George Hummel, Sr. (1851-1911) an acclaimed furniture & cabinet maker, was the son of stone mason David Hummel, a German immigrant who settled in Cincinnati, OH in 1841 according to Constance Lee Menefee, “with optimism and a trade.” There he started the Hummel Building Company. Menefee further states:
At that time Cincinnati was on the crest of a building and expansion boom….David Hummel died in 1894, leaving the business in the capable hands of his three sons: George, Frank and William. Each had been trained as an apprentice to a stone mason, blacksmith or carpenter and each worked at the stone yard and had supervised construction.¹
According to Digging Cincinnati:
In 1893, George Hummel, Sr. was the first to build his home at 3423 Whitfield Avenue. This home remained in his family until his wife, Ella, passed away in 1947. This home, designed by Samuel Hannaford & Sons, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.²
Often Vincenzo or I will snap a hand-painted sign and a whole history will reveal itself. Sometimes the past is a bit more elusive and the juxtaposing hints belie the writing on the wall. Last year I posted Vincenzo’s images of the Hemley Supply Company thinking it was a sheet metal supply. Earlier this week I received this e-mail from Debbie Hemley:
I came across your book today and was thrilled to find it. What a wonderful collection of images and great thing to document!
My father’s old warehouse for mattresses and bedding supplies, in the Williamsburgh section of Brooklyn had that type of painted ad and none of us had been down there in almost twenty years. We’re all in Massachusetts now. Earlier this year my sister went to the location at 300 Meserole Street and we were thrilled to discover that the painted ad was still there and hadn’t faded! Attaching photos that she took.
Loved too to learn that you’re a long-term survivor of AIDS. I’m a long-term survivor of Leukemia and there’s something so unique and transforming about longterm survivorship–that not everyone quite gets.
As fate has it, not only did Debbie’s e-mail solve another mystery, but it confirms the transformative nature of survival. Why some of us die after diagnosis and treatment and why some of us endure will still remain a mystery.
- The Loyal Order by Debbie Hemley – Hippocampus Magazine
- American Institute of Graphic Arts [AIGA] – Lettering Grows in Brooklyn
1871 – The Centaur Company is formed by Charles H. Fletcher at 80 Varick Street, New York, New York to manufacture Pitcher’s Castoria after purchasing the rights and formula from Dr. Pitcher. It was renamed Fletcher’s Castoria. He partnered with with Joseph B. Rose who had, in the same year, purchased forumla for Centaur Liniment. They had financial backing from Demas Barnes [he was later U.S. Congressman from New York 1867-1869]. – Centaur Company
Hermann J. Gaus (1867-194?) began manufacturing beer apparatus at 643 Bushwick Ave. in 1894. This ad for Ale and Beer Pumps appeared in Lain & Healy’s Brooklyn City Directory for 1900. In 1902 Gaus moved to his new address at 12 Jefferson St. (also in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn). Bushwick at that time was the beer capital of New York, with dozens of flourishing breweries. Gaus died some time in the 1940′s. His widow, Ernestine Gaus, continued to live at 12 Jefferson St. until late in the 1950′s. – Walter Grutchfield