Remembering Ziegler’s Cafe


On my walk about town, I strolled into 89 Partition Street, home of the store Dig, a portion of which was formerly Café Tamayo, and remembered from my younger days as Broomie’s. Inside, I see the old bar, the old ceiling fans.

I remember back Jimi Rowland, Stevie Atwood and others jamming in the back on the old bowling alley floors in the late 1960s. I remember hanging out on the adjoining green next to the alley (long before the “new” stonework) with those gone but not forgotten: Sherry Pulcastro, Joel LeGoff, Moe Mike Flannary, Eddie Borgen, Vinny Gary Voerg, Larry Swingle, Billy McCaffrey, Bernie Rice.

The memories and the enchantment of the interior, probably one of the few buildings in the village that still has so much of the original intact, led me to explore the story of this building.


I found a Freeman article from 1874, taken from “Brink’s Early History,” “where Zeigler’s building stands on Partition Street there lived a family by the name of McFarlane,” of whom mention of was found in the 1820 census. On the 1825 map I found Orange Webster in that location on both the 1827 and 1850 maps and Mrs. Ziegler on the 1875 version.

In a tax-sale article from 1954 (Ernest Mazzuca, Modern Dress Factory) I read “… to the lands of Orange Webster, now William and Caroline Ziegler”; with a right of way forever of ingress “…  an alley or road ten feet in width, said alley or road having been used in connection with said premises since 1850.”


And then this! :

Interesting Facts Concerning Ziegler’s Café at Saugerties

by the Freeman’s Mysterious Mr Fox

March 20, 1912

“Probably Ziegler’s is the oldest business establishment in Saugerties,” said a merchant of that village. “I dare say the oldest in the county. It’s run very much like a club and unlike the ordinary café.” … a wholesome Bohemian atmosphere with the freedom of a club … he (Ziegler) considers them as guests. That’s his hobby.

“No regular meals are furnished as in a restaurant. The dark green bow front with French plate beveled glass and the richly grained vestibule with brightly polished brass fittings, tile floor and marble sill is that of a club. The perspective inside, opening through a suite of apartments separated with arches make you think of a club. Through the cafe, the lunch room with open booths having annunciators, the room beyond the corresponding to a club parlor you look into the bowling alley, four of them with highly polished hard maple floors and the latest apparatus, occupying an extension built for them of the best material and workmanship.

“The bar and bar cabinet with its fluted columns and beveled mirrors are made of hand-carved black walnut, always kept spotless. The walls and ceilings are covered with oil-decorated canvas, the surface of which is mounded into dashes and curlicues which with the body color shades gives the effect of highly finished burnt leather, with crescent and circular panels displaying colored decorations. The concrete cellar finished substantially, never was short on the best of wines, liquors and beers. The kitchen with all modern improvements is not the least interesting part of this establishment … is in well- deserved repute for squabs and lobsters.

“Since Louis Ziegler started the business in 1864 it has had no interruption. Forty-eight years in the family, father succeeded by son, is a record rarely equaled.”

William Ziegler was born in New York about 1858. His parents, both born in Germany, were Lewis, or Louis (1803-1871), and (Caroline 1822-1877). They had four other children: Caroline; Louisa, who married Wm G. Morgan; Emma, who married Charles O’Hara; and Lewis, who married Sarah C. Myers. I find them in Saugerties beginning with the 1870 census. When looking in newspapers, the name is also spelled Zeigler.

William married Jennie York. They had five children: William, Louise, Caroline Blanche, Jane, and Marjorie.

He was a trustee of the village and mayor.

William added the bowling alley in 1909, and in 1912 a gold-lined silver loving cup was displayed in his windows, presented by Martin Cantine to be given to the individual high score bowler of that summer.

In 1916 William Hildebrandt took charge of Ziegler’s bowling alley, with matches held daily, with Charles Ribsaman winning the gentleman’s high score and Miss Anna Lewis the ladies.

In 1915 William bought the home of Colonel H.D. Laflin on West Bridge Street.  and had it wired for electricity by a Mr. Mills. The property was sold in 1955 for the Empire Supermarket and an expected 150-car parking lot.

(I wonder if the Carriage House on West Bridge actually belonged to this property back in the day. Its architecture is so very different from the brick house.)

In 1918, William and Jennie and his sister Caroline sold Ziegler’s to Charles Mulford, of the ice fame Mulfords.

William died in 1923, after being sick with the grip for about two weeks. He left a life estate to Jennie, a home for his sister Caroline Blanche, legacies to his nephews, and the remainder to his children. Byron L. Davis was the attorney.


Chronolgical tidbits from Ziegler to Broome:

1873 – John Tuman and Wm McNertney complete a blue stone horse block for Charles O’Hara, Lewis’s son-in-law, intends to present it to George Rothmann in New York City. On exhibition at Zeigler’s.

1878 –  … One Taffinder, a cutter in the employ of Brush the tailor, having been down to light the gas that night, coming down alleyway near Ziegler’s, was grossly insulted by a young man named Hanley … a more disgraceful affair has not occurred in Saugerties in many a day.

