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Compiled by Henri EISENBEIS, resident in France,


Restoration of the Eisenbeis Castle 
(movie, “An Officer and a Gentleman”)  


Johann Christian EISENBEIS


Catharina Margaretha SCHLEPPI

  |     |  
  Johann Georg Valentin EISENBEIS 1796     Georg Ludwig EISENBEIS 1790-1859  
  |     |  
  Charles EISENBEIS 1832-1902     Johann Nikolaus EISENBEIS 1833-1904  
        Otto EISENBEIS 1874-1946  
        Othon EISENBEIS 1902-1962  
        Henri EISENBEIS 1937-
Germany to United States, Spiesermühle, bakery, hotel Eisenbeis (200 rooms) transformed as a hospital for wounded soldiers returning from the Philippines, Eisenbeis Castle, Hotel Manresa ...
Images of America Port Townsend 

Legends about Manresa Castle include two ghosts  a priest and a young woman....

Other presentation compiled with Dennis Eisenbeis    

The Epic of Charles Eisenbeis


Eisenbeis Castle    

Now a hotel known as "Manresa Castle"
Port Townsend, Washington, U.S.A.

From Spiesermühle to Port Townsend, Washington
The history of a pioneer.

Charles Eisenbeis was born 10 July, 1832, in Spiesen-Elversberg, (in Neunkirchen, Saarland, Germany situated approx. 4 km southwest of Neunkirchen, and 15 km northeast of Saarbrücken). His parents operated a mill called  Spiesermühle, (clic over drawing on right). His grandfather, Johann Christian EISENBEIS, was a victim of the French Revolution. A part of the family died of an epidemic of French troops of Napoleon, returning from the retreat from Russia. His father, Valentin (Johann Georg Valentin EISENBEIS), comes from the mill of his parents at Wellesweiler. Having lost his wife one year after his marriage Valentin lives with Catherine Krohn and from this connection born three illegitimate children, Henrietta, Frederick and Charles. Relatives marry. The couple will have again six children including Ludwig and Sophie. In the Eisenbeis family, two members have already  emigrated  the United States, one in 1821 with six children, the other in 1822 with two children. At the age of 24, Charles and his older brother of two years,  Frederick, bent on adventure decide to head for America. The trip will be long: join Nancy where the train Strasbourg-Paris recently put in service will take them to Paris, then Paris-Le Havre where it is necessary to distrust thieves that target particularly foreigners who have money, because they have to pay the crossing and the food.

In 1856 he disembarks to Rochester, New York. His older brother, Frederick is always with him. From his family, Charles had learned the trade of baker, and he rapidly prospered in this trade while in Rochester. During the height of the Gold Rush, Charles, decides to head west. Despite the apprehension of the trip, and the fact that he is prone to seasickness, he decides to travel to the west coast by the sea. The daughter of Frederick, Miss Lena, declares just before her death that Charles traveled to San Francisco by sailing around Cape Horn. The intended destination of the trip is Steilacoom, today a very small city close to Tacoma to the south west of Seattle. Steilacoom is to the bottom of the estuary Puget Sound, very steep estuary. The trip is undertaken on a slow and small sailboat, the Big Cyprus. In February 1858, approaching the Puget Sound, a tempest rages and during six days it is impossible to approach the coast. The seventh day the wind falls, but then heavy fog settled in. The captain lands instead at Port Townsend , small port to the entry of Puget Sound. Charles Prosch, a passenger, describes this trip.  On the top deck he notices a man, Charles Eisenbeis, who is clearly sick, who asks to the captain how much time will be necessary to arrive at Steilacoom. The captain, stoic, replies: " I don't know but the trip has never lasted more three weeks, I think perhaps two weeks". Charles exclaims with a pronounced accent: "Oh mein Gott! I goes overpoard! ". Thus Charles interrupts his trip and disembarks to Port Townsend.

