The once ornate staircase that leads to the crumbling mansion, is cracked and falling aside. The old, sculpted gardens have been overrun with weeds, encircled by fences of razor sharpened barbed cable. Its once grand spires and turrets neglect a scenery of forbidding housing projects and the desolate lots of one of America’s most notorious and violent metropolitan areas. We are positioned outside the imposing, former home of Gottfried Krueger, one of the grandest mansions found in Newark once, NJ.
But today, it lies abandoned, day Manderlay slowly decaying such as a second option. Gottfried Krueger was an immigrant from Germany, who made his fortune brewing beer. As the incredible number of immigrants flowed from Europe into America, mostly through Ellis Island, the demand for old English style ales was changed with a demand for lighter, European lagers.
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Krueger was one of the many, wildly successful brewers that flourished meeting that demand. His beer was the first in the to be sold in cans, and by 1875, Krueger was producing over 25, year 000 barrels a. Along with his new-found wealth, Krueger made a decision to create a grandiose, opulent mansion on what’s today the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.. Boulevard and Court Street. Then the boulevard was known as TRADITIONAL Back, a two mile long grand avenue, that wouldn’t have looked out of place in Haussmann’s Paris.
But of all the mansions on High Street, none of them were as luxurious as the Krueger home. It got forty rooms, the first owned elevator in NJ privately. Archival photographs show the mansion’s opulent Louis XIV interior, its stained-glass windows, and leather embossed walls glittering with mother-of-pearl wainscoting. Five tales high, it was topped with a copper-domed turret, that dominated the skyline.
But business would eventually come to a halt for the Krueger family. Confronted with the twin perils of anti-German sentiment during World War I, and Prohibition, Krueger Beer would swiftly vanish from the hotel pubs and ale halls of the North East. In 1958, Louise Scott, owner of the beauty school, purchased the mansion. She ran the educational school out of the lower floors, whilst she lived in the available rooms above. Scott’s school thrived, and she is regarded as the first female African-American millionaire in NJ. But when Scott passed away in 1982, the imposing mansion passed to the populous city of Newark, where it has laid deserted since ever.
In many ways, the fate of the Krueger-Scott mansion mirrors the declining fortunes of Newark itself. Once a thriving, industrial city, the gradual lack of its production bedrock saw the town quickly deteriorate into one of America’s most impoverished and violent cities. Rampant unemployment and criminal offense came to a bloody head in 1967 with riots that brutally descended into all out road to war, with twenty-six people killed. As increasingly more professional and working classes fled the populous city, an onslaught of drugs, crime, and one of the highest murder rates in the US saw forbidding casing projects replacing the countless grand Victorian town homes of days gone by.