Monday, July 6, 2009

Bottled in Hastings: Marc Rosner and the International Hotel


Society member Marc Rosner is a chemistry teacher in the Hastings High School and an avid bottle and coin collector. Somehow, “avid” does not really seem to be a strong enough word to describe his passion for hunting through the backwoods of Westchester in his search for the perfect specimen.

“The holy grail for me has always been a Hastings bottle, and the closest I had come was a shard with "ASTINGS" on it. Recently, I have been scouring the area for new digs and working my way north. The vicinity of the East Irvington Nature preserve yielded some interesting finds. Then I returned to a secret spot I had found last summer, near what I discovered recently is Irvington's "Hermit
Grave."

Although I haven't found an intact one yet, the site has yielded the best stuff yet for my collection, and I have been sneaking off at odd hours to dig. As I move north, the bulldozers move south and we have been dancing around each other through the poison ivy and ticks. Every time I think I have the last good one, I find a few more, which I'd like to rescue from getting paved under the next new mansion.

Among the finds are several Hastings bottles with the top broken but the body intact. The bottle you see was unrecognizable until I cleaned it with several different chemicals. My relatives think I'm crazy, with good reason, but I enjoy this tinkering.”



Marc’s find is particularly interesting to us because of the words embossed on the glass. They read: “Chas. H. Bevers / Hastings, N.Y.” At the end of the 19th century, Charles H. Bevers and his wife Amelia Halbe Bevers ran the “International Hotel” on the west side of the train tracks, just opposite our present-day train station. (In the 19th-century, the station was slightly to south of its current position.) A hotel stood on the site as early as 1868. An article on Charles H. Bevers in our files tells us that in 1877 Charles went into business with his father to run the International Hotel. The article does not make it clear whether his father, whose name was also Charles, was already running the hotel by himself, or whether the International Hotel actually opened for business in 1877.


An 1889 insurance map (detail above) adds the useful information that beer bottling was performed in the basement of the building. If you look carefully at the photograph of the hotel below, you can see a sign that reads: “Yonkers Beer Ales & Porter.” So the bottles may have belonged to Bevers, but the alcohol in them seems to have been imported from a brewery in Yonkers.

The railroad purchased the International Hotel property from Bevers, probably around 1910 when the new station was built. The building itself, or part of it, might have survived until 1912. A booklet published in 1949 on the history of industry in Westchester says that the “Old International Hotel” and a saloon called the Tammany House on the same side of the train tracks were torn down to make room for a new mill being built by the National Conduit and Cable Company (the precursor of Anaconda).


It's hard to imagine that there was anything “international” about a 19th-century hotel/saloon in a small town like Hastings-on-Hudson. But the article on Bevers tells us that “during its palmy days, this was one of the most widely patronized and universally popular hotels of Westchester County, and held leading rank among others of its group in the State.”

We are grateful to Marc and other local archaeologists for their enthusiasm and their generosity. They supply us with the artifacts that keep the memory of these old Hastings landmarks alive.
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2 comments:

  1. Bought an intact Chas H Bevers bottle at a warren county NJ, excellent bottle, hand blown and slightly warped. One of my new favorites!
    Brett Rodgers (babanjo@fastmail.us)

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  2. Last summer, a year after the original publication of this article, I found my "Holy Grail:" Behind a boulder in a Greenburgh peat bog, three-dozen nearly perfectly preserved local beer bottles. This was not a trash fire site, but just a dump of what must have been a great party around 1900. The lion's share of this was Hastings Bevers beers, ten or so clear ones as pictured above. There were also some varieties I have never seen, in aqua and and a gorgeous Amber one. Some say "Hastings-on-the-Hudson." Also, quite a few from Tarrytown and Dobbs (Boock, Anchor, & others). I made gift-in-kind donations to each of the respective historical societies, who were all very grateful for receiving varieties new to their collections. There was a single Ardsley bottle, rare, from the DiNicholas Hotel on Saw Mill River Road. Any historical information on these would be appreciated. --Marc Rosner (marosner at aol.com if you wish to communicate).

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