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Lorenz Brewery

Source: Crawfordsville Review 8 May 1924 p1
Progress in the form of modern building construction is removed from Crawfordsville one of her oldest landmarks in the old Lorenz brewery, situated at the corner of Market Street and Grant Avenue, on the triangular space formed by those two streets and Lafayette Avenue. In its stead a modern filling station owned by Dick Allen and now under construction will grace the spot. Few residents of the city can remember the brewery, when it was one of the biggest industries of the city. The rumble of hogsheads, filled with freshly brewed beer, as they were rolled into the huge cellar which still extends under Market Street has not been heard for years. The rumble of busy automobiles, seeking fuel at the new filling station will henceforth be heard about the historic corner. An old copper box, planted with the cornerstone of the old brewer building in the spring of 1865 was dug from the ground Wednesday by workmen, Carl Mayer of north Grant Avenue, nephew of Mrs. Caroline Spitznagle, daughter of Henry Lorenz, who owned the brewery familiar with the legends of the burial of the box, searched vainly for it for several hours Wednesday. A five dollar gold piece, a one dollar gold piece and other coins in the box were returned to Mrs. Spitznagle. An American flag, a copy of the Crawfordsville Weekly Review and Weekly Journal, which, according to Mrs. Spitznagle had been placed in the box had evidently long since disintegrated. The story of the laying of the cornerstone of the Lorenz Brewer one of Crawfordsville’s big industries at that time was told in interesting fashion by Mrs. Spitznagle. Her father, Henry Lorenz, had purchased and remodeled the brewer in 1853. The storage cellar, which still extends under Market street was dug in 1864 and in the spring of 1865, the corner stone of the building was laid. Nearly all of Crawfordsville’s then small population turned out for the public ceremony of which a Rev. Johnson had charge.  A quartet of residents, whose names Mrs. Spitznagle could not remember, furnished music. As a unique feature of the ceremony, each member of the family from Mrs. Spitznagle’s grandfather down to her youngest brother who had to be held in his father’s arms, struck the corners of the stone with a steel hammer. Mr. Lorenz, a city councilman in 1867-78, was one of the prominent men of the city at that time. He died in 1870 (sic – see above date) and after his death the old brewer changed hands several times. The old establishment gradually fell into disuse and decay and the old brick malthouse is now being wrecked to make room for the filling station.  Mrs. Spitznagle is the only member of the family now living in the city. One brother, Fred a. Lorenz lives in Indianapolis; another, William H. lives in Lodi, Cal and a third, George W live sin Omaha, Neb. Mrs. Spitznagle in discussing the old establishment, recalled a trip taken with her father to Covington to deliver several hogsheads of beer. The journey was made overland, her father driving a team of Mexican mules, sent to him from Mexico by General MD Manson.  She and her father started in the afternoon, she stated and did not reach Covington until the next day. Her father often made the overland trips, she stated. The beer was brewed, Mrs. Spitznagle said for about 20 hours and was then run into a cooler. When cool the beverage was run into the big hogsheads and left for months in the cellar under Market Street. The old brewery was in its heyday when Crawfordsville was in its infancy.  Grant Avenue then West street was the western extremity of the town; Water street, the eastern extremity was known as East street and Lafayette Avenue was called, “The Pike.”

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