Wheeling Brewer and Philanthropist
September 15, 1837-January 11, 1924
Brewer and philanthropist Anton Reymann (1837-1924) was born in Gaubickelheim, Germany, on September 15, 1837, and immigrated to the United States in 1853. The family landed in New Orleans and came up the Mississippi River where they settled in Galena, Illinois, but soon left due to an outbreak of chills and fever. The family then made their way east to Wheeling where Anton’s father, George partnered with Peter Paul Beck, a brewer who operated The Franklin Brewery at 31 Main Street. Combining their interest the two men started a summer garden across the creek in East Wheeling along Rock Point Road.
At seventeen Reymann became Beck’s apprentice and studied brewing in Cincinnati and St. Louis where he also worked in different breweries. In 1862 Reymann returned to Wheeling and considered enlisting in the Union Army, but was persuaded otherwise by friends and family. In 1862 Reymann married Thusnelda, the daughter of Beck. Upon his father’s retirement and Beck’s death, Reymann partnered with Beck’s widow a short while before purchasing the entire business and moving the brewery to the site on Rock Point Road. With a fresh water supply, cold storage caves, and new buildings Reymann’s business grew to be one of largest in the state and catered to the tri-state area as did his main competitor Henry Schmulbach.
As Reymann was establishing his brewery he also began expanding his business interest. He was president of the Wheeling and Elm Grove Railroad and made investments to move from the old horse-drawn system to electrification and steam engines. He also served as president of the West Virginia State Fair Association and was Vice President of the German Fire Insurance Company, a founder of the German Bank of Wheeling, and a stockholder in Warwick China and North Wheeling pottery. Known as an upstanding member of the community, Reymann was also known as a philanthropist. Reymann started the Wheeling Park Company where he created a German beer garden getaway with amusement rides, swimming pool, and casino. Reymann was also responsible for the creation of Altenheim, which served as home for women who had spent their lives as domestic servants, but in their old age had no one to take care of them. Just as the grounds of Wheeling Park are still enjoyed today, Altenheim still serves as a home for elderly women. Even after his death in 1924, the legacy of Reymann is still present in Wheeling.
- written by Ryan Stanton and the OCPL for "Legendary locals of Wheeling," edited by Sean Duffy and Brent Carney, 2013.
▼ Additional biographical information
OCPL Wheeling History Website: Reymann Brewing Co.
OCPL Wheeling History Website: Reymann Mansion