Wielerts Cafe

 


THESE IMAGES ARE NOT POSTCARDS.

Wielerts exterior.jpg (121611 bytes)               Wielerts sketch 2.jpg (242242 bytes)
Wielerts Cafe 1408-1410 Vine St                                         Interior sketch                 

 

 

  Opened in 1873 Wielert's became the finest local saloon of the day. Opened by Heinrich (Henry) Wielert (1826-1892), a native of Hanover, Germany, who fought in the Civil War as a Union Soldier. 
  In the rear of the saloon was a block long beer garden that had a roof but was open on the sides. This was the largest beer garden in Cincinnati. Busts of German composers and writers lined the perimeter.

Henry Wielert-Wielert Gardens.jpg (527982 bytes)
Beer Garden & H. Wielert

 On summer evenings, Michael Brand conducted his forty piece orchestra to entertain the patrons in the beer garden. Brand's orchestra became the nucleus of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. The image below is the earliest known photo of the Symphony showing Brand leading the orchestra during the 1894-95 season. He became assistant conductor under Frank Van der Stucken.

Michael Brand Orchestra 1894-95.jpg (355590 bytes)
Michael Brand

   Turner Hall was on the Walnut St. side of the garden. (see Turner page).
   If a customer did not order something else, the waiter would bring Wiener Schnitzel, fried potatoes, rye bread, and of course, beer. 

Wielert's Saloon - 1872 Lithograph.jpg (1723478 bytes)

   Henry Farny was a frequent visitor to Wielert's and sketched the beer garden during his visits. In the center image above he shows Cox with some of his lieutenants. Thanks to Joe Retford for supplying the image above, he has a copy of this lithograph.

 

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2 more recent images of the Wielert building

 


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   The political leader of Cincinnati from 1891 to 1916 George "Boss" Cox (1853-1916) met with his lieutenants at his personal table at Wielert's in order to plot his strategy. They met everyday at 5 P.M. One of his associates was August "Garry" Herrmann who while holding various political offices, was head of the Cincinnati Waterworks and was also president of the Cincinnati Reds from 1902 to 1927. He was baseball's first commissioner in 1905 and has been called the "father of the World Series". Another of Cox's lieutenants was Rudolph Hynicka (1858-1927), a Pennsylvania German. He arrived in Cincinnati in 1881 and worked as a newspaper reporter before entering politics. He was police clerk, chief clerk, Hamilton County treasurer, and chairman of the Hamilton County Republican party. He amassed a small fortune as a theater tycoon (he controlled a chain of 40 burlesque and legitimate theater companies) and moved to New York City.

Cox-2.jpg (619727 bytes)                Rudolph Hynicka.jpg (172568 bytes)                August Hermann.jpg (563634 bytes)
    Cox                                            Hynicka                                    Herrmann

Statement by George B. Cox to the Cincinnati Post June 23, 1905.

   I am the Boss of Cincinnati. I never dodged that statement in my life. I've got the best system of government in this country. If I didn't think my system was the best I would consider that I was a failure in life.

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Oct. 1905 Post headline
Taft is anti Cox.

