Eagle Brewery of  Mukilteo & Seattle

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Mukilteo Brewery (c.1865-1878)

In 1861, partners Morris H. Frost and Jacob D. Fowler established a settlement on Point Elliot, a favored fishing site of the Snohomish tribe, who called it Mukilteo. The partners platted a town site, built a hotel, general merchandise store, and a saloon. A few years later they built a brewery that was just called the Mukilteo brewery. It was built in a ravine that became known as Brewery Gulch.

According to the History of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, published in 1890, Frost & Fowler undertook a selfish policy of refusing to sell real estate. This practice proved detrimental to the expansion of their settlement and ultimately to their joint business venture.

The 1867 Pacific Coast Business Directory indicates that the partners leased the brewery to Joseph Butterfield, an experienced brewer who had partnered with Martin Schmeig in establishing breweries in Steilacom, and Seattle. Butterfield & Co. may have operated Frost & Fowler's plant as the Eagle Brewery, but that has yet to be confirmed. However, Butterfield didn't stay long.

Prior to the Federal census, taken in July 1870, an English brewer named Jacob Barth had leased the plant. Then the Territorial census, taken in April 1871, lists a Swiss named Jacob Rippstein as the brewer. This seems to have been a pattern - hiring brewers and/or leasing the operation outright. The Pacific Coast Business Directory for 1876 (compiled in 1875) lists Frost & Fowler as proprietors of a brewery in Mukilteo, but they weren't brewers themselves.

A newspaper article from Seattle's Daily Intelligencer, dated 3 Nov. 1877, stated:

"The Mukilteo Brewery is running and doing a good business, and they have one of the best brewery buildings in the Territory and plenty of good water. They make a good article of beer. They are only commencing and yet they now make thirty barrels of beer a month. They grind their malt by water power. Capt. Frost is still here, the man who owns the property."
From the article it appears that the brewery is called the "Mukilteo Brewery" and that it had been shut down for a period of time - perhaps for plant improvements. The article also makes it clear that Frost is just the owner of the property.

Mukilteo Beer ad from 1877
Seattle's Daily Intelligencer ad Nov. 1877

Frost & Fowler shipped their beer to Seattle and other outlets on the Puget Sound, in one of their three sailing vessels, the Gazelle, the Tibbals, and the Pigeon.

In spite of the partner's best efforts, economic forces beyond their control - coupled with their monopolistic pratices, began to take its toll. By the fall of 1877 their holdings had gone into recievership.
 

Eagle Brewery, Mukilteo (1878-1882)

The Jan. 1, 1878 issue of the Seattle's Daily Intelligencer, posted a Notice of Sherrif's Sale of Real Estate to be held on Feb. 3, 1878. As a result of the sale, Cantieni & Co. became the new owners of the Mukilteo Brewery, and according to an Aug. 1878 piece in the Snohomish Northern Star, "..the new owners have completly refitted the plant, and the (renamed) Eagle Brewery is now furnishing the best beer in the Territory."

Cantieni & Co. Eagle Brewery ad
Northern Star ad from Feb. 1879

The Swiss brewer, George Cantieni, had previously operated a brewery at Black River (near the Renton Mine). He had partnered with the afore mentioned, Martin Schmeig, and was a proficient brewer and manager. However, for reasons not clear, in May of 1880, he placed the following notice in the Seattle Daily Intellegencer:
"FOR SALE - The well known Eagle Brewery situated at Mukilteo, Snohomish county, W.T.  The building is 40x60 feet, three stories high, with hydraulic power. A never failing stream of soft water suitable for brewing purposes. Well supplied with Tubs, Casks and Kegs, and convenient to daily steamboat navigation.
Persons wishing to invest in such property will do well to examine the premises before purchasing elsewhere."

Responding to this notice was Seattle grocer and butcher, Frederick V. Snyder. While not a brewer himself, in May of 1881, he purchased a majority share of Canteini's company, who then stayed on as the brewery manager. Cantieni no doubt stayed to protect his share of the financial interest in the business.

Snyder's Eagle Brewery Mukilteo
Seattle Daily Intellegencer ad 1881

In addition to selling in the local market, Snyder's Lager beer (actually Steam beer) was shipped by boat 25 miles south to Seattle, as his predecessor had done. His investment proved profitable and "Mukilteo Beer" was well received in Seattle and elsewhere on the Sound.

Seven years earlier, in July of 1875, Snyder's slaughter house, located at the head of Seattle Bay, was destroyed by fire. Unfortunately, tragedy was about to strike again. On July 21, 1882, Snyder's Eagle Brewery was completely destroyed by fire. A newspaper report stated that the manager, George Canteini, barely escaped with his life.

La Connor's Puget Sound Mail reported that the brewery was to be rebuilt immediately. The structure to be 40x40, three stories high, and built on the original site. However, Snyder must have realized that rather than ship beer to Seattle, his largest market, it would make more sense to rebuild there.

On Aug. 26, 1882, the Daily Post-Intellegencer reported:
"F.V. Snyder has given up the idea of rebuilding the Eagle Brewery at Mukilteo, but has the lumber on the ground for a building 40x60, two stories high, to be used by him as a brewery, near the site of his old slaughter house at the head of Seattle Bay. Mr. Snyder has two blocks of land in a body, in which there is living stream of pure spring water, from which he expects to make a fine article of beer. He will fence the property, beautify the grounds and make the place a pleasant resort. Few men work harder and meet with more reverses than Fred. Snyder, but he is plucky, and pluck will win in the end."

Eagle Brewery, Seattle (1882-1883)

His brewerey was completed under the guidance of Geo. Canteini, brewmaster and plant manager. By November of '82 the new Eagle Brewery began brewing its first batch, and on December 5th, Snyder's beer was again selling in Seattle.

Improvements were also made to the property in preparations for a Beer Garden adjacent to the brewery. A newspaper account from June of '83 outined his plans:
"He is converting the grounds into an elegant beer garden. The brewery, located in a pretty grove which is being cleaned out and fitted up with stationary seats, tables, and other conviences, besides this, a large dancing platform is being laid for the convenience of the dancers. On July 4th this pleasure will be thrown open to the public for the first time."

Ad for Snyder's Eagle Brewery in Seattle
newspaper ad, 1883

The Brewery was a success and the future looked bright. Then, on the Sunday morning of 14 Oct. 1883, a fire broke out and entirely destroyed the brewery, together with the contents. The loss was estimated at over $10,000, and only partially covered by insurance.

The Daily Post-Intelligencer quoted Snyder as saying that he was uncertain what he will do hereafter, but he will not re-enter the business of brewing beer. After paying up debts, he will enter another line of trade.

The "pluck" had gone completely out of Frederick V. Snyder.
 

 

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