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  • Ann D. Watson

Herman Bauer, German Immigrant on Lower Broad Street, Keyport, New Jersey

As the S. S. Thuringia steamed out of Hamburg, Germany on April 17, 1872, sixteen-year-old Herman Oscar Bauer was one of almost eight hundred passengers aboard. [1] He traveled with three others from his home town of Zduny, Posen, Prussia (now part of Poland). [2] Sixteen days later, on April 30, Herman stepped off the ship onto the dock in New York City. [3] He was likely in Keyport, New Jersey by 1873. [4]

Sitting on Raritan Bay right across from Staten Island, Keyport bustled with activity in the 1870s. Goods from all over northern Monmouth County were shipped from there to New York City, supplying Manhattan markets with fresh vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat, and poultry, and in the winter holiday greens and ice. [5] Oystermen sent thousands of barrels of their catch to New York each season.

Although founded only fifty years before, the little town of Keyport had become the busiest port in Monmouth County by the early 1880s. [6] By 1875, Herman Bauer lived on one of the liveliest blocks in town: Lower Broad Street. [7]

Broad Street ran right down to the steamboat docks, and teamsters had to bring their loads of produce to the docks via either First Street or Broad. The Steamboats Minnie Cornell and Holmdel each made a once-daily trip to New

Minnie Cornell ad

York, carrying farm produce, residents, businessmen, and visitors to and from the city. [8] The low, hollow sound of the boats' steam whistles announced departures at ten in the morning and eight in the evening. The Freehold and New York Railway train stopped at the First Street and Broad Street depots several times daily. [9] Wagons loaded with produce rumbled down Broad Street, the big draft horses’ hooves thudding on the roadway, the teamsters calling to them. The cries of gulls and calls of the oystermen at work drifted up from the docks, and briny salt air mingled with pungent odors of horse manure and beer.

Broad street was an excellent location for hostelries where farmers, teamsters, captains, and visitors could spend the night or drop in for a meal or a glass of beer, and a chat. The block was home to a conglomeration of hotels, restaurants, saloons, and more, including Charles Miller’s barber shop, Dr. McKenney’s drugstore at the corner of Broad and Front Streets, and Joseph Maurer’s lager beer saloon. Opposite the drugstore, The Walling Opera House offered entertainment.

Three buildings on Lower Broad Street, Keyport. The middle building was Joseph Maurer's, housing the beer saloon.

The two grandest hotels in Keyport sat on Lower Broad, the Pavilion right on the waterfront and the Mansion House just up the street. In 1880, Keyport boasted five hotels and at least seven saloons. [10]

The Pavilion Hotel, Keyport, New Jersey. Herman Bauer owned it from 1906-1910.

In 1875 Herman lived right in the midst of all this activity, sharing rooms with Rheinhold Meyer, also a barber and the son of German immigrants. [11] Their neighbors were restaurant and hotel owners, barbers, store clerks, and saloon- and shopkeepers. They were smack in the middle of all the activity, and right across from the Pavilion Hotel. Did Herman eye the establishment and tell himself that someday he would own it?



1. "Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850–1934," ( : accessed 16 April 2019), manifest, S. S. Thuringia, 17 April 1872, entry for Herm. Bauer; citing Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hambur, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: K_1717; Volume 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 026 B.

2. "Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850–1934," Manifest, S. S. Thuringia, 17 April 1882, entries for Alex Moch, Alb.t Schopke, Rob.t Treunert.

3. Manifest, S. S. Thuringia, April 1872, stamped p. 5 (penned), lie 9, Herm Bauer, age 16; images, "New York Passenger Lists, 1820–1891," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 6 February 2018), path 356 - 22 Apr 1872–3 May 1872 > image 440 of 506; citing NARA microfilm publication M237, roll 356.

4. "Obituary: Herman O. Bauer," Keyport Weekly, 15 March 1912, p. 8, col. 3; ( : accessed 20 July 2018.)

5. Jack Jeandron, Keyport: From Plantation to Center of Commerce and Industry (Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, Making of America Series, 2003), 29.

6. Ibid., 58.

7. Monmouth County Directory for 1875, Containing the Names of the Inhabitants of Freehold, Keyport, Matawan, Long Branch and Red Bank ... (Freehold, New Jersey: J. H. Lant, Publisher, 1875), 53; "U.S. City Directories, 1822–1995," ( : accessed 16 April 2019), path New Jersey > Monmouth County > 1875 > Monmouth County Directory, 1875 > image 69 of 146.

8. Advertisement for the Minnie Cornell, Keyport Weekly, 4 June 1881, p. 1, col. 2; image, ( : accessed 21 November 2018). Also, other advertisements: Keyport Enterprise, 7 November 1885, p. 3, col. 7. Also Keyport Enterprise, scattered issues, 1886–1888. All at For the Holmdel, see "Timetable Steamer Holmdel," Keyport Weekly, 13 August 1881, p. 2, col. 4; image, ( : accessed 13 April 2019). Also, "Notice," Keyport Enterprise, 18 May 1889, p. 3, col. 7; image, ( : accessed 13 April 2019).

9. "Freehold and New York Railway Time Table," The Monmouth Inquirer (Freehold, New Jersey), 16 April 1885, p. 4, col. 8; ( : accessed 24 October 2018). Also, The Monmouth Enquirer (Freehold, New Jersey), 19 November 1885, p. 4, col. 8; ( : accessed 24 October 2018). Also, Keyport (New Jersey) Enterprise, 1 January 1887, p. 4, col. 6; ( : accessed 20 July 2018). Also, Keyport Enterprise, 31 March 1888, p. 4, col. 6; ( : accessed 12 February 2019).

10. U.S. census, Monmouth County, New Jersey, population schedules, Raritan township, enumeration districts (ED) 120 and 121; images, ( : accessed 12 January 2018); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 792. All pages of this census were examined for occupations.

11. 1880 U.S. census, Monmouth County, New Jersey, population schedule, Raritan township, enumeration district (ED) 120, p. 26 (penned), sheet 413C, dwelling 260, family 292, Herman O. "Bouer"; ( : accessed 17 March 2019). Meier may have been a relative.

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