WWW.QNS.COM RIDGEWOOD TIMES JUNE 20, 2019 27
An old saloon, the ‘Woods of Glendale’
and local beer-making history
BY THE OLD TIMER
OUR NEIGHBORHOOD: THE WAY IT WAS
Henry Stroh’s saloon stood at
the corner of Woodward and
Greene Avenues in Ridgewood.
It was there as far back as 1898, and
The Old Timer ran a photo of the
saloon in the Dec. 11, 1986 issue of the
Ridgewood Times. It’s believed the
picture was taken in about 1910, and
shows a woman believed to be Mrs.
Stroh with her four children.
As the large sign on the front of the
saloon states, Stroh’s saloon served
Joseph Eppig’s Beer. He also sold
“segars,” which was the old spelling of
The Joseph Eppig Brewery, which
supplied the beer to Henry Stroh,
was founded in 1888 by Joseph Eppig
and Frank Ibert as “Eppig and Ibert.”
Joseph Eppig, who had previously
worked for his uncle, Leonhard Eppig,
at his brewery at 22 George St. , worked
his way up to brewmeister. He then
left in 1888 and went into partnership
with Frank Ibert. This lasted only a
year, and Ibert went out on his own.
Eppig, meanwhile, continued as the
sole owner of his brewery.
Just as George Ehret used the picnic
parks at North Beach (now LaGuardia
Airport to build the volume of his
Hellgate Brewery to the largest in the
world in the 1890s, Eppig had visions
of building a large summer resort at
Idlewild Island in Jamaica Bay, where
Joseph Eppig beer would be enjoyed by
the patrons. He built the Idlewild Park
Hotel and was planning on expanding
it when, in 1905, the City of New York
decided to dump garbage nearby. This
ended the viability of operating the
Idlewild Park Hotel as a summer resort.
Today, Kennedy Airport occupies the
Joseph Eppig died in 1907, and his
sons, Theodore and John, took over
the operation of the business, with
Theodore serving as manager and John
the brewmeister. The Joseph Eppig
Brewery went out of business in 1915.
* * *
Picnic parks once lined many acres
of Ridgewood and Glendale at the
turn of the 19th century. They off ered
families a summer oasis to play and
relax away from the hustle and bustle
of everyday life.
One of the more popular picnic parks
in Our Neighborhood was Schmidt’s
Woods, a 26 acre park that was indeed
the largest of its kind in the area.
Schmidt’s Woods occupied an area
generally bounded by Myrtle Avenue,
83rd Street, Union Turnpike, 88th
Street and Woodhaven Boulevard.
The land for Schmidt’s Woods
was owned by John Welz Jr., Charles
Zerwick and Henry Roth, the owners
of Welz and Zerwick Brewery, which
was located on the southeast corner
of Myrtle and Wyckoff Avenues in
In 1897, they built a hotel on their
property in Glendale, located near
the present day intersection of Myrtle
Avenue and Union Turnpike. They
then leased the park to George Schmidt,
the “woods” namesake.
George Schmidt was 49 years
old and had emigrated to America
from Germany in 1882. He and his
wife, Philomina, had two children:
Katherine, 10, and George, 8. They
lived in the hotel and employed three
porters to help run the park.
When George Schmidt signed the
lease, it was with the understanding
that only Welz and Zerwick Beer would
be served in the park.
The park itself was entirely fenced
in. There were swings for children, a
substantial number of picnic tables and
benches, baseball fi elds and a soccer
fi eld. To gain admission, you entered
by a gate near the hotel.
Schmidt’s Woods was used primarily
for family gatherings. Typically, a
family would order an eighth-barrel
of Welz and Zerwick lager for the loft y
sum of $1. An attendant would deliver it
to the family’s picnic table. Sometimes
free pretzels were given out.
Apparently, the lease arrangement
worked out well for both Welz and
Zerwick, indirectly through its
owners, and George Schmidt. Although
Prohibition started in January
1920, Schmidt’s Woods stayed open
throughout the 1925 summer season. It
would be the last of the Glendale picnic
parks to close.
Sources: The Dec. 4 and Dec. 11, 1986
* * *
If you have any remembrances or old
photographs of “Our Neighborhood: The
Way It Was” that you would like to share
with our readers, please write to the Old
Timer, c/o Ridgewood Times, 38-15 Bell
Blvd., Bayside, NY 11361, or send an email
to email@example.com. Any
print photographs mailed to us will be
carefully returned to you upon request.
This 1910 photo shows the exterior of Stroh’s Saloon at the corner of
Woodward and Greene Avenues in Ridgewood
Ridgewood Times archives/Greater Ridgewood Historical Society
The exterior of the Welz and Zerwick Brewery that once stood at
the corner of Myrtle and Wyckoff Avenues in Ridgewood.
Many long-lost picnic parks and hotels in our community, such as the
Pflfl eghardt Hotel in Glendale, served Welz and Zerwick beer.