10th January 1801
10th January 1801
Serial brewer Truman Downer was born in Bennington, Vermont. Not much is known about his childhood, but at around the age of twenty he gained employment some 100 miles south of home, at the brewery of Matthew Vassar in Poughkeepsie, New York. Later in the 1820s he moved again to Mottville, Pennsylvania where he was employed by the Mottville Furnace Company.
There he met and married Remembrance Nye, a native of Onondaga County and the sister of Benjamin Nye, one of the partners in the furnace company. Downer became a partner in the company himself and in 1834 he, Nye, and the third Furnace Company partner John H. Earl joined forces to build a brewery in town. Later that same year in October, the Downer's first son Corydon joined his older sister Martha in the family. Sadly Remembrance died in October of the next year, at the young age of 30. Perhaps this was the end of the partnership with his brother-in-law, as no further documentation of their brewery exists.
In 1836 Truman Downer married Mary F. Smith and at some time before 1840 they relocated to Cleveland, Ohio. In 1846 Downer and barrelmaker Thomas F. Wyman established the Spring Street Brewery in that town. Then in 1850 or soon thereafter Downer decided to head west to try his trade in the rapidly expanding city of Chicago, Illinois. There he partnered with J. S. Saberton and together they opened the North Star brewery in around 1854.
Meanwhile in 1851 Truman's daughter Martha married a wealthy Chicago brewer and distiller named Henry Bemis. His son Corydon, who had been learning the beer-making business in the North Star, left the nest in 1860 and purchased a partnership in his brother-in-law's brewery on 16th Street. In 1866 Truman's 29 year old son Arthur was hired by hotelier Amos Hazen Peaslee to be the brewer in his ale brewery in Dubuque, Iowa.
In 1866 Truman Downer left Chicago and set up a small brewery in Buffalo, New York with his brother(?) William F., a maltster. Two years later Truman was associated with the Fox & Williams Brewery of that city.
In 1872 Truman left Buffalo for an opportunity to purchase Michael Wittman's Keystone Brewery in Erie, Pennsylvania. Downer took on partner Erwin J. Howard in the business later that year. Howard in 1872 was just 26 years of age, a full 45 years younger than his senior partner. Soon Howard began a friendship with Downer's daughter Celestine. He married her in 1873, cementing the the two families not only professionally, but in the eyes of God.
Under the leadership of Downer and Howard the brewery in Erie expanded rapidly. Truman Downer managed the brewery right up until his death on July 25, 1887. He was 86 years of age. Over the next 15 years Howard greatly expanded the Erie brewery. In 1899 it was renamed the Consumers Brewery, then the Wayne Brewing Company. The company would survive Prohibition and the rationing of World War Two, and would finally close in 1951.
Serial brewer Truman Downer was born in Bennington, Vermont. Not much is known about his childhood, but at around the age of twenty he gained employment some 100 miles south of home, at the brewery... View More
1839 FoundedAdam DietzSoutheast corner 17th & Parade Streets
1840 Frederick Dietz Southeast corner 17th & Parade Streets
31st January 1846
31st January 1846
Erwin Julius Howard was born in Aurora, Ohio, the oldest son of a farmer. In 1872, at the age of 26, he moved to Erie, Pennsylvania where he engaged in the brewery business. There he met and began courting a young woman named Celestine Downer. Celestine's father, a 72-year-old veteran brewer named Truman Downer, took an interest in him as well. He took young Howard under his wing, literally bought him a brewery, then set about teaching him the beer brewing business.
The old man's intuition proved keen, the marriage was strong and the brewery prospered. And upon Truman Downer's death in 1886 his protégé took over full-time management the company. Over the next twenty years grew it to be one of the largest in that area of the country.
Howard became much loved and respected in Erie County. In addition to the brewery business he was the president of the People's Bank, he was a high degree Mason, he was fire commissioner, and was a prominent member of the Elk's Lodge.
Celestine died in 1906 and her absence in his life was especially profound as their marriage had produced no children. When Erwin was diagnosed with cancer some months later it prompted the extended family to visit. Erwin Julius Howard died at age 62 on June 14th, 1908 he was survived by three brothers, a sister and their aged parents, who had all traveled by train from Chillicothe, Missouri to be at his side. His father, at age 85, signed as witness on his son's death certificate.
Erwin Julius Howard was born in Aurora, Ohio, the oldest son of a farmer. In 1872, at the age of 26, he moved to Erie, Pennsylvania where he engaged in the brewery business. There he met and began ... View More
1860 Charles Koehler Lager Beer BrewerySoutheast corner 17th & Parade Streets
1864 Erie Ale Brewery, Alfred King prop.Southeast corner 17th & Parade Streets
1869 Keystone Brewery, Keystone Bank prop.Southeast corner 17th & Parade Streets
1871 Keystone Brewery, Michael Wittman prop.Southeast corner 17th & Parade Streets
1872 Downer & Howard Ale Brewery (Truman Downer and Erwin J. Howard)Southeast corner 17th & Parade Streets
1897 Erwin J. HowardSoutheast corner 17th & Parade Streets
Begin: 1899 End 1907
1899 - 1907
1899 Consumers Brewing Co.Southeast corner 17th & Parade Streets
1907 Wayne Brewing Co.Southeast corner 17th & Parade Streets
Wayne Export Nectar Beer
A Birds-Eye View of the Wayne Brewery.
1934 Wayne Brewing CompanySoutheast corner 17th & Parade Streets
Night Club Beer
Old 39 Ale
Special Easter Wayne Brew Beer
Special Holiday Wayne Brew Beer
Wayne Bock Beer
Wayne Brew Ale
Wayne Brew Beer
Wayne Brew Bock Beer
Wayne Brew Export Beer
Wayne Brew Pilsener Type Beer
Wayne Champagne Ale
Wayne Champion Ale
Wayne Export Beer
Wayne Holiday Brew
Wayne Lager Beer
Wayne Pilsener Beer
1937Capacity 50000 Barrels
1939Capacity 55000 Barrels
1951 ClosedWayne Brewing Company