Have you ever wondered what happened to that restaurant you once loved and have memories of dining at with your family and friends? We did! There is an amazing website called Lost Tables, dedicated to celebrating the restaurants of our past. We are partnering with the site’s creator Harley Hammerman and celebrating these wonderful stories. Hammerman and his wife Marlene are members of Shaare Emeth, and she is past president of the National Council of Jewish Women of St. Louis. Visit Lost Tables on Facebook
Francis (Franz) Teutenberg founded a bakery in St. Louis in the early 1830s. His family would continue to operate bakeries and restaurants in St. Louis for five generations.
According to his obituary in the St. Louis Post Dispatch (August 30, 1900), Teutenberg was born on November 1, 1813. His obituary in the St. Louis Republic (August 31, 1900) states he was born in Arnsberg, Prussia, and emigrated to the United States on June 13, 1834, when he was nineteen years old.
Teutenberg’s birth year of 1813 is confirmed by a page from the U.S. Census, dated June 19, 1870, at which time his age was listed as fifty-six. That would have made him twenty years old in June of 1834, not nineteen. A subsequent St. Louis Republic article (September 3, 1900) states Teutenberg came to St. Louis in 1833, perhaps a correction.
When Francis Teutenberg retired in 1862, the ownership and management of his bakery business fell to two of his sons, Charles A. and Fred W. Teutenberg. When Charles died in March of 1934, his obituary in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (March 28, 1934) stated he was the son of Francis Teurtenberg, who came from Germany and started a bakery “about 1840,” a date approximating that reported in 1900. However, by the end of 1934, newspaper ads for the bakery had added the tagline, “Quality Since 1812.”
Fred W. Teutenberg, Jr. was then president of Teutenberg Bakeries. He was featured in an April 19, 1935, St. Louis Star and Times article which stated his firm was celebrating the 123rd anniversary of its founding and that the “first bakery was started in 1812 at Second and Walnut streets by Francis Teutenberg upon his arrival from Germany.”
“Since 1812” became Teutenberg’s tagline and was front and center on all of their printed materials. The legend of Francis Teutenberg’s 1812 bakery was carried forward throughout the decades by the media and codified by the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce, which recognized the company as the oldest continually operating business in St. Louis. No one questioned how a man born in Prussia in 1813 could open a bakery in St. Louis in 1812.
In 1962, Teutenberg’s celebrated their 150th anniversary. An October 28, 1962, St. Louis Post-Dispatch article related that for all the firm’s years in business, they had only a handful of mementos and souvenirs. Fred W. Teurtenberg, IV lamented, “All we can tell you of our history is word-of-mouth accounts.”
The following history of five generations of Teutenbergs and their bakery business is gleaned primarily from newspaper articles filled with those “word-of-mouth accounts,” plus a handful of artifacts. It’s clear the bakery was not founded in 1812. But it’s still a fascinating story, fact, and fiction.
Francis (Franz) Teutenberg, the head of the Teutenberg family in St. Louis, was one of the pioneer German residents of the city. He was born in Arnsberg, Prussia in 1813 and emigrated to to the United States when he was 19 (or 20) years old. His ship landed in New Orleans on June 13, 1833 (or 1834), and perceiving the city to be overcrowded, he traveled up river to St. Louis, where he remained for the rest of his life.
When Teutenberg first came to St. Louis, pioneers still lived on the riverfront in log cabins and the extreme boundary of the city was Fourth Street. Trappers still came to the city and Indians crossed the river in canoes.
Teutenberg was industrious and immediately went into the bakery business. He opened a bakery at Third and Olive Streets (not Second and Walnut), which subsequently was moved to Fourteenth Street and Franklin Avenue. Teutenberg had remarkable commercial gifts and was popular with the other merchants in the city.
When he had amassed money enough to afford it, Teutenberg married Anna Marie Becker, a young girl who had come to St. Louis from Marnheim, Germany about six months before Teutenberg himself had arrived in the city.
Teutenberg retired from the bakery business in 1862 and moved out to his country residence, near Clayton, where the family remained eighteen years. He was quite wealthy when he retired and owned considerable property. He listed his occupation as “farmer” in the 1870 U.S. Census.
Francis Teutenberg died on August 30, 1900, at the age of 86. Five sons and one daughter died before their father and four children survived him – Fred W. Teutenberg, Otto Teutenberg, Charles A. Teutenberg, and Mrs. Ida Geisel.
After Frances Teutenberg retired in 1862, the ownership and management of his bakery business fell to two of his sons, Charles A. and Fred W. Teutenberg. The original bakery at Third and Olive Streets moved to 1402 Franklin Avenue, although the exact date is unclear. An October 28, 1962, St. Louis Post-Dispatch article says it was in the 1840s and one from April 28, 1963, states the move was in the 1850s. However, according to “Help Wanted” ads in the Post-Dispatch, a tailor shop occupied 1402 Franklin Avenue until at least the spring of 1891 and the first mention of a bakery in the space was at the beginning of 1901.
The bakery at 1402 Franklin Avenue was next door to Eagan’s saloon, which was at the corner of Franklin and Fourteenth. The bakery extended around the saloon in an L-shape, with a brick oven extending under Fourteenth.
Click here to read the entire story of Teutenberg’s restaurant on LostTables.com