Eberhardt & Ober History

This Document First Published: October 29, 2017

This document explores the
Ober Brewery, the Eberhardt Brewery, which renamed the Eberhardt & Ober Brewery, the Combined Ober-Eberhardt & Ober Breweries and the Eberhardt & Ober Brewery after 1899.
This document explores the breweries in a time-lime fashion.

The Penn Brewery sits on land that was predominately owned by the Ober Family. The current yard and parking lot is where Eberhardt started his brewery.

Start of The Ober Brewery Timeline

1857 Leonhart Schlaffner & Weiser
AKA Leonard Shaffner Brewery
AKA Shaffner & Veissert Amber Brewery
12 – 18 Vinial St
Established in 1857 by Schlaffner & Weiser.
Noted in the
Industries of Pittsburgh, published by the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce for 1879 & 1880.

The 1858 Pittsburgh Directory noted Lenhardt Kern, brewer living at the corner of East Lane and Second Street in Allegheny. Conrad Leonhart was a cooper at this time. Christ King of Spring Garden was a brewer.

1858 Koenig & Weiser Amber Brewery
12 – 18 Vinial St
Established in 1858 as noted in the
Industries of Pittsburgh, published by the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce for 1879 & 1880. One Hundred Years of Brewing has Leonhart Schlaffner & Weiser as the founders but has 1858.

1860 Koenig & Ober Brewery
12 – 18 Vinial St
George Ober was with Koenig & Weiser in 1860 (at age 37) and took full control in 1864, according to Dick Ober in a
City Paper story.
Ober & Koenig took control in 1860 and in 1863 George Ober became sole proprietor but the 1865 directory has (Andrew) King & (George) Ober Brewery. The following year Charles F. Ober became associated with his brother, under the firm name and style as at present, as noted in the
Industries of Pittsburgh, published by the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce for 1879 & 1880.
Note: A John Koenig came to Allegheny in 1846 and Jacob Koenig in 1878.

1858 Note: George Ober was living on Main Street and East Lane in this year. He was a grocer before becoming a brewer.

George Ober was born in 1823 and came to America in 1840 when he was 17. He married Mary Vogel and they had 15 children.

1860 Gottlieb Siedle Restaurant
The 1860 Pittsburgh Directory lists Gottlieb Siedle (see 1878 G Siedle, below) as having a restaurant at 218 Liberty Street in Allegheny City. The 1864 directory has Getand Edward Benz having a beer saloon at Liberty and Sixth in Pittsburgh. In 1858, Herman Seidel, brewer was living at 16 Diamond Street, now Forbes Ave.

1861 Steidle & Co. Brewery
This brewery was noted in the 1861 directory being at Green Street, north of Chestnut in Allegheny. This could have been the same location as the Hoffman Brewery of the 1870’s.

1863 George Ober Brewery
16 Vinial St
George was sole proprietor from 1863 until his retirement in 1878.

1870 John P. Ober
George Ober’s son, John P., was born on August 21, 1848. He quit school at the age of 14 and started working in the (Ober) brewery. Try that today? At the age of 22 in 1870 he left for the Eberhardt Brewery down the corner.

1875 G. Siedle Brewery
10 Vinial St
The 1872 Hopkins Atlas (Plate 92) has the Eberhardt & Ober Brewery at the corner of Troy Hill Road and Vinial Street. Siedle was adjacent to them and George Ober was adjacent to Seidle. SeIdle also owned the land across the street where the current bottling house stands. Ober also had three lots, 12, 14, and 16 next to Siedle. Gottlieb Siedle had died (from at least 1876) as the directory listed his widow, Mary who was living at 10 Vinial Street. The 1875 directory had him as a brewer at Vinial and Butcher’s Run, which would have been the bottling house side of Vinial.
Gottlieb Siedle was a brewer, identified in Old Bayardstown (page 177).

Note: Benz & Siedle Duquesne Brewery, Butler Plank Road in Duquesne. The 1872 Hopkins Atlas (Plate 92) shows Siedle property at a location that would support this.

Review Stop

George Ober, by himself or with others operated a brewery at 12, 14 and 16 Vinial Street from at least 1860. Gottlieb Siedle operated a brewery at 10 Vinial Street from before 1872 and owned the lot across the street. George Ober acquired Siedle’s property after Siedle’s death but not until after 1877. Joseph Siedle was living at No. 10 in 1877-80 and was a horse shoer. The first time the name Ober was tied to No. 10 was in 1880 when Joseph A. Ober lived there. He was a brewer at first but by 1882 he was listed as a driver. Edward Ober, plumber, was living at 10 in 1884. The Pittsburgh Directories never associated No. 10 Vinial with the brewery despite the Obers owning the land and that there was a brewery on it.

Conrad Eberhardt retires in 1870 and his son William takes over the brewery. He along with partner John Peter Ober rename the brewery the Eberhardt & Ober Brewery. A tavern was operated here as well for a short time. Conrad lived at 39 Hazel Street in Troy Hill when he retired.

End of Review Stop

1878 F. L. Ober & Brother Brewery
When George Ober retired in 1878 the brewery went to his sons, Frank L. and Charles F. Ober. They renamed the brewery F. L. Ober & Brother Brewery.

The 1901 Hopkins atlas shows Mary Ober as the property owner of the lot belonging to George Ober. F. L. Ober owned the adjacent lot, towards Spring Garden. They did not own it in 1890. The Ober Brothers Brewery was between Mary Ober’s lot and Troy Hill Road. The Penn Brewery loading dock and grain silos are currently on this lot.

The F. L. Ober property may have been miss-identified as a brewery in old document and repeated by modern day websites. It was to have been known and formed by Frank & Charles Ober, George’s sons, supposedly after E & O was formed.

1890 Mary Ober
Mary Ober, wife of George, was the property owner in 1890 of George’s original lot at 16 Vinial Street (not today’s number). Hopkins 1890 Atlas: Plate 8. However, the Ober Brothers owned the lots between Mary and Eberhardt & Ober.

1890 F L Ober Property
The Hopkins Atlas of 1890 and 1901 shows lots on Vinial across from the Ober brewery belonging to F L Ober Brothers. This indicates that the bottling house was not constructed until later. But, 1907, March: the Select Council of Pittsburgh passed ordinance 638 granting the Eberhardt & Ober branch of Pittsburgh Brewing Company to place a thirty-six inch conduit under Vinial Street connecting the brewery to the racking room of the bottling house.

1891 Electrical Lighting
The Eberhardt & Ober Brewery became the fourth brewery in Pittsburgh to install a plant and 200 incandescent lamps. The contract for the installation went to the Edison Company, Pittsburgh office.

1893 Aaron & Co. Malt House, Louis Israel
Vinial Street (behind the F. L. Ober Brewery)
Louis Israel Aaron (1840 – 1920) was behind the brewery as shown on the Sanborn Fire Insurance map of 1893, page 95. Hopkins, 1890, above, does not show the presence of the malt house.

1897 Pennsylvania Brewing Company
English Syndicate see
J. P Persch, of Philadelphia.

1899 Pittsburgh Brewing Company
The brewery was sold to the Pittsburgh Brewing Company in 1899. After that sale, Frank retired from the business but Charles became a superintendant with PBC.

Amber Brewery
F. L. Ober & Brothers
12, I4 &16 Vinial St
Preceded by Obr & Keonig since
Noted in the
Industries of Pittsburgh, published by the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce for 1879 & 1880. I do not have a clear indication when the Amber Brewery was designated.

Ober Family

George & May (Vogel) Ober had three sons:
John P Ober who went to Eberhardt
Charles F Ober: became a superintendent with Pittsburgh Brewing
Charles married Mary Amella Sauer of Allegheny
Frank L Ober: retire after the sale to Pittsburgh Brewing

George was born in 1823 and came to America at 17 (1840)
He partnered with Koenig (also known to be King)
George retired in 1878 and at that time, Frank and Charles F took over the brewery, renaming it the F. L. Ober & Brother Brewery

George Ober’s father, Peter, lived and died in France.

End of The Ober Brewery Timeline

Start of The Eberhardt Brewery Timeline

1848: Conrad Eberhardt arrived in Allegheny City with his son William. They came from Alasce, France but Conrad was a brewer in Wurtemberg, Germany. It is often incorrectly stated that Conrad began brewing in 1848 but that did not occur until 1850. His first venture was operating a tavern on Ohio Street.
This brewery originally established in 1848 at the time faced Troy Hill Road and would eventually include the property that is now the parking garage. The rear of the brewery would include the land having the stone courtyard, stonewall, and the larger caves. The Eberhardt brewery would not have ownership of the building now having the restaurant and brewery.

1850: Conrad Eberhardt builds a brewery on Vinial Street. He was living at this time on what was known as the Butler Plank Road.

The Corner Lot
What is not mentioned in stories on Conrad is how he acquired such a prime spot of the corner on a lot large lot. Although the lot was large it was hilly.

1848 Conrad Eberhardt Brewery
It was William Eberhardt and his brother-in-law John P. Ober who formed the Eberhardt & Ober Brewery. This was separate from the George Ober Brewery that was on the adjacent properties.

William Eberhardt Brewery
I do not believe this was ever a company but miss-identified by others when John Ober came on board with the Eberheardt Brewery, still under the control of Conrad having day-to-day operations undertaken by William.

1852 Date Established
The office building at the corner of Vinial and Troy Hill Road has this date and the inscription Eberhardt & Ober Brewery cut into the stone over the front entrance.

1856 Conrad Eberhardt
Thurston, in Facts and Figures, has Conrad having a brewery at Ohio Street and Chestnut Street about 1856. I have not see this referenced by others and wonder if Thurston misidentified the location or date.

End of The Eberhardt Brewery Timeline

Start iof The Eberhardt & Ober Brewery
(The F. L. Ober Brewery is not a part of this section)

1870 William Eberhardt Brewing Company
Brother-in-laws William Eberhardt and John Peter Ober purchase the Conrad Eberhardt Brewery after Conrad retires. The brewery is not associated with the Ober Brewery on the adjacent lot.

1870: Brother-in-laws William Eberhardt and John Peter Ober purchase the Conrad Eberhardt Brewery after Conrad retires. The company is named the Eberhardt & Ober Brewing Company. It is not associated with the Ober Brewery on the adjacent lot.

Architect Joseph Stillberg was hired to design the buildings at Vinial and Troy Hill Road. A collector obtained the original ink on linen building drawings. He sent them to Tom Pastorius when he found out the Tom was renovating the building. This was about 1986 or 1987. They have since gone missing.
See the 1961 entry.

1891 – 1911: Pittsburg was spelled without the h during this time.

1883 Eberhardt & Ober Brewery
The Eberhardt & Ober Brewery is formed (January 1) with the acquisition of the John N. Straub Brewery that was located on South Canal Street, also in Allegheny.
John N. Straub was 73.

The officers of the Eberhardt & Ober Brewing Co. were:
William Eberhardt, President
John N. Straub, Vice President (John died in 1891)
John Peter Ober, Treasurer
John G. Walther, Secretary (he is unknown to me)
Theodore F. Straub, Superintendent

Peter Straub Notation
Peter was to have worked for E&O under John N. Straub, but E&O did not absorb John’s brewery until 1883. Peter had his own brewery in St. Marys by the 1870’s. Peter was in Allegheny (twice) and most likely worked for John N. Straub at the Straub Brewery on South Canal Street in Allegheny City, which was established until the 1840’s. The Mt. Zion Historical Society got it right.

1883: Eberhardt &Ober purchased the John N. Straub Brewery of the North Side. This purchase forms the Eberhardt & Ober Brewing Company. After the sale the Canal Street brewery was converted to the malt house for the E & O Brewery.

1883 Brewery Collapse and Fire
Date unknown but assumed to be the E & O Brewery
Michael Brunk, the great-great-grandson of Gottlieb Siedle sent this information (August 2015): …
if you go in the lower level below the restaurant of the Penn Brewery, and look at the stonewalls of the lower foundation, you can still see the black lines marking where the fire burned out after it collapsed the brewery above.

In 1883, architect Joseph Stillburg designed what is today the brewery and restaurant. It included the appendage (partially demolished) along the side yard and a building (now a part of the parking garage) facing Troy Hill Road. The restaurant/bar room was used for keg washing and racking.

The present day corner office building was designed by Edward M. Butz in 1897.

1894 Stock House
It is commonly noted that Joseph Stillberg designed the stock house in 1883 but the Stock House was adjacent to the building Stillberg designed. Sanborn shows the Stock House being built in 1914.

1883 Vinial Street Change in Grade
The Select and Common Councils of the City of Allegheny passed an ordinance (Enacted on December 28, 1883) that established an ordained grade for Vinial Street and William Street. The project was 744 feet along Vinial Street from Troy Hill Road to Villa Street. The work was said to have been completed on November 1, 1883 based on a court case where Allegheny City sought payment for the assessment due from a homeowner. The date was noted in records to have been alleged, which seems so as the work cannot be completed before it was authorized. A Board of Viewers Report was submitted to council on October 16, 1883, which would give a complete date in 1884.

I always found it interesting that the main build had windows below the sidewalk along Vinial Street. The building was rebuilt in 1883 but a year later the road was raised to its present grade. This would suggest that is why the window wells were built. The present corner office and the building next to the present beer hall were built after 1883. It could be that the elevated walkway at the front of the brewery was originally used as a loading dock. The room that we know as the restaurant was used for racking and washing kegs in to the 1930’s.

1899 Conrad Eberhardt dies
Conrad Eberhardt died soon after the merger on March 25, 1899.

The above is wrong on my part and correct by Bob Mills, a descendent of the family. The University of Pittsburgh Library supports this.
“Conrad Eberhardt died after the merger on March 25, 1899” – actually it was William that died on this date. Conrad died ~9/21/1875 aboard ship from Europe. He had a secret 2nd family in, I think, Alsace. We believe he was robbed & murdered, then buried at sea. I have not found any contemporaneous articles about his death, but have found later articles about the court case brought by the “wife” in Alsace.
“...and Conrad not retiring until 1883” -- this was obviously William since Conrad was dead.

End of The Eberhardt & Ober Brewery

The Combined Breweries

Prior to the merger with Pittsburgh Brewing, the Ober Brewery had a very close working relationship with Eberhardt & Ober. Both breweries were side by side and connected by marriage.

Eberhardt & Ober Brewery after 1899

1899 Pittsburgh Brewing Company
The Eberhardt & Ober Brewing Company AND the F. L. Ober Brewery merged with the Pittsburgh Brewing Company.

John P. Ober became treasurer of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company and held many other offices in Pittsburgh until his death on November 11, 1909.

1899: The Eagle Brewery of the Eberhardt & Ober Brewing Co. is merged into the Pittsburgh Brewing Company combine. Theodore Straub became the manager of the Eberhardt & Ober brewery and Charles F. Ober became manager of the Ober brewery.

1899 March 25: William Eberhardt dies at the age of 57. All of the owners of the breweries became managers of one of the other breweries in the company but William was not assigned one after the merger only a few weeks prior due to his ill health.

1907: The Guthrie-Watson Greater Pittsburgh Bill was passed by the State on February 24, 1903 to allow the city to annex territory surrounding the city. The courts upheld this act on November 18, 1907. On December 7, 1907 the City of Allegheny was annexed.

1907, March: The Select Council of Pittsburgh passed ordinance 638 granting the Eberhardt & Ober branch of Pittsburgh Brewing Company to place a thirty-six inch conduit under Vinial Street connecting the brewery to the racking room of the bottling house.

The Brewers Journal reported in January that Pittsburgh Brewing received a building permit to build a three-story brick and steel stock house at its branch on Vinial Street. The cost for the project was $33,000.

1917 August 22: The
Pittsburgh Press reported that Samuel Herman was 63 when he was killed trying to stop a runaway team of horses on Vinial Street. The horses were standing in front of the Eberhardt & Ober Brewery when they were frightened. He tried to grab the reins. The horses made a shape turn into the Joseph Boles Transfer Company’s stable. Boles owned the horses. Herman was caught under the wagon as it overturned and his skull was crushed. He lived at 1231 High Street. The team and wagon were leased to the brewery at the time.

1920 – 1933: The brewery remained open during prohibition and was permitted to make non-alcoholic beer.

1952: Pittsburgh Brewing Co. closed the Eberhardt & Ober Brewery due to an area wide labor strike of brewery workers. They were one of 21 regional breweries that merged to form Pittsburgh Brewing Company.

1952 Brewery Workers Strike
The strike started on April 22 and ended on July 31 after a vote of 1,189 to 383. The worker struck the plants of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company as well as Fort Pitt and Duquesne. The one-year contract gave the workers a 5 cent differential for the second shift, 7 cents for the third, time and a half for Saturday. In addition, insurance for dependents was also granted and workers had a choice of shifts based on senority. The old two-year contract expired on April 1.

This has breweries having TV shows

1953 Property Sale
Pittsburgh Brewing Company sold the E & O property to the Kovalchick Salvage Company for $100,000. The agreement was made on October 27, 1953.

1976 Demolition:
Building along Troy Hill Road were demolished after the roofs collapsed.

1986 Pennsylvania Brewing Company
Tom Pastorius founded the company that year and after that acquired the E & O property. See the Penn Brewery History page.

1987 National Register of Historic Places
The brewery sitting on 40 acres and containing 6 buildings and 5 structures, at the time, was placed on the list of National Register of Historic Places (#87001984).
The architectural style is Romanesque, Classical Revival, Italianate.