1878 –  Zeigler Brothers deserving of great credit for providing refreshments to 500 on the barge Sarah Smith, in tow of tugs S.O. Pierce and Sammy Cornell, during excursion to the Albany regatta.


1879 – Zeigler Brothers served the dinner at Ulster Lodge No. 193 lodge rooms, one of the most fashionable and brilliant assemblages ever seen. The supper was served in the billiard room on the second floor and was highly creditable to them.

1880 – Wm J. Curley bit off the right ear of Lewis Zeigler Jr., one year in pen.

1880 – F.W. Pultz, street commissioner, straightened Partition St., from J.C. Davis’s boot and shoe store to near buildings of Phillip Mathis. The walks will be so narrow in front of Mrs. M. Clark’s hotel that the stoops will have to be removed, and shade trees in front of Ziegler Brothers will meet the same fate.

1881 – Town Board of Excise licenses: Hotels – Jacob Kauffman, Louis Yerger, Louis Zeigler, Bridget Clark, Peter Martin, Mary Dixon, Peter Curley; Beer – Gustave Peters, Louis Tacke, Stephen McKown, Mrs M. Loerzel; Stores – TB Cornwell and VanNattan & Brown.

1881 – The Zeigler Brothers had the iron supports to the piazza in front of their saloon and residence removed, and replaced with iron brackets. The iron posts had been an obstruction to pedestrians.

1881 – Zeigler Brothers had a 22’ x 26’ building built in the rear for beer-bottling. They received 2000 new bottles for bottling Rochester lager sold by them. They had a large wagon built for delivery, painted and lettered in gold by Frank A. Yerger, deserving credit for his taste, which shows what can be done in Saugerties.

1888 – Zeigler Brothers added two billiard tables.

1888 – A six-foot water snake, killed near Garry Gardner’s, displayed at Zeigler’s.

1910 – A shad dinner at Ziegler’s was provided to the winners of the K of C’s whist tournament by the losers.

1911 – Officer Kistner visited the hobo camp north of the West Shore station and found three suspected of breaking into Hennegan House and attempting to break into Ziegler’s. They were ordered out of town as undesirables.

1916-17 – Sold to Charles Mulford. Mulford’s Tavern, Grill, Café, Alleys.

1917 – Mount Horab Royal Arch of Masons dinner at Mulford’s.

1917 – Theodore Eckhoff resigned and will be in charge of the bar room at Maxwell House.

1921 – Mulford’s charged with violation of Mullan-Gage law, dismissed, attorney Wm D. Brinnier Sr. and Grant M. Brinnier.

1924 – Liquor seized of Charles L. Mulford; also William Woerner and Joseph Crotty in Veteran.

1925 – Bowling alleys converted to Banquet Hall. R.A. Snyder Hose annual pig roast held. Elks plan having own social club at Mulford’s.

1926 – Ladies Aux. of the Knights of St. John banquet at Mulford’s, Montano Brothers orchestra; T B Cornwall Hose annual banquet; Esopus Tribe of Redman supper.

1927 – Fire damages part of Mulford’s Grill.

1928 – Music of a new orchestra every Saturday night at Mulford’s.

1928 – Local federal agents raid Mulford’s Grill; Golden Bowl, James Morgan, and Joseph Mintz; Sinnott Restaurant, Frank Sinnott.

1929 – Jennie, William Ziegler’s widow, purchased a new Ford sedan from the local agency.

1929 – Charles Leslie Mulford dies of pleurisy.

1930 – Frank Stone of Mulford’s arrested for two half barrels of beer.

1930 – Restaurant reopened in October, with an indoor golf course.

1932 – Saugerties Grill, gentlemen 50 cents ladies 25 cents, music by Joe Montana and the Saugerties Grill Broadcasters.

1932 – One-year padlock at 89 Partition, Harry Desmond proprietor, Mrs. Sarah Thornton, owner.

1934 – Little Dutch Inn, Steve Jones and his Harlem Hot-Tots music.

1935 – Wm R. Bienn, Phoenix Hotel, 89 Partition, Harry T Black and his six rhythm artists, serving Fitzgerald’s beer and ale. 1937 Wm. Bienn conducting Phoenicia hotel.

1938 – Robert Thornton takes over Phoenix Hotel from Albert Buhl, who goes to the Woodbine in Palenville.

1938 – Lynch and Jack, local contractors, removing barns in rear of Thornton’s, public parking will be made when alterations are completed.

(and in 1959 at Saugerties Chamber of Commerce meeting, S Berzal & Co. offers for sale two parcels of land, one behind the Exchange, one behind Broome’s. Myron Banks said the matter is being studied by the parking committee.)

1941 – Thornton’s Grill has been taken over by George Clearwater, formerly with the Hannay Club Diner. Clearwater succeeds Rudolph Oehri, who returned to the Alpine House at DeWitt Lake. (In 1947 George accepted position at Saugerties Diner as counter man.)

1941 – Deanie Elwyn and George Broome have purchased the interest of George Clearwater of Thornton Grill. Mr. Elwyn is the owner of the Brass Rail and Tinker Street Trolley diner.