The Glotz House (1765, 45 Main Street)


The first tobacconist in Lititz was Albrecht Glotz (1714-1789). In 1765 he built his log house and shop. It is believed to be the first house in the village that was painted red. The Indian taught the settlers where to secure “Vermillion” and then to this was added buttermilk which gave a very serviceable paint.

Glotz’s daughter Benigna married Gottlieb Eichler (1758-1821) and they became the next owners of the house, continuing the tobacco business. Gottlieb was married three times and had five children.

Jacob C. Sturgis (1808-1873) who was married to Mary Ann Cassler next took over the house and used the shop to take care of his large family. There were five sons and two daughters. He was in the pottery business with his family. The business was across the street – far enough away from the houses as not to be a fire hazard. For many years he was a sexton in the church and was a trombonist.

Edward S. Sturgis (1829-1889) replaced the old house with the present Sturgis House. He was a civil war veteran and for many years this hotel was a popular stopping place. They advertised it as “Away from the noise and hum of business, with nicely furnished rooms and with a splendid cuisine.”

Half of this old Tobacco Shop is now at 500 East Main Street and in 2009 the building was a private residence.

[The following two articles are the rest of the story about the Glotz Tobacco Shop.]

First Article: Tobacco Shop Situated On Site of Sturgis House

On the site of the present Sturgis House was the log house of Albert Glotz (1714-1789) with his tobacco shop. Now there would be new odors in the neighborhood. Just how attar of roses and jasmine would blend with the smells of Geitner’s tannery next door can be left to the imagination.

This first tobacconist in the Warwick area was welcomed by the smokers and sniffers of the weed, which included most men and a few elderly women. Cigar making was simply a refinement of the age-old Indian custom, but chewing tobacco was a great favorite and it was a common practice to pass this toothsome delicacy around among friends and invite them to “take a chaw.” No house was complete without several cuspidors in addition to the fireplace or coal hod.

Plug tobacco was made by first removing the stems and then adding either licorice or sugar before pressing. Loose pipe tobacco and chewing tobacco were simply put into bags for sale. It was snuff that required the know-how and the master’s touch.

Polite society in the early Colonial period used snuff much in the same way that cigarettes are used today. Silver and gold snuff boxes, some jeweled, made their appearance whenever friends met with the invitation to partake of their particular brand. Some would be flavored with cloves, lavender, jasmine, attar of roses, or anything the tobacconist might dream up. The snuff user would sniff it, rub it on his gums or chew it – a practice that exists in a small way to this day. That it was harmful to his nerves and ruined his sense of smell did nothing to cause him to quit the habit.

It took up to twenty months time to manufacture snuff and bring it to a point of perfection. The dried tobacco leaves and stems were ground to a powder and then they went through a repeated process of fermentation. The finished product was then scented and packaged and offered for sale, the price about fifty cents a “bottle.” Just how the customer could decide on which delicate scent he preferred with that indescribable odor from the tannery next door is hard to conceive. Probably this is why Geitner was forced to move his establishment down by the Creek.

Jacob Sturgis (1808-1873), potter, lived here for many years and it was his son, Edward, who replaced the log house with the present Sturgis House. He was a veteran of the Civil War and for many years this hotel was a popular stopping place. They advertised it as “Away from the noise and hum of business, with nicely furnished rooms and with a splendid cuisine.”

Second Article [Rest of the story about the Glotz Tobacco Shop] Standing