   George Barnsdale Cox was the political superpower of Cincinnati for over a quarter of a century. From 1886 to 1916 he ruled Cincinnati. He was the man who made all the vital decisions and was "head and front" of her political machine. His name was a household word, known to adults and children alike. Because he was a principle kingmaker for the state republican party, his reputation extended to all corners of Ohio.
   The following information is from a Cincinnati Enquirer article written by Cox himself on May 15, 1911. He wrote this because he was under indictment for perjury in February, 1911 by the Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, Henry Hunt. Hunt's election as mayor of Cincinnati in 1911 marked the beginning of Cox's downfall. In the article Cox related his rise to power and the reasons for his political success. It was designed to win over public support and, hopefully, to influence the Grand Jury. Since Cox rarely wrote anything down (proof) during his political life and almost always passed instructions to his lieutenants verbally, any written word of his life is almost non-existent. He states in his article that he never made a dollar out of politics. That no one had ever proved during his 27 years in power any dishonesty (sound familiar?) 
   He stated that the millions of dollars he made were principally from real estate and investments. In 1910 Cox was the owner of the largest motion picture chain in the world, the World Film Corporation, he owned half of the Shubert Theatrical Company, he was President of the Cincinnati Trust Company, the 2nd largest in Cincinnati, and he owned part of the B. F. Keith theaters in Cincinnati, Louisville and other cities. He was also part owner of the Cincinnati Reds starting in 1902.
   His stated that his daily life usually started at 7:30 when he left his home in Clifton at the corner of Jefferson and Brookline Avenues arriving at his office at the Cincinnati Trust Company at 9:00, and with the exception of an hour or so at noon, was there until 5 o'clock. He states that he is accessible to every one except bores and pests. He ate dinner at one of the hotels or clubs with his business or political associates (usually Wielert's) and arrived home about 8 o'clock in the evening. "I get my pleasure in my home life, for, while I have no children, I have a loving and devoted wife. Although I have large theatrical interests I rarely go to the theater. When I do go I attend matinees so as not to waste an evening."
   The first photo below is the building he lived in before moving into the residence in Clifton seen in the next two images.

Boss Cox Home 115 W. 9th St..jpg (550598 bytes)                G B Cox Residence.jpg (123224 bytes)                Cox House.jpg (214408 bytes)
115 W. 9th St.                            G. B. Cox's Residence                            Not a postcard   
(postcard)      

   "Next to my home life I get the greatest pleasure out of politics. After all, politics is a game. I like it because I am successful. One usually likes to play the game in which one is successful. It's human nature."
   "Naturally, my success as a boss has brought all manner of attacks on me. I have been assailed from every quarter, and on every pretext. I am attacked for two reasons: First, because most people suppose a boss is dishonest; and second, because I have been so successful. I believe the bitterest attacks that have been made on me have emanated from the disappointed office seekers - men within the ranks of the republican party who have been turned down by me because of their unfitness."
   He states further on that "I will clear myself of the charge at the proper time. I am hardened to attacks by the press. I am living my life as I believe I should live it. My enemies cannot affect me."
   He strenuously advises young men not to enter politics. "In the first place there is no money in it for the honest man, and in the second place there is only abuse, whether you are successful or unsuccessful. In fact, the more successful you are the more abuse will be heaped on you. Politics as a profession doesn't pay."
    "As I said before, this boss-ship was not of my seeking. It was the result of the natural evolution of things. However, it has become such a part of my life, I have grown into it to such an extent that I cannot voluntarily give it up. I am 58 years old-far too young to retire. I am going to continue as the leader of the Republican Party in Cincinnati as long as the Republican Party wants me."
   "This is the age of the boss. No one must lose sight of this fact for a second."
   The indictment was quashed 3 months later. The Enquirer stated on November 5, 1911: The judges discharged the "Old Boy" without a trial on a 'frivolous technicality making the administration of justice in this country a hissing and a reproach."
   Cox's political machine ended with the elimination of ward politics and the rise of the Charter Party.
   Wielerts closed in 1919 and became the Gildehaus Funeral Home. 

Not a postcard
Mecca-Cox.jpg (1768569 bytes)
Mecca Cafe

    As a young man (24) George Cox owned a saloon at Central Avenue and Longworth Street popularly known as "Deadman's Corner" because of the numerous murders committed there; most remained unsolved. Cox was a Republican and since the city was under Democratic control, his saloon was under continuous police harassment. For this reason Cox decided in 1879 to run for City Council, thus hoping to become immune to future harassment. Thus began his political career. He sold this saloon in 1881. 
   Next door to the Gibson Hotel on Walnut St. was the Mecca Saloon (see 4-part card on previous page) for 25 years Cox maintained his office above this saloon.

 

 

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