History
History

THE MONONGAHELA HOUSE

Every January, glass and china manufacturers would send their sales representatives to the prestigious Monongahela House in Pittsburgh to exhibit their established and new lines of goods. The various firms would rent suites and set up tables and shelves where various products were displayed. Various company buyers came to view the displays and were no doubt treated to an extensive sales presentation. Jule Braun was the representative for the Indiana Tumbler & Goblet Company. The Indiana Tumbler & Goblet Company was located the farthest west of any similar glass factory and displayed their goods for the first time in Room 137 of the venerable hotel in 1895 with Jule Braun in charge. The January 9, 1895 issue of "China, Glass and Lamps" stated that this display, while not as comprehensive as some, was nonetheless first class. They also noted that although the factory had only been in existence since June 1894, it was running to its full capacity and was doing a phenomenal business.

The Monongahela House was located on Smithfield Street between First Avenue and Water Streets. It was built between 1839-1840 and soon became Pittsburgh's premier hotel. It was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1845 and subsequently rebuilt. It was five stories high and had over 200 rooms and a banquet hall which could accommodate 1500 persons. Among its famous guests were Charles Dickens, King Edward VII, William Jennings Bryan, Mark Twain and others. Pittsburgh's historical hotel also counted 11 Presidents as its guests: John Quincy Adams, Taylor, Lincoln, Grant, Garfield, Hayes, Cleveland, Harrison, McKinley, T. Roosevelt and Taft. In addition, there was a time when every great actor who came to Pittsburgh from abroad or Broadway were guests in this historical building. Celebrities of all kinds stopped at the Monongahela House, among them Dwight L. Moody, General Tom Thumb and his wife, Buffalo Bill and Chang the Chinese Giant.

The Monongahela House, despite its exciting and extravagant history, was torn down in the 1920s thus removing an important connection to early glass making in America.
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