Levi Straus was born in Padberg, Bavaria, Germany. He emigrated to America at age 17 with his family and they settled in Baltimore, Maryland. He began his career with his brother Henry in the grocery business. They operated under the name H. Straus & Brother on the corner of Broadway and Shakespeare Street.
After a successful career of twenty years the grocery business was transferred to Henry's sons and the brothers formed the Straus Bros. malting business. In 1876 they brought in partner Alexander Bell and renamed the firm Straus Bros. & Bell. Through this malt house the firm obtained leverage over several Baltimore breweries after the Panic of 1873. One of these was the Darley Park Brewery, which had just been put into receivership after the death of its owner Conrad Siegmann. The Straus brothers took over the recently enlarged brewery and ran it for a profit. In 1889 they sold their company to the British syndicate Baltimore United Breweries, and by 1892 Levi had retired from the brewing business altogether.
Levi married Leonora Marcus in 1844, and their union produced nine children over 22 years. He was at one time president of the Hebrew Congregation. He belonged to the Phoenix Club and was a founding member of the Hebrew Hospital. In the first days of January, 1902 Levi Straus, now age 86, grew ill and became bedridden. He passed his 87th birthday unconscious and died just 30 minutes after midnight the following day. His wife Leonora died the next year. The brewery Levi and Henry nursed through the Panic operated until 1912 when it was forced closed during the run-up to National Prohibition.
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Darley Park Brewery of Baltimore, Maryland, USA
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