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Jacob Wirth & Co.

Boston, Massachusetts
Providence, Rhode Island
Jacob Wirth

Jacob Wirth  was born on June 2, 1840 and raised in the wine growing Bad
Kreuzanach district in Rhineland - Palatinate, Germany. He emigrated to Boston,
Massachusetts, in 1865 where, according to the Boston Globe archives, Wirth
began his life in the United States as a baker.

In 1868, Jacob Wirth established a wholesale and bottling company at 60 Eliot


Street in Boston. From this location, he imported and sold fine Rhine wines from
his homeland as well as wines from France. Wirth was the sole Boston agent for the
lager beers of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company of St. Louis, Missouri. This
may have been partly due to the mutual heritage he shared with Eberhand
Anheuser who also hailed from Kreuzanach. Additional beers sold by Wirth
included George Ehret's Hell Gate Lager from New York, Robert Smith's India
Pale Ale from Philadelphia, as well as a house beer he dubbed “The Boss Lager."
Portrait of Jacob Wirth
(June 2, 1840 - August 10, 1892)
(Jacobwirth.com)
“The Boss Lager” Lithograph
c. 1875
(Boston
(AlamyPublic
Stock Photo)
Library)
“The Boss Lager” Lithograph
c. 1875
(Boston
(AlamyPublic
Stock Photo)
Library)
Jacob Wirth

In 1878, Jacob Wirth moved his establishment across the street to a series of Greek -
revival bow front row-houses located at 37 - 39 Eliot Street. These were later listed
at 33 - 37 Elliot Street. There, in addition to his prosperous wholesale business, he
opened a restaurant.

Jacob Wirth’s was a most impressive establishment that catered to the famous, as
well as not - so famous, of Boston. Entering the front door, guests were greeted by a
long mahogany bar that offered the finest selections of draught beers available. The
back bar was adorned with the motto "SUUM CUIQCE" (To Each Their Own)
over which hung an image of the proprietor himself. At the many tables and chairs
spread over the sawdust covered floor, guests could enjoy traditional
German delicacies such as sausages, pigs feet, bacon, herring, and an assortment of
cheeses.
Postcard - Jacob Wirth & Co. at 31 - 39 Elliot Street, Boston
1896
(ebay - Private Collection)
Jacob Wirth

Being a bachelor for many years, Jacob Wirth had the reputation of being married
to his work. That said, he was also very active in his local community. Among his
many avocations, Wirth was a member of the Germanic Masons Lodge of Boston.

According to legend, Jacob Wirth fell in love with his future wife during an
altercation at his restaurant. Hired as a cleaning lady, Anna Maria Lauppe (Born
August 22, 1844) witnessed an unruly customer becoming very confrontational with
her boss one evening. When things began to get physical, Maria became so
flustered with the situation that she took matters into her own hands and broke her
wooden mop bucket over the patron’s head. After the individual was escorted off
the premises, Jacob became so smitten with this feisty girl that the couple were
married a month later. They lived at 39 Elliot Street in Boston.

Jacob and Maria Worth had two children: Jacob Jr., who was born on May 19,
1880, and Elisa Marie, who was born four years later on March 22, 1884.
Jacob Wirth & Co.

Jacob Wirth expanded his operations when he opened a wholesale and bottling
facility at 160 Broad Street in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1880. With his business
now known as the Jacob Wirth (&) Co., Wirth continued to run his Boston
operations, while his nephew, Henry R. Wirth, took on the responsibility of
managing his Rhode Island branch on May 1, 1889..

The Providence branch of the Jacob Wirth & Co. was located at 160 and 162 Broad
Street in 1883. It was listed at 164 Broad Street between 1884 - 1886, the corner of
164 Broad Street and Potter Street in 1887, the corner of 186 Broad Street and 2 &
6 Potter Street in 1889, and by 1892 186 Weybosset Street. The Jacob Wirth & Co.
also had addresses of 25-27 Page Street and 17 North Main Street in Pawtucket. At
these locations the company imported and bottled fine wines, beers, ales, and
seltzer waters.
Wirth’s Munich Malt Extract - “A Tonic”
by Jacob Wirth & Co. c. 1885 - 1890
(Steve Berquist Collection)
Receipt for Jacob Wirth & Co. at 33 & 37 Elliot Street, Boston
April 13, 1895
(Ed & Greg Theberge Collection)
Receipt for Jacob Wirth & Co. 33 - 37 Elliot Street, Boston
October 17, 1895
(Ed & Greg Theberge Collection)
Advertisement for Jacob Wirth at 164 Broad Street & the Corner of Potter Street, Providence, R.I. and 37 - 39 Elliot Street, Boston
1886
(Taylor McBurney)
Lithograph Print - Jacob Wirth & Co. Boston & Providence
c. 1880 - 1889
(Historic New England)
“The Providence Directory, and Rhode Island Directory”
1889
(Google Books)
Receipt for the Jacob Wirth & Co. at 227 - 231 West Exchange Street, Providence, Rhode Island
July 27, 1900
(Ed & Greg Theberge Collection)
Anheuser - Busch Export Beer Bottled by Jacob Wirth & Co., Providence, Rhode Island
July 27, 1900
(Ed & Greg Theberge Collection)
Jacob Wirth & Co.

