Text and images from The Story of Columbus: Past, Present and Future of the Metropolis of Central Ohio, Practical Demonstration of its Development by the Reproduction of Rare Historical Photographs (2nd ed.; Columbus, Ohio: np, 1900) unless otherwise noted
Columbus Business and Industry
Several industries brought economic growth to Columbus during the nineteenth century. The construction of a branch canal to the Ohio Canal, which linked the Ohio river at Portsmouth with Lake Erie at Cleveland, allowed merchants and manufacturers to ship goods inexpensively. Columbus still has a "Canal Street" and the book included a photograph of a canal warehouse.
The city also had a prosperous brewing industry . "Columbus is fast becoming one of the great brewing cities of the country. On the right of the illustration is shown the Schlee Brewery, on the left that of the Born Company, and in the distance the Hoster Brewery. Taken on the street level the picture gives but a small portion of these immense plants; each of which consists of a number of buildings. Their combined annual product amounts to millions of dollars." (page 73)
In the middle of the century a sizable German-speaking population migrated to Columbus, and settled in the near-south side, in an area of the city now know as German Village; here is an old scene of South Third Street (picture no longer available). The description reads: "A view is herewith given of a section of Columbus seldom seen by visitors, and not often coming within the observation of those who live in other parts of those who live in other parts of the city itself, it being out of the beaten routes of travel. South Third street, like a number of other streets on the South Side, is populated almost exclusively by thrifty Germans. The houses shown in the picture are of European type, plain but home-like, and the door yards are scrupulously clean and inviting. It is said that nearly all such houses are owned by their occupants; none are ever marked for sale, and a mortgage is almost unknown." (page 56)
The city also developed a prosperous buggy manufacturing industry in the nineteenth century. The description reads: "The Columbus Buggy Co., claiming to be the largest concern of its kind in the world, had its starting point here, being then known as the Iron Buggy Company. A concern which now has a capacity of one vehicle every eight minutes, was then confined to a space of 25 x 40 feet, producing 150 buggies a year. This old building was located at the corner of High street and Hickory alley. . . ." (page 15)
"Interior of the Wolf Bros. Shoe Factory " (Page 80; the Wolf's became one of the city's most prominent and wealthiest families, owning, among other interests, the Columbus Dispatch, WBNS radio stations, Channel 10 Television Station, the Ohio Company, and Bank Ohio.)
Additional Information on a Few Companies
BORN & CO., Capital Brewery, 565 to 579 South Front street. This plant covers 10 acres of ground on both sides of Front street, the brewery proper being a three story brick structure 25 x 300 feet and the bottling house a three-story brick 60 x62 feet. The business was established in 1854 and the present plant represents an investment of $300,000. Seventy-five horses and 45 wagons are in use and 75 men are employed. There is used annually 100,000 bushels of malt, 40,000 pounds of domestic hops and 20,000 pounds of imported hops. The annual output is 45,000 barrels and the capacity is 60,000. There are in use 10,000 barrels and kegs, 6,000 cases and 300,000 bottles. Theannual running expenses are about $150,000 the principal items being internal revenue, $45,000 local taxation, $5,000; pay-roll, $45,000; freight, $10,000; fuel, $7,500. The valuation of cooperage, aside from storage casks, is $20,000 and yearly additions cost $6,000.
Source: Joseph A. Miller, An Interesting Study Will Be Found One of Vital Importance and Worthy of Close Perusal by the Taxpayer, Merchant, Farmer and Voter, Giving as it does a Complete Review of Ohio's Greatest Business Interest (Columbus, n.p., 1895): 35.
N. SHLEE & SON, "Bavarian Brewery," 526 to 544 South Front street. This business was established in 1860 and the plant, made up of large brick buildings, covers and area 187 x 375 feet. About 60 men are employed and 45 horses and 18 wagons are inconstant service. From 75,000 to 80,000 bushels of malt are used annually together with 50,000 to 60,000 pounds of hops. The annual capacity of the plan is 90,000 barrels and the output is from 35,000 to 50,000 barrels. The annual pay-roll is about $50,000; over $35,000 is paid as internal revenue, fuel costs $10,000, and in addition to thee is $20,000 for minor expenses, making a total of $115,000, exclusive of cost of yearly purchase of bottles, additions to cooperage, repairs and cost of material.
Source: Joseph A. Miller, An Interesting Study Will Be Found One of Vital Importance and Worthy of Close Perusal by the Taxpayer, Merchant, Farmer and Voter, Giving as it does a Complete Review of Ohio's Greatest Business Interest (Columbus, n.p., 1895): 35