ulysses S. Grant, Johnny Ringo and Jesse James. Charles' grandson, Chester W. Nimitz was born down the street. Chester would become Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Forces during World War II. The hotel is now home to The Admiral Nimitz Museum of the Pacific War, run by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The photo was taken around 1860. Elise Kowert beleives the vines on the trellises were hop vines.

 

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