Without money, and with his brother Frederick, Charles begins by doing odd jobs to survive. At that time, the closest supply for bread was Portland, Oregon, so after a few short months of saving money from his odd jobs, he opened The Pioneer Bakery" selling crackers and ships' bread. The business quickly prospered. The site of this shop is found in the site of the magnificent building, 314-316 Water Street. Two later years he finally makes it to Steilacoom, again with his brother. He exerts the same trade successfully during five years. He returns alone to Port Townsend. Port Townsend was growing rapidly during this period. In 1859, there were only three hundred residents in the city, by 1890 there will be seven thousand residents. He buys the site of his first shop. He continues in the trade of making bread, but expands to include the sale of animal feed. He built on the site the first building in stone.  It is the beginning of constructions realized by Charles, 1873 the building to the corner of Tylers and Water Street that will be occupied during 12 years by State's customs, quays between Taylors and Van Burens Street that improves the appearance of the city; 1884 a building between Quincy and Water Street. 1890 the Mount Baker Block to the corner of Water and Taylors Street the greatest building of the city; several small residential and commercial real estate. In 1889 he had constructed a manufacture of bricks that fed in material all the city. He realizes the Union Wharf that is an immense commercial quarter by the long of " wharf Eisenbeis". He becomes the lead of the "Group of the Five", the Big Five Syndicate, five persons that control all the economy of the city: the entry ports along the wharfs, the railroad, the first National Bank, several small commercial banks, the steelworks. There is some confusion about the time he married. One account states that he married Elisabeth Berghauser, a native of Prussia, in San Francisco in 1856. Another belief is that he met and married her in Port Townsend at a later date. Elisabeth died in 1882, survived by Charles, two sons and two daughters; Charles Jr, Frederick, Sophia, and Luise. Charles later marries Kate E. Hughs (nee Marsh), a native of England. Charles and Kate have four children, Lillian, Otto, Hilda, and Josephine. There is also some question as to when Charles and Frederick's brother Ludwig and sister Sophie joined them in Port Townsend either traveled with them or have joined them later. One will find them on a list of persons residing Port Townsend under the name of Louis and Sophie Eisenbeis in 1870, and in 1875 in the San Francisco Call Newspaper, there is a listing of the marriages of Louis Eisenbeis to Catharine Bitterle, and "Sopia" Eisenbeis to August Leemann.  On February 12, 1878, Charles was elected as the first mayor of the Port Townsend, serving three terms. He was also twice the treasurer of the city and member of the Health Commission . The article "a History of the state of Washington" written by H.K. Hines published in 1893 ends thus: here is summary the life of the most representative man of Port Townsend that with his perseverance, his ambition, the senses of business has conquered poverty, has made a real fortune and has acquired a respectable worthiness. Others, however, have been far less kind. During the depression of the 1890's, America took it's first step to the socialist left. Leftist, denouncing all businessman as greedy and labeling productive citizens as "Robber Barons". This social mood continued to cause great problems for businessmen, and many businesses in Port Townsend failed. With the decline in business, the planned railroad line bypassed Port Townsend contributing further to the decline business.  In anticipation of the railway, Charles built the magnificent "Hotel Eisenbeis" with 120 bedrooms and 250 meter of veranda overlooking the proposed railroad terminal. The hotel never opened and was later suspiciously destroyed by fire. As a major holder of property in Port Townsend, Charles was hit more severely by the depression than other local businessmen. To continue paying for the services demanded by the socialists controlling the city at that time, property taxes were imposed and continued to increase.
Charles' tax assessment for 1890 was reported to be $82,525.00. But Charles remained optimistic and refused to abandon his town. Even with much of the business ventures failing, Charles and his friend Joe Kuhn donated property and building materials for construction of Hospital in 1890, and in 1892, Charles used the last brick produced by his brickyard to construct a magnificent main home of three floors in brick and stone, with a roof in slate and with the best comfort of that period in which he will live with his family to finally rest after a well active 35 years long life of a pioneer. Charles died 9 March 1902, survived by eight children and his second wife. The day of funeral, the family received a telegram announcing the death of Charles' brother, Frederick, who had remained in Steilacoom. "The newspaper, "Morning Leader" stated in a column in its 13 March 1902 issue that there was a special town council meeting was called to eulogize Charles Eisenbeis".

In 1905, Kate Eisenbeis remarried and the castle was left empty for almost 20 years except for a caretaker. In 1925, a Seattle attorney bought the Castle as a vacation place for nuns teaching in Seattle schools. This plan did not work out well and in l927 the Jesuit priests purchased the building for use as a training college The priests spent their sixteenth and final year of training here studying ascetic theology. In 1920, the Jesuits added a large wing housing a chapel and sleeping rooms. They also installed the elevator (an Otis) at, a cost of $3,400 -- a substantial sum in those days. When their addition was complete, t
he Jesuits stuccoed over the bricks of the original portion to give the building a more uniform look. They named the complex "Manresa Hall" after the town in Spain where Ignatius Loyola founded the order. The Jesuits left in l968 and the building was converted into a hotel, known as "Manresa Castle",. The three different owners since l968 have all done their part to lovingly renovate the building to modern standards while maintaining its Victorian elegance. For example, there were only 3 bathrooms when the Jesuits left, today there are 43.

