Our April installment of History and Hops features Manor Hill Brewing of Ellicott City, MD. This ‘family-owned farm-brewed’, brewery is a thriving farm complete with beef cattle, herbs gardens and hop gardens. The Marriner family had a vision for a farm brewery after Mary Marriner read an article on how another brewery, Oskar Blues is operating a farm with crops and beef cattle, conveniently between two restaurants. The family also owns Victoria Gastro Pub, where the farm-fresh ingredients are used in their dishes.
Although Heurich’s primary dwelling was at his home in Washington, D.C., he also had a summer farm and house, named Bellevue located in Hyattsville, MD (now the site the Mall at Prince George’s Plaza and the Metro stop). Heurich purchased the 376 acre farm April 1887 at the recommendation of his physician as a place of rest, while still being close enough to his brewery to check on day to day operations. The entire Heurich family enjoyed the farm in the summer months.
In addition to the farm house, Heurich also had an operating dairy farm, where he raised Holstein cows. Some in the Heurich family think the dairy farm was more of a hobby for the elder Heurich, and did not really make a profit.
Heurich took great pride in making sure his beer was clean of any impurities and made it publicly known by posting advertisements in the newspaper and on his beer labels. Similar, Heurich touted his dairy had the most sanitary and healthful milk. By 1916, the dairy was producing about 200 gallons of milk a day. This newspaper clipping, illustrates how an investigator visited the farm and examined all of the dairy farm operations, even writing “Cows Cleanly Beyond Comparison”, noting the cows were fed the very best feed and the water they drank is “…as clear and pure as the water of Takoma Spring.” Having this approval by an investigator was not only important for your status, it was the law for the milk to be distributed within the District of Columbia.
In a 1916 hearing before a subcommittee of the committee of the District of Columbia to the Senate, on the topic of the high cost of living in the District of Columbia many experts spoke about the legality of milk. One individual that testified, was Mr. Herman E. Gasch, President of the Bellevue Dairy Farms, Hyattsville, MD noted many topics. In his testimony he said:
“The milk situation here is not intelligently dealt with. Milk is not graded. I can only hope that this committee will see the force of that point, that the city of Washington should be counted among other cities in the fortune of having a law that would require so very important a food product as milk to be graded, in order to show what you are getting…”
Gasch continued the explain the dairy farm was previously in a price-fixing agreement with the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers’ Association, however the contract had since expired. The goal of this contract was “…to get together and fix a price which they account to be a minimum at which the milk can be produced and provide a living…”
A March 21, 1950 Washington Post article stated the area surrounding the farm had become too urbanized and the current property was no longer suited for a dairy farm. During the sale of the cattle, the sire of the herd, “Design Again” was sold for $3,700.
In 1951, Christian Heurich Jr sold most of the family land for over 1 million dollars to the Contee Sand and Gravel Company. That same year, the family mausoleum in which Christian Heurich Sr., Mathilde (Heurich’s second wife), Anna Marguerite (Amelia and Christian’s infant daughter) were buried was moved to Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C. The Contee Company dived the parcels of land and eventually Prince George’s Plaza was developed, which is host to a Target, Olive Garden and a shopping mall. Nearby, the Heurich name still lives on and is still in use at DeMatha High School’s Heurich Field and the Heurich Dog Park