Col. Eugene Prager was born in Breslau Prussia. He arrived in America with his parents at age 15 where they settled in Chicago, Illinois. By 1874 Eugene had established a Tavern on 829 North Clark Street and had been appointed Oil Inspector by the Mayor. At age 25 Prager was a successful and respected member of Chicago's population of German-Americans.
Eugene Prager and Irish immigrant Anna Finnerty were married in 1876 and over the next decade the couple would have two young children. In July of 1889 Prager, Edward S. Dreyer, M. J. Sullivan, August Benz and Robert Berger incorporated the Logansport Brewery in Logansport Indiana. In 1891 Prager took a contract with the American Brewing Co. in Chicago to run their premier tied house at 131 South Clark Street. He advertised heavily, and for several years life was very good for the Pragers.
But Eugene's opulent spending, gambling losses and the Panic of 1893 combined to create debt estimated at over $25,000 in 1894. So it was that in the early morning hours of July 30th of that year Eugene and his family skipped town. The next day the American brewery took over Prager's restaurant, and the executives of the Logansport brewery met in haste. The Colonel returned on August 7th, but not before news of his gambling losses had been published in all the local newspapers.
Over the next months Prager sold his brewery stake and other assets and paid off his debts. For the next two decades he was a real estate broker and was Chicago's Grain Inspector. When he died at age 79 on Christmas day of 1919 he left a modest estate of about $10,000.
I originally started this biography because I thought Prager may have been the inspiration for the famous beer brewed by the Atlas Brewery of Chicago. While (like Tony Faust) Eugene Prager had a reputation as a first-class restaurateur, I was unable to find a connection. I now assume Prager Beer is a reference to the famed beer-making city of Prague.
Learn more at the links below
K. G. Schmidt Brewing Company of Logansport, Indiana, USA
The Atlas Brewing Company, Chicago, Illinois, USA