Sources of information for the above: Henri & Dennis EISENBEIS, and others have references about Charles.
1) Henri Eisenbeis "third part of an article wrote September 19, 1996 to be publishing in the"Saarheimat" a magazine of Neunkirchen area, ancestor's region of Charles Eisenbeis"
2) Topolnicki, Denise M. "Living Like a Robber Baron", Money Magazine, vacations section, pp 100-101 March 1985.
3) Unnamed source, "Port Townsend: Years That Are Gone".
4) Personal letter from Ray and Tiny (Eisenbeis?), "Profile or Charles Eisenbeis Sr." (but this makes a reference to the "'Port Townsend Leader', date unknown" as it's source of information.
5) Unnamed source, "Charles Eisenbeis House, -1892"
6) Unnamed source, "Assuming Metropolitan Airs"
7) Camfield, Tom "Port Townsend's History", http://www.olympus.net/placesOfInterest/portTownsend/history.html
8) Camfield, Tom "Monumental Excess In 'The Good Old Days'", http://www.olympus.net/placesOfInterest/portTownsend/hotel.html
9) Manresa Castle, http://www.olympus.net/biz/manresa/
10) Marriage listings for 1875, "San Francisco Call" Newpaper
11)Hines, Rev. H.K. "An Illustrated History of the State of Washington", D.D. Chicago: The Lewis Publinshing Company(pp 533-34)
12) The deliberation (E-27) of the Town council of Port Townsend,10 March 1902 about the dead of Charles
13) Hermanson, James, Lead Contributing Writer on news paper "The Port Townsend Jefferson County LEADER", the article "EISENBEIS WAS BUSIEST OF THE BIG FIVE" February 24 1993
14) Port Townsend Call, newspaper, October 4,1887 article "Satisfaction guaranteed in the BREWERY of Charles Eisenbeis !!!"
15) Prosch, Charles, "Reminiscences of Washington Territory", Seattle 1904 pp 7,8&9 The image of the Hotel Eisenbeis said the drawing came "From Port Townsend Illustrated"

 Tom Camfield   source

Ever-popular ghosts that have been dreamed up are headed by the so-called ghost of Manresa Castle, the former family home built by Charles Eisenbeis, who had a hand in everything from the local brewery to the Port Townsend Southern Railroad--and also built the Mt. Baker Block. The home and its later add-on was long occupied by Jesuit priests during my own younger years. There was no mention of a ghost (other than the Holy Ghost) on local lips until the premises became a commercial establishment, a restaurant and hotel.

And as I suggested in my most-recent blog, if the Eisenbeis family deserves a ghost, it should be Charles Eisenbeis Jr. wandering the premises of the present Undercity Café. Charles Jr. committed suicide in the basement of the Mt. Baker Block on Sept. 29, 1897, but to the best of my knowledge, his ghost has never become an object of speculation--probably only because relative newcomers and most everyone else know nothing about his life. The following is the edited part of the story I copied years ago from the Oct. 30, 1897, issue of The Morning Leader:

"Cold and still in death, a bullet wound behind his right ear, his right hand tightly touching a revolver, the body of Charles Eisenbeis Jr. was found at 9 o'clock last night, stretched out on the ground in the basement of the Mount Baker block . . . All day yesterday there was a quiet search being made by his friends for young Eisenbeis, for he had disappeared from the grocery store in which he has for several years past been a partner with his father . . . the two Eisenbeis blocks were searched throughout, every room being examined . . .

"Sheriff Hamilton and Henry Bayley discovered the body . . . the single bullet from the thirty-eight caliber revolver had done its work . . . The young man had carefully placed his hat on a block of wood, sat down alongside the block, placed the pistol behind his right ear and fell over dead as the bullet tore through his brain.

"Despondency is given as the cause of the rash act, by those who knew Charles Eisenbeis best. Judge J. A. Kuhn was not surprised to hear of the suicide, and had told the young man's father earlier in the evening that his son would be found dead before morning. Deceased was a member of the city council at the time of his death . . . He leaves a wife and a four year old daughter . . . he carried several thousand dollars in life insurance."

