Bressler's Bank Roll Cigars

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History of Freeland, Pa.
Cigar manufacturers

What's on this page:
  • Cigar manufacturers in Freeland
  • Cigar manufacturers listed in directories and maps, 1882-1940
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It’s a very interesting thing that Freeland had a number of cigar manufacturers, including one large factory. In the 1882-1884 and 1884-1886 directories, Augustus G. Rohrbach is listed as a cigar manufacturer, first on Centre near South, and then at the site that was later occupied by the PP&L building at Centre and Walnut.

1895 cigar manufacturer on Centre Street above Luzerne In the 1886-1888 directory, Edward Nutze is a cigar manufacturer on Main Street, across from the Remak building that burned down a few years ago, between Centre and Washington streets. By 1895 he had moved to Centre Street near Luzerne, about where McNulty’s Funeral Home was later located, and shown in the map detail at left. In the 1897 directory Edwin Nutz, E. W. Nutz and Frank Nutz are listed there, Edwin as cigar factory owner and E. W. and Frank as cigar makers. In 1897 S. Nutze is listed as a cigar manufacturer on Centre Street.

Krone cigar factory, Johnson Street Krone cigar factory, Johnson Street In 1897 Henry Krone is also listed as a cigar maker at Birkbeck and Johnson. He made cigars in a small building behind his brother’s hotel and saloon, the Eagle Hotel and Café, later Krone’s store. [In Charles Stumpf’s book, he mistakenly says that Fred Krouse ran this hotel – it was Fred Krone, confirmed by Karl Krone in email correspondence.] These two map details show the location. Karl wrote: Frederick and Anna Krone moved from Jim Thorpe around 1897 and purchased the property from someone named Miller. (Deed book, Luzerne County Courthouse) At that time, it was actually a hotel with an outdoor beer garden hidden by a fence. The garden was fairly elaborate. After Frederick and Anna died, the property passed through several offspring before finally ending up in the hands of Grover (One of Fred and Anna's sons) and Evelyn Coxe Krone. (Evelyn was actually Charlie Coxe's sister-Charlie's Men's Store). Gladys who was often seen in the store with Evelyn was another descendant of the Krone family. About Henry Krone, Karl wrote: In addition to being a cigar maker, Henry worked as a bar tender. He had a wooden leg and was often referred to as peg leg.

The 1895 directory lists Charles C. Boczkowski as a cigar manufacturer on west Chestnut street. Charles Stumpf had mentioned him in his Freeland book as manufacturing cigars at his Walnut Street location, but all of the directories I’ve seen put him at Chestnut Street. In 1897 Boczkowski is also listed as being an agent for the Bartel Brewing Company. [The 1895 individual listings give his name as Boezkowski, cigar manufacturer, Chestnut Street, home same location.] He is also listed there in 1897 and 1901. By the 1921-1922 directory others of the Boczkowski are still listed at 816 Chestnut, but no longer Charles.

[Sadly, I have no other copies of Freeland directories between 1901 and the 1912 phone directory, in which the Freeland listings just take up one page because not many people had phones yet at that point.]

Bressler cigar factory, Cunnius Street Bressler cigar factory on 1923 Sanborn map Diane Unangst, a relative of Miles C. Bressler, wrote to me a few years ago and we corresponded about him and some other Freeland connections. She sent me a link to a web page about him [no longer available] and told me that he opened his cigar factory in 1901, apparently after the 1901 directory had already been compiled. He’s not listed in the 1912 or 1917 phone books, but the 1921-1922 and 1928-1929 city directories list the Bressler Cigar Mfg. Co. at 1106 Cunnius Street.

Royal Cigars / Merkt parade float Diane wrote: Miles Bressler of the cigar factory was a relative of mine. His wife Florence was my Dad's mother's sister. The Bresslers owned the house at 615 Walnut St and Florence's parents Ezra and Mary Alice Kresge lived there too. Ezra was a carpenter (and farmer) and he built the house, having retired and sold his farm near Kresgeville. Miles was hit by a trolley on Center St. around 1928 or so and died. Later she added: Michael Merkt (or Charlie Merkt his brother) sold the Freeland Royals cigars manufactured by Miles Bressler.

Miles Bressler in 1905 The cigar factory at Cunnius and Foster was previously the first site of the overall factory before it moved to Ridge Street around 1913. The Sanborn maps for 1900, 1905 and 1912 all show the overall factory at that Cunnius and Foster address, while on the 1923 map the M. C. Bressler cigar factory is there. Diane had read on the Fredericksburg site that Bressler opened a cigar factory in 1901 in Freeland. Where was he making those cigars before he took over the overall factory building when they moved to Ridge Street? Portrait photo of Miles Bressler in 1905 comes from Diane Unangst.

