Beertonians Take Manhattan

You might think that there are no two towns more different from each other than Beertown and New York City.

But those Beertonians who know their history know differently. In fact, Beertown owes its very existence to the Big Apple.

It was while working in McSorley’s Old Ale House that Beertown founders Rhys Bramblethorpe and Aloysius Thompson

McSorley's Old Ale House, where Beertown Founding Fathers Bramblethorpe and Thompson first met.

McSorley’s Old Ale House, where Beertown Founding Fathers Bramblethorpe and Thompson first met.

first met.

An immigrant from Wales and a native New Yorker, the two dreamed of finding their fortunes – and making great beer – out West.

While they started a new chapter and a new city on the frontier, they never forgot their hometown.

It is said that they providentially stopped for refreshment at the Thakiwaki River because it reminded them of the Hudson. And when they tasted the pure spring waters nearby, it had the taste of New York’s finest from the Old Croton Aqueduct (only much better!).

As Bramblethorpe and Thompson developed their new city in the boom times following the Civil War, they replicated many of the places they knew from New York. For instance, it’s no coincidence that a visiting New Yorker will find that Beertown Park bears a striking resemblance to Central Park (albeit on a somewhat smaller scale).

Founding Father Rhys Bramblethorpe, circa 1863.

Founding Father Rhys Bramblethorpe, circa 1863.

Founding Father and New Yorker Alyosius Thompson, circa 1861.

Founding Father and New Yorker Alyosius Thompson, circa 1861.

To celebrate the upcoming sesquicentennial of the founding of our dear city by these two New Yorkers, the Historic Beertown blog is proud to partner with the Beertown Historical Society to sponsor a special trip to the Big Apple.

It’s a sort of  homecoming for Beertonians to connect with our past and honor the connections between our two cities.

Over the next two weeks we’ll be visiting historic sites throughout New York City, including McSorley’s and other places connected to our heritage and the city’s beer past. By learning more about New York history, we’ll be learning about Beertown history.  

And we’ll be using the excellent NYC history blog and podcast – The Bowery Boys – as our guide. Check out their many entertaining and informative podcasts linked throughout this blog.

But it won’t be all history – we’ll also be sampling some cutting-edge arts and culture, including an exciting off-Broadway show.

Stay tuned to this blog to see more of our historic adventures as Beertonians take Manhattan!

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