History of building goes back to brewery days

All that is left is a shell of a building formerly the home of five apartments and two businesses after a fire destroyed the Fred Fisch Brewery building Monday. Firefighters were called to the structure fire before 11 a.m. Monday and brought it under control in the early evening hours.

They monitored flareups which were going on into the daylight hours of Tuesday morning.

The scene on tuesday morning showed the shell of the building destroyed by fire the day before. (Photo by Richard Lamb)

According to local historian Gerald Micketti, the building came to be after the demise of the village Crawford’s Quarry.

“Paul Bittner started a brewery in Crawford’s Quarry.  Bittner came north to Crawford’s Quarry on the steamer Marine City with the Dueltgen family in 1871.  Bittner had been employed by the Dueltgen family in their brewery in Flint.  After arriving in Crawford’s Quarry, he established his own brewery.  When Paul and his family moved to Rogers City in 1906 Henry Vietel became a partner in the business and became the brewer and manager.  Three years later, Vietel left the brewery and moved to Metz to set up a farm implement business.  His successor was Fred Fisch.  Born in Bavaria, Germany, Fisch came to the United States when he was 21.  He learned the brewing business in Germany and became a master brewer in 1899.  He served as brewmaster in several breweries in the United States.  Fisch came from Detroit in the autumn of 1909 to become the brewer and manager of Bittner’s brewery in Crawford’s Quarry,” Micketti writes.

When the Calcite quarry began rapid expansion, the community of Crawford’s Quarry disbanded.

” In 1911 the Michigan Limestone & Chemical Company concluded to purchase the so-called Bittner Brewery property on the following basis:  Mr. Fisch, the present tenant, agreed to vacate the property within eighteen months for the sum of one thousand three hundred dollars.  He was to remove the contents of the brewery, including the boiler and engine and the old ice house.  Mr. Bittner agreed to turn over clear deeds, etc., for three thousand one hundred dollars and the Michigan Limestone & Chemical Company agreed to pay the taxes of one hundred seventy dollars.  In the summer of 1912 he arranged to have a building erected on the north end of Third Street for his new brewery.  His building was constructed of cement blocks made by the Rogers City Artificial Stone Company,” Micketti said.

Jack’s Barbershop, which would have observed 50 years in that location in November, occupied one of the two retail spaces. The other was formerly occupied by Elite Salon and Spa, which moved to another location last year.