The Bressler Cigar Manufacturing Company was a pretty big enterprise in Freeland! The 1921-1922 city directory lists about 45 people who were cigar makers, presumably in Bressler’s factory, mostly women ("cigar mkr" after their names in the individual listings of the directory). It also advertised:
Bank Roll Cigars (Smoke Them), M. C. Bressler mfr.
El Rector Cigars (Smoke Them), M C. Bressler, mfr.

Miles Bressler died in 1928 and the business was purchased by Russell F. Feist, who is still listed as having that factory on Cunnius Street in 1940. Here are the listings under Bressler in the 1928-1929 directory, where Florence is listed as Miles’ widow and Russell Feist as vice president of the company:
Bressler, Amanda M., Pres and Treas Bressler Cigar Mfg Co, r719 Front
Bressler Cigar Mfg Co, A. M. Bressler Pres and Treas, Russell F. Feist V-Pres, Mrs. Arbie J. Sholl Sec., Mfrs of “Bank Roll,” “El Rector” and “Freeland Royal” Cigars, 1106 Cunius, Tel 39-J (see right side lines and adv in Cigar Dept)
Bressler, Florence E. (wid Miles), r615 Walnut

Bressler cigar factory staff Bressler cigar factory staff The website that Diane sent a link to included a note about another Bressler Cigar Factory in Fredericksburg. At the time I only saved the following bit of text from that website, thinking I would go back to it later (but it has disappeared), and here too is a photo of that factory and some staff that I got recently (and thanks to Charlie Gallagher for determining that this shows the Fredericksburg factory building). From that website: “Fredericksburg from the middle of the nineteenth to the quarter of the twentieth century was to become a center for the manufacturing and shipment of cigars throughout the region. Many families owed their existence to this line of work. A number of enterprising men in town made their living manufacturing and selling multiple brands of cigars. Some of the early ventures in cigars manufacturing included; F.M. Bachman, John H.W. Oberholtzer, Miles C. Bressler, William R. Behney, John O. Hoffa, Percival L. Strauss, his son Jacob F. Strauss, Aaron Lentz, William M. Shirk, John K. Gebhart, Morris M. Heberling, Alfred F. Eshleman, Edward Stroh, his son Calvin R. Stroh, Morris L. Wagner, Jacob W. Fulmer, Martin Wise, Aaron F. Klett, William H. Boeshore, his brother Robert U. Boeshore, George S. Petry, Israel Hay, Jonathan P. Bordner, Daniel C. Mohn, Daniel H. Zerbe, his son Wallace C. Zerbe, John G. Spatz, Cyrus Uhrich, and Levi S. Gerhart. Cigar factories were located in various parts of town throughout the years-representative of the men listed here.”

Bressler cigar tin Bressler cigar tin Bressler El Rector cigar box Bressler El Rector cigar box
A Bressler's Bank Roll cigars tin, and a Bressler's El Rector cigar box.

Bressler Nyona cigar box Bressler Nyona cigar box Bressler Nyona cigar box Bressler Nyona cigar box
These 4 images of Bressler's Nyona cigar boxes come from Pat Ferko Miller.

Cigar manufacturers listed in directories and maps, 1882-1940

1882-1884 city directory
In business listings:
Rohrbach, Augustus G., cigar manufacturer, Centre near South

1884-1886 city directory
In business listings:
Rohrbach, Augustus G., cigar manufacturer, 30 N Centre

1886-1888 city directory
In business listings:
Nutze, Edward, cigar manufacturer, 22 E Main

1889 mercantile directory
Nutze, Edwin - Mnfr. Cigars

1895 Freeland city directory
In business listings:
Boczkowski, Charles C., cigar manufacturer, Chestnut
Nutze, E., cigar manufacturer, 117 Centre

1897 city directory
In individual listings:
Krone, Henry, cigar maker, Birkbeck corner Johnson, h
Nutz, E. W., cigar maker, S Centre near Luzerne, h
Nutz, Edwin, cigar factory, S Centre near Luzerne, h w
Nutz, Frank, cigar maker, S Centre near Luzerne, h

1900-1901 city directory
In business listings:
Bockowiski, C. C., cigar manufacturer
Nutze, S., cigar manufacturer, Centre

1921-22 city directory
In business listings:
Bressler, Miles C., cigar manufacturer, 1106 Cunnius

1923 Sanborn Fire Insurance Co. map
M. C. Bressler, Cigar Factory

1928-29 city directory
In business listings:
Bressler, Miles C., cigar manufacturer, 1106 Cunnius

1929 Sanborn Fire Insurance Co. map
M. C. Bressler, Cigar Factory

1940 city directory
In business listings:
Feist, Russell F., cigar manufacturer, 1106 Cunnius

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