• Ann D. Watson

My great-grandfather's hotel and saloon

Bayside Hotel, Keyport, New Jersey, c.

Bayside Hotel, Keyport, New Jersey, c. 1900

The photograph pictures my great-grandfather's first hotel in Keyport, New Jersey, the Bayside Hotel. [1]

Arriving from Germany at the age of 16 [2] and starting out as a barber, [3] Herman Oscar Bauer had a wholesale liquor license at least by the time he was 33 years old. [4] A year later in 1890, Herman obtained a saloon license. [5] That year he identified himself as a "bottler" on his passport application. [6] He's also mentioned as an early Keyport bottler in Jack Jeandron's book Keyport: From Plantation to Center of Commerce and Industry. [7] A few examples of Herman's bottles, embossed with his name, still exist; you can view one at this link on the New Jersey Bottle Forum:


There were saloons all over the place at that time. German immigrants actually brought lager beer to this country. [8] In 1880 Keyport had at least 7 saloons and 5 hotels. There were about the same number in 1900. [9]

closeup of Bayside Hotel, Keyport, NJ

D. G. Yuengling, the lager beer company here advertised, still exists and on its web site claims to be the oldest brewery in America.

Perhaps Herman bought the Bayside Hotel about the time he got his saloon license. He obtained an inn and tavern license in 1891. [10] The 1896 Monmouth [County] Directory lists him as proprietor of the Bayside Hotel at the foot of Broad Street in Keyport. [11] My 3rd cousin just told me our grandmothers, Herman's daughters, were born in this building. I haven't yet done the research in land records to pinpoint his purchase.

Let's look a little more closely at the picture.

Herman is the man seated on the right. I don't know yet, but I'm guessing that the fellow next to him is some kind of business partner, since both are dressed in suits and seated, unlike the other men in the photo, who are probably workers. Herman, who is slightly smiling, looks relaxed and confident; I'll bet the business was doing well.

The ice man, behind Herman, has apparently just arrived. A large block of ice hangs from the back of his wagon.

I'm intrigued by the little girl standing on the pavement to the left of the men. She's the only female in the picture (it is difficult to tell whether the children in the back near the ice wagon are boys or girls). Why is she there? Herman did have a lot of daughters, but I'm not sure she resembles any of them (though it's hard to tell).

Mom always said her grandfather owned an "oyster house" in Keyport. In fact, by 1903 Herman owned leases for 24 acres of oyster beds in Raritan Bay, as well as license no. 27 for a tonging skiff, a type of small boat from which oystermen would wield large tongs with rakes on the ends with which to gather the oysters. [12] Located on the Bay just south of New York City, Keyport was a major shipping and oystering locale from 1830 to the early 1900s. [13]

Herman eventually owned a much grander hotel in Keyport — the Pavilion. More on that another time.



1. Bayside Hotel, Keyport, New Jersey, c. 1900; digital image; original photograph privately held by Ann Silcox, [ADDRESS HELD FOR PRIVATE USE,] Keyport, New Jersey.

2. "New York Passenger Lists, 1820–1891," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:939V-5GSJ-BM?cc=1849782&wc=MX6L-768%3A165844301 : 21 May 2014), 356 - 22 Apr 1872-3 May 1872 > image 431 of 506; citing NARA microfilm publication M237 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). accessed 3 January 2018. Also, image 440 of 506.

3. Ibid. Also, 1880 U.S. census, Monmouth County, New Jersey, population schedule, Raritan township 1 Dist., p. 27 (penned,) p. 413C (stamped,) Enumeration District (ED) 120, dwelling 260, family 292, Herman O. "Bouer"; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 January 2018); citing National Archives and Records Administration .

4. Monmouth County, New Jersey, Tavern Applications, 1736–1919, Record Group County Clerk, Series #400, file: Tavern Applications 1736–1919, alphabetically arranged, see Herman Bauer (1890); digital image supplied by Monmouth County Archives; Monmouth County Archives, Manalapan.

5. Monmouth County, New Jersey, Tavern Applications, 1736–1919, see Herman Bauer (1890).

6. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795–1925,” Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 January 2018), entry for Herman Bauer, no. 22011, 25 November [18]90; citing NARA microfilm publication Passport Applications, 1795–1905, roll 361.

7. Jack Jeandron, Keyport: From Plantation to Center of Commerce and Industry (n.p.: Arcadia Publishing, 2003), [unp., first page of Chapter 7].

8. Mark Benbow, "German Immigrants in the United States Brewing Industry (1840–1895)," web site, Immigrant Entrepreneurship 1720 to the Present: German-American Business Biographies (https://www.immigrantentrepreneurship.org/entry.php?rec=284 : accessed 14 January 2018), para. 1.

9. 1880 U.S. census, Monmouth County, New Jersey, population schedules, Raritan township, Enumeration Districts (ED) 120 and 121; digital images, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 January 2018); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 792. Also, 1900 U.S. census, Monmouth County, New Jersey, population schedules, Raritan township, Enumeration Districts (ED) 0122 and 0123; citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 986. All pages of both of these censuses were examined for occupations.

10. Monmouth County, New Jersey, Tavern Applications, 1736–1919, see Herman Bauer (1891).

11. C.E. Howe, ed., Boyd's Monmouth County New Jersey, Directory. 1896–7; Containing a General Directory … Asbury Park, Ocean Grove, Long Branch, Freehold, Red Bank, Keyport and other Important Towns … Business and Professional Men … Farmers (Philadelphia: C. E. Howe Co., [1896–1897], 563; digital images, Google Books (https://books.google.com : accessed 17 May 2017).

12. Report of the Bureau of Shell Fisheries for the Year ending October 31st, 1903: Embracing the Annual Reports of the State Oyster Commission, the State Oyster Commission for the District of Ocean County and the Oyster and Shell Commission (Camden, New Jersey: Sinnickson Chew & Sons Company, 1904), 54–55; digital images, Google Books (https://books.google.com : accessed 12 January 2018).

13. Keyport Historical Society, “Keyport Origins,” Keyport Historical Society (keyporthistoricalsociety.com : accessed 13 January 2018).

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