When the Narragansett Brewing Company of “Providence”, Rhode Island, was


incorporated  in 1890, Jacob Wirth became one of the original six investors of the
fledgling company.

The Jacob Wirth & Co., bottled Narragansett Select Stock Lager at both their
Rhode Island and Boston branches. Jacob Wirth was the brewery's sole agent in
Boston.
Label & Neck Label for Narragansett Brewing Company Select Lager Beer, Bottled by Jacob Wirth & Co., Boston
c. 1905 - 1907
(Ed & Greg Theberge Collection)
Label for Narragansett Brewing Company Select Stock, Bottled by Jacob Wirth & Co.
c. 1905 - 1907
(Ed & Greg Theberge Collection)
Jacob Wirth

Jacob Wirth passed away on August 10, 1892 in Reichenhall, Bavaria when he was
only 52 years of age. He was  laid to rest on August 29th in the Forest Hills
Cemetery located in Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts. After his death, Henry R.
Wirth, managed the family business while his wife, Maria, distributed the profits
amongst the beneficiaries under his will.

Maria Wirth passed away on September 3, 1899 at the age of 55. Buried alongside
her husband, Maria’s headstone reads “Died at Kreuznach” which would imply that
she had returned to Germany prior to her passing.
Newspaper Announcement of the Passing of Jacob Wirth
Fitchburg Sentinel, Monday, August 29, 1892
(Newspapers.com)
“Official Hand Book of the Rhode Island District Assembly 99 Knights of Labor and Protective Association”
1894
(Google Books - Wisconsin Historical Library”
Obituary for Mrs. Jacob Wirth
Boston Globe September 18, 1899
(Newspapers.com)
Obituary for Mrs. Jacob Wirth
Boston Globe September 18, 1899
(Newspapers.com)
Obituary for Mrs. Jacob Wirth
Boston Globe September 18, 1899
(Newspapers.com)
Obituary for Mrs. Jacob Wirth
Boston Globe September 18, 1899
(Newspapers.com)
Obituary for Mrs. Jacob Wirth
Boston Globe September 18, 1899
(Newspapers.com)
Obituary for Mrs. Jacob Wirth
Boston Globe September 18, 1899
(Newspapers.com)
Obituary for Mrs. Jacob Wirth
Boston Globe September 18, 1899
(Newspapers.com)
The Wirth Family Gravestones
Forrest Hills, Massachusetts, Cemetery and Crematorium
(Find a Grave)
Jacob Wirth & Co., Inc.

By 1899, the Providence branch of the Jacob Wirth & Co., under the direction of
Henry R. Wirth, was listed at 227 - 231 West Exchange Street. The company would
become one of the largest wholesalers  and bottlers of domestic wines, beers, and
mineral water in New England.

While Jacob Wirth, Jr. was attending Chauncy Hall and Hopkinson’s School in
Boston, he decided to leave his studies and by 1901 took on the responsibilities of
running his family’s business.

In 1908, Jacob Wirth & Co. became Jacob Wirth & Co., Inc. when Henry R.
Wirth, Fred A. Browning, and Frederick P. Eddy became partners of the newly
formed corporation.
Newspaper Advertisement
Boston Globe, October 12, 1894
(Newspapers.com)
“The Providence House Directory and Family Address Book”
No. 8, 1899
(Google Books - Harvard University Library)
“Annual Report of the State Auditor Made to the General Assembly at It’s January Session 1901”
1901
(Google Books - New York Public Library)
Insurance Map of Providence, Rhode Island, Volume 1, 1899
Sanborn - Feris Map Company 1899
(Brown University)
Insurance Map of Providence, Rhode Island, Volume 1, 1899
Sanborn - Feris Map Company 1899
(Brown University)
“Jacob Wirth & Co.”
Insurance Map of Providence, Rhode Island, Volume 1, Sanborn - Feris Map Company 1899
(Brown University)
“Jacob Wirth & Co.”
Insurance Map of Providence, Rhode Island, Volume 1, Sanborn - Feris Map Company 1899
(Brown University)
Newspaper Advertisement
Boston Globe, July 28, 1904
(Newspapers.com)
Label for Narragansett Brewing Company Select Stock Beer, Bottled by Jacob Wirth & Co. Inc.
c. 1908
(Ed & Greg Theberge Collection)
The Jacob Wirth & Co. Located at 227 - 231 West Exchange Street, Providence, Rhode Island
Viewed from Bradford Street c. 1917
(Providence Public Library)
The Boston Store