Some years earlier, in 1886, Charles Eisenbeis Jr. had been among advertisers in the Port Townsend Call, as a partner with Herbert L. Burkett in a firm listing "general merchandise, gents' furnishings, shipping and commission agents . . ." I seem to recall having read about the role of an overbearing father in his despondency. I imagine the general recession of 1893 that was a heavy blow to the entire community--especially his father, some of whose many enterprises eventually wound up in bankruptcy--also was a factor.

The other suicide of a prominent early citizen I mentioned in my last blog (and that apparently never has been reported anywhere since 1886 other than in my own book of history) was that of David Charles Henry Rothschild. He came to Port Townsend in 1858 and was engaged first in general merchandising, later in the shipping and commission business. He built the Rothschild family home that now is a Washington State park, in 1868.

I found the Rothschild suicide in an 1886 file of Port Townsend Call that is in my personal possession. The May 1 issue of that year reported: "Last Monday, the dead body of Mr. D. C. H. Rothschild, the prominent shipping merchant of this city, was found lying on the beach south of town, a few hundred yards below the Cliff House saloon. The body was first discovered by two Portuguese laborers on their way to the brickyard. They reported seeing a man on the beach, to Mr. Dickinson of the yard, who immediately started out to investigate the matter. His discovery was at once reported to city marshal Finn. A great commotion was at once created among the citizens. Coroner Wyckoff took charge of the corpse and it was removed to the Court House, where a jury was summoned and an inquest held. The jury found that deceased came to his death by a pistol shot wound inflicted by his own hand, while in a state of temporary insanity. The body was found face downward on the beach, an American Bulldog revolver underneath. The pistol had been placed against the right temple and the bullet passing through the brain came out on the left side an inch higher and passed through the hat. Death was instantaneous as no traces of suffering appeared on the features . . ."

Today's writing style would condense much of this story into something like "death was determined to have been the result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound." No ghost has been reported in the historic Rothschild home, undoubtedly partially due to the fact that historians passed over the family suicide.

An editorial in the same issue of the paper noted that the deceased "had been in ill health for months, being subject to fits of nervous depression and despondency. The family and intimate friends have kept strict vigil over him for some time past and while his death proved a great shock to all, it was not wholly unexpected to many." The courthouse mentioned above was at that time still in the building now occupied by the Leader newspaper. The Cliff House and brickyard mentioned also are described in my 2000 book of local history.

BETTER KNOWN IN LOCAL HISTORY, involving more mystery and consequently more worthy of a ghost, is another early businessman Israel Katz. On January 14, 1917, he left his home at Blaine and Tyler Sts.--without his watch, spectacles or coat--in the late afternoon or early evening and was never again seen. If anyone deserves his own ghost, it should be he--and I believe I've heard that speculated on occasion. However, an aunt and uncle of mine lived in the same house for quite a few years and encountered nothing supernatural. Israel may well have been another suicide, perhaps joining in the waters or Port Townsend Bay a brother Solomon who drowned in 1888 while boarding a ship near Point Hudson. Solomon was one of the founding partners of the waterfront business of Waterman & Katz, of which Israel was sole owner at the time of his disappearance.
Details on the Eisenbeises, the Rothschilds and Israel Katz--along with other suicides, murders and untimely deaths--will be found in my volumes of Port Townsend history, published in 2000 and 2002, and still readily available.
I myself will be eligible for ghosthood not too many years in the future, but I'm going with "do no resuscitate."
Eisenbeis Building
1003-1009 Water Street
West Half: Grocery and Provisions
1889: Two brick stories were added to the building. Schroder & Whiteway architects,
McFee carpenter work.
1903: New Eisenbeis Hotel with Mrs. Maynard leasing the hotel.
West Half: Grocery store becomes restaurant.
East Half: H.A. Wright leased storefront that was previously the Mint Saloon. 
1907: Rose Theater in one of the storefronts.
1911: Movie picture house (not the Rose).
1913: Unused theater converted into a “modern” storefront.
1916: Olympic Hardware.
1937: Remodeling for the Olympic Hardware Store to expand and add furniture to their
line of goods.
1942: Fire destroys much of the (now) Delmonico Hotel and apartments upstairs.
1956: Major “facelift” to building demolished the old bay windows.
1977: Paula and Albert Amel purchased the building and business.
2003: Albert Amel died and the family sold the property.
2007: New owners began major renovations to restore the bay windows and three store
fronts as well as add a mezzanine and condominiums on the upper floors.

