Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bushwick to Greenport on the 9am express

Four and twenty Yankees, feeling very dry,
Went across the border to get a drink of rye.

When the rye was opened, the Yanks began to sing,
"God bless America, but God save the King!" (Canadian Drinking Song 1920 at the onset of prohibition)

We are guessing that this picture dates from about 1900 as the road (Main St. Greenport) is dirt and there are no cars - just horse drawn wagons.  There are, in the distance clear signs of utility poles and we note that in 1900 several dozen businesses had phones so let's leave it at that.
We found interesting that on the roof of Claudio's Restaurant there is an "Ulmer's Beer" sign, plain as day. That set us in motion as Ulmer's Beer isn't in our memory and some of us grew up in the Midwest where it seemed every big town had a brewery or ten so Ulmer stumped us. 

With a little digging we found the Ulmer Brewery was founded in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn about 1870 at 31 Belvidere Street and pictures of it are extant. The building is on the historical tour and for good reason as a grand building it was.  Technology being what it is, we can spot that selfsame building from the air although it is clearly a shadow of its former self.  The "main office" under the flag to the left still stands and is on the tour if you care to find where the tour starts.

We checked and found that it is 95.88 miles from Ulmer to Greenport and on roads that probably didn't exist back then.  And then it hit us.  Why would the Ulmer Brewery, a fairly small time operation compared to Colonel Ruppert's Brewery and dozens of others, get a foot hold in Greenport.  By the picture, trucks were scarce and our minds finally focused on the fact that Greenport was the end of the main line of the Long Island Railroad and that the main station out west in metropolitan New York was - and you guessed it - not far from Ulmer. Not far at all. Why beer brewed and kegged in the morning could be on tap by 3pm in the afternoon and fresh as a daisy.

Now that we have settled that mystery, such as it was, we can go about our day.  Perhaps something from YouTube that is in keeping before you wander off.

No comments:

Post a Comment