The Jacob Wirth and Co. Located at 227 - 231 West Exchange Street, Providence, Rhode Island
Viewed from Bradford Street c. 1917
(Providence Public Library)
The Jacob Wirth & Co. Located at 227 - 231 West Exchange Street, Providence, Rhode Island
Viewed from Bradford Street c. 1917
(Providence Public Library)
The Boston Store

The Boston Store Located Adjacent to Jacob Wirth & Co. on West Exchange Street, Providence, Rhode Island
Viewed from Bradford Street c. 1917
(Providence Public Library)
The Jacob Wirth and Co. Located at 227 - 231 West Exchange Street, Providence, Rhode Island
2017
(Google Maps)
The Jacob Wirth & Co. Located at 227 - 231 West Exchange Street, Providence, Rhode Island
Viewed from Bradford Street 2017
(Google Maps)
Wirth’s Hof Brau Haus

In addition to their wholesale liquor and beer operations, the Jacob Wirth & Co.
established a German themed family restaurant in Providence similar to its
operation in Boston. Complete with a separate men’s cafe, this establishment was
known as the Hof Brau Haus.

In 1910, Wirth’s Hof Brau Haus was located 14 - 22 Garnet Street adjacent to the
grandiose Crown Hotel. In 1915, it was listed at 2 - 4 - 6 Garnet Street and by 1917 it
was listed at 6 Garnet Street, at the corner of Weybosset. This can be corroborated
with postcards from the era that reveal signs for “Wirth’s” on a building at the corner
of Weybosset and Garnett.
Wirth’s Hof Brau Haus

Although it is difficult to ascertain if the Jacob Wirth Co. was running the
establishments at the time, a Providence insurance map from 1889 reveals that
buildings for bottling, a beer depot, and ale storage were present at the location
later advertised for Wirth’s Hoff Brau Haus. A “Beer Garden”, “Restaurant”, and
“Beer Storage” facility are depicted at this same location in a map from 1899. It is
interesting to note that this section of Weybosset Street is labeled as Broad Street
and Garnet Street is labeled as Potter Street at this time.

In addition to serving the public, Wirth’s Hof Brau Haus served as the
headquarters of the Rhode Island Automobile Club. It did this from as early as 1910
to as late as 1915.

The fixtures and license of the Jacob Wirth & Co. Hof Brau House were listed for
sale in February of 1917. The establishment was listed as “closed” in the Rhode
Island Twenty - Fourth Annual Report of Factory Inspection Made to the General
Assembly in January, 1918.
Insurance Map of Providence, Rhode Island, Volume 1, 1889
Sanborn Map Company 1889
(Brown University)
“Beer Garden”, “Restaurant” & “Beer Storage” Facility / Providence Athletic Ass’n, Later the Crown Hotel in 1901
Insurance Map of Providence, Rhode Island, Volume 1, Sanborn Map Company 1889
(Brown University)
“Beer Garden”, “Restaurant” & “Beer Storage” Facility / Providence Athletic Ass’n, Later the Crown Hotel in 1901
Insurance Map of Providence, Rhode Island, Volume 1, Sanborn Map Company 1889
(Brown University)
Insurance Map of Providence, Rhode Island, Volume 1, 1899
Sanborn - Feris Map Company 1899
(Brown University)
“Beer Garden”, “Restaurant” & “Beer Storage” Facility / Providence Athletic Ass’n, Later the Crown Hotel in 1901
Insurance Map of Providence, Rhode Island, Volume 1, Sanborn - Feris Map Company 1899
(Brown University)
Advertisement for Jacob Wirth’s Hof Brau Haus
Automobile Blue Book - Official 1910
(Google Books - University of Illinois)
Advertisement for Jacob Wirth’s Hof Brau Haus
Automobile Blue Book - Official 1910
(Google Books - University of Illinois)
“Crown Hotel and Hof Brau Haus, Providence, R.I.” Postcard Looking Towards Weybosset
c. 1910
(Rhode Island School of Design)
Weybosset Street - “Wirth’s” Cafe on the Right
c. 1910
(Public Domain - Photograph Courtesy David Crowell)
Weybosset Street - “Wirth’s” Cafe on the Right
c. 1910
(Public Domain - Photograph Courtesy David Crowell)
“Crown Hotel, Providence, R.I.” Postcard at 208 Weybosset Street - “Wirth’s” Cafe on the Left
c. 1910
(Ed & Greg Theberge Collection)
“Crown Hotel, Providence, R.I.” Postcard at 208 Weybosset Street - “Wirth’s” Cafe on the Left
c. 1910
(Ed & Greg Theberge Collection)
Advertisement for Jacob Wirth’s Hof Brau Haus
c. 1910
(Little Rhody Bottle Club)
Central Business District Providence, Rhode Island, Map 1904
Sanborn Map Company 1904
(Brown University)
Corner of Weybosset & Garnet Streets
Central Business District Providence, Rhode Island, Sanborn Map Company 1904
(Brown University)
Tasting Glasses for Jacob Wirth’s Hofbrau Haus
1907 - 1908
(Ed & Greg Theberge Collection)
Advertisement for Jacob Wirth’s Hof Brau Haus
Automobile Blue Book - Official 1915
(Google Books - Pennsylvania State University)
Coaster for Jacob Wirth’s HofBrau Haus
c. 1910
(Ed & Greg Theberge Collection)
Advertisement for Jacob Wirth’s Hof-Brau
Providence Magazine March, 1917
(Google Books)
Newspaper Advertisement
Boston Globe, February 8, 1917
(Newspapers.com)
Corner of Weybosset Street and Garnet Street
2018
(Google Maps)
Corner of Weybosset Street and Garnet Street
2018
(Google Maps)
Rhode Island Twenty - Fourth Annual Report of Factory Inspection Made to the General Assembly
January, 1918
(Google Books - University of Illinois)
Wirth Concorde Ade Co.

Like many other fine establishments, the Jacob Wirth & Co. in Rhode Island hit
hard times during the dark years of Prohibition. In order to survive, the business
produced ConcordAde, “A delicious and refreshing drink made from Grapes”. Still
listed at West Exchange Street, they company became known as the Wirth
Concorde Ade Co. in 1927. Unable to survive on this alone, the Providence branch
of the Jacob Wirth Co. would forever close its doors shortly after.

Up in Boston, the Jacob Wirth & Co. would forever cease to import and bottle fine
wines, beers, and ales with the coming of prohibition. It would, however, continue
to  operate as a restaurant for nearly a century longer despite experiencing anti -
German sentiment during and after World Wars I and II.
Listing for Wirth & Co., Inc. and “Concord Aide.”
Chilton Supply Index May 1922
(Google Books)
Newspaper Advertisement
The Bridgeport (Connecticut) Telegram June 16, 1920
(Newspapers.com)
Newspaper Advertisement
Boston Post, May 3, 1921
(Newspapers.com)
Newspaper Advertisement
Boston Post, May 27, 1921
(Newspapers.com)
Jacob Wirth & Co.

After World War II, Jacob Wirth, Jr. handed the reins of the Jacob Wirth Co.
restaurant over to his son in law, Frank Lindsey.

Jacob Wirth, Jr., passed away on December 12, 1965. His wife, Dorothy, passed
away on October 20, 1995.
The Wirth Family Gravestones
Forrest Hills, Massachusetts, Cemetery and Crematorium
(Find a Grave)
Waiters Charles Bischoff, Pat Donovan, Ernie Kunstler and Alfred Elias Pick Up Their Plates Inside Jacob Wirth Co.
May 29, 1957
(Boston Globe Photograph)
Waiters Charles Bischoff, Pat Donovan, Ernie Kunstler and Alfred Elias Pick Up Their Plates Inside Jacob Wirth Co.
May 29, 1957
(Public Domain)
Jacob Wirth

In 1975, the Jacob Wirth Co. restaurant in Boston was sold to William J. Fitzgerald
where it continued to operate under the Fitzgerald family until 2018.

Although Eliot Street has since been renamed Stuart Street, the famous restaurant
continued to operate and appear much the same as it did when Jacob Wirth opened
it nearly a century and a half earlier. Your author went to school across the street
from “Jake’s” and has many very fond memories of the establishment. Despite being
designated as a historic landmark by the Boston Landmark Commission to protect
it from ownership tearing it down to expand an adjacent parking lot, the restaurant
finally closed in 2018 when its owner, William Kevin Fitzgerald, filed for
bankruptcy.

As of the writing of this document, Jacob Wirth’s is currently up for sale for
$1,025,000. If anyone wants to go in with me on it, let me know…
Acknowledgements
The following individuals, websites, and organizations are greatly acknowledged
for providing the information presented in this document:

The Boston Globe


The Boston Public Library
Brown University
Find a Grave Website
Google Books
Google Maps
Historic New England
The Little Rhody Bottle Club Website
Newspapers.com
Taylor McBurney and His Website “Rhode Island Soda Bottle Histories”
Providence Public Library
Edward J. and Gregory S. Theberge
The Jacob Wirth Restaurant Website