Eisenbeis Stone Block
702 Water Street

Old Address 220 Water Street
O.T. Block 42 Lot: 1
Built 1884 by Charles Eisenbeis
1882: Cellar for the building was dug.
1884: Building still under construction as of July.
1884: By October Louis Wolff’s saloon occupied the building.
1911: Last of several saloons at this location closed.
1920: George Miskin’s Second Hand Store.
1930 -
1970: Plumbing Store.
1982: Puget Sound Power and Light Company.
1984: Earthenworks Gallery

Eisenbeis Cracker Factory
830 Water Street, behind 825 Washington Street
Behind 234 Taylor Street, Building at rear on its own lot (Originally 316 ½ Water Street in 1911) Block 41, Lot 8 (S 52’5)
Date of Construction: 1888 Architect/Builder: Unknown
Charles Eisenbeis, the first Mayor of Port Townsend was born in Prussia and trained as a baker. In his early days in Port Townsend he worked with both E. S. Fowler and J.F. Bloomberg in their bakeries before establishing himself as owner in his own business. He later worked with S. Stork in the bakery referred to as Eisenbeis and Stork. The bakery specialized in ship’s bread, biscuits and hardtack for ocean -going vessels.
The building known as the Cracker Factory was built behind the Eisenbeis Block and is hidden in the interior of the block, the only access is from an alley off of Washington Street.
1888: The 1888 Sanborn map shows the building but notes that the building was not yet finished. The building is significant as an example of a utilitarian commercial building from the town’s boom period of the late 1880s to early 1890s.
The building has been variously identified with addresses associated with Water, Taylor and Washington Streets, each time as behind a primary building fronting on one of these streets.
Historically, its association was to the Eisenbeis Block at 830 Water Street, but it is now on its own parcel. For most of its history, the building served as storage for the furniture and hardware store in the Eisenbeis Block

Eisenbeis Wood Building
(Common Names: U.S. Customs House, Lighthouse Café)
955 Water Street Old Address: 339 - 341 Water Street
O.T. Block 9, Lots 7 & 8  Date of construction: 1878 Builder: Charles Eisenbeis By the last half of 1878 Charles Eisenbeis had completed the two story wood structure. December 1878: The U.S. Customs House was moved to this location, their previous site being advertised for rent.
1885: With the Customs House still at this location, the east side of the building was leased to Noland and Zen, a dry goods store.
1885: The upstairs portion of the building was being used as a boarding house.
1890: The Commercial Hotel replaced the U.S. Customs House and boarding house accommodations. The Axtell Saloon was operating on Water Street frontage as well.
1907: John Mehling moved his tailor shop to the building and also sold tobacco. A restaurant was being operated in the east half of the building.
1912: Peter Erickson was operating a shoe and harness repair shop next to Mehlings Tailor Shop.
1915: Mehlings had been replaced by a restaurant.
1930s: The Coffee Cup Café was operating at this location.
1940s: The building housed the Italian Café and Hampden Brown’s Electric Shop.
1968: The Lighthouse Café has been operating at this location since 1968.

Legends about Manresa Castle include two ghosts who have taken up residence. One is that of a priest who hung himself in the left tower after committing a cardinal sin and then making his peace with God. The second is the ghost of a young woman who leaped to her death from a third storey window after her lover failed to meet her. While odd things have occurred, such as doors opening or closing, or lights turning on and off, the stories of these two ghosts are false, made up to amuse tourists by a bartender who once worked at the castle.

Restoration of the Eisenbeis Castle
The owners of the hotel have returned it to its former Victorian glory, the final renovations being completed in March 2005. The 43 bathrooms that exist today owe their thanks to the making of the movie, “An Officer and a Gentleman.” The crews’ contracts specified that each person would have a room with its own bathroom, and when they ran out of rooms at other hotels, the studio cut a deal with Manresa Castle and arranged for them to be built
Paramount Pictures begins filming An Officer and a Gentleman in Port Townsend in April 1981  source 
An Officer and a Gentleman a young man must complete his work at a Navy Flight school to become an aviator, with the help of a tough gunnery sergeant and his new girlfriend.


Ghost stories from the Pacific NorthwestMargaret Read MacDonald  
From Spiesermühle to Port Townsend, Washington  
Port Townsend: Vault stone falls, unviels mystery...  internet archive

FInd a Grave Charles EISENBEIS 
Find all Eisenbeises in:
 • Laurel Grove Cemetery
 • Port Townsend
 • Jefferson County
 • Washington