Soho

October 26, 2015

Soho Historical Note


Soho is a plot of land not many people know about. It is situated opposite the South Side between Uptown and Oakland. Somewhat off-topic but my father was born there in 1917. Soho got its name from the suburb of Birmingham, England. Coincidentally, Soho happens to be just that of the Birmingham area now known as the South Side. Soho developed in the early 1800’s.

The Pittsburgh Neighborhood Alliance Atlas of 1977 gives Seneca Street as the western boundary, which would exclude Gist Street. But Gist seems too far afield from Uptown so it remains on this page for now.

Brewery Locations


Muth Jr., & Co. Brewery, Jacob
5th Ave & Gist St
Brewery operations about 1884 – Not in the Regional Count
The 1884 Pittsburgh Directory has Jacob Muth as a brewer at this location and Casper Muth as a brewer at 1314 Penn but having a newer address of 3352.
Casper was not in 1883 and neither were in the 1882 or 1885 directories.
Tavern Trove (.com) has this listed but without other reference or supporting evidence. The land as of January 2012 shows little evidence of what types of structures could have existed in the past. The Sandorn Fire Insurance map, Plate 28, Volume 1, 1884 shows the O’Reilly Malt House at this location.

Hopkins 1889 Atlas, Plate 1 shows C Merker as property owner but without reference to a business. Hopkins 1898 Atlas, Plate 11 & 1904, Plate 13 shows William J Wright as owner.

I suspect that Muth was an out-of-state brewer and bought this from Mueller to be used as a distribution center but based on directory dates I now suspect the two were small brewers that did not succeed.

John T Muth became brewmaster for the Old Economy Brewing Company at Fair Oaks, Pa. as reported in the
American Brewers' Review, Volume 29: 1915, He was a new graduate of the Wahl-Henius Institute of Fermentology of Chicago. American Brewers' Review, Volume 19: 1905 reported that the Old Economy Brewing Co. succeeded the Economy Brewing Co. of Fair Oaks, Harmony Township, Beaver County, Pa. A John T Muth was buried at St. Mary Cemetery at Mt. Troy & Spring Garden Roads on November 24, 1968. The Pittsburgh Press reported on September 19, 1930 that Helen Margaretta Muth, daughter of John Muth of Darragh Street married James Porter.

George Muth bought Keidel’s Star Brewery in Cleveland (sometimes after 1870) but I can find no connection to Pittsburgh. I also found the Jacob Muth Brewery in Wisconsin.

The
Brewers’ Journal, Volume 41 mentioned J. T. Muth and Anthony Kircher of Pittsburgh being granted withdraw cards from the organization in 1917. However, the Brewers’ Journal, Volume 40, 1916 had John T Muth as treasurer of the Pittsburgh District of the United States Brewers’ Association.

Non-Brewing Entries


Mueller Beer Depot
Owner: John M. Mueller
5
th Ave & Gist St
John M. Mueller had a brewery on Spring Garden Avenue in Allegheny City (North Side) and a beer depot at Gist & Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh. Robert A. Musson, M.D. in
Brewing in Greater Pittsburgh (page 18) places the time around 1882. The Hopkins 1872 Atlas, Plate 46 shows Mueller having two lots (river side of Fifth/Downtown side of Gist) at this location but does not identify a purpose. Mueller was involved in a court case with his son that caused the brewery to close.

O’Reilly & Cousin Malt House
572 Fifth Avenue at Gist Street
This house was shown, with the above name, on a Sanborn Fire Insurance map, Plate 28, Volume 1: 1884. O’Reilly is noted in the Gangwisch Comparative Notes page in the timeline (1882) with the firm of Gangwisch, O’Reily & Company. As Muth took the property over from Mueller, O’Reilly took it over from Muth.

John J. O’Reilly (1853 – April 8, 1916) married Claire Josephine Frauenheim, the daughter of Edward. O’Reilly was associated with Joshua Rhodes and was also with the Seventeenth Street Incline Railway. He became treasurer of Pittsburgh Brewers and Bottlers Supply Company (created in 1905). O’Reilly was listed in the 1900 Pittsburgh Directory, having a brewery supply company at 1653 Liberty Ave (Strip Dist). The Pittsburgh Brewers and Bottlers Supply Company was at 1633.

Other than an assumption on my part I have no firm evidence that John J. was the owner of this malt house. He was an astute businessman who had connections with two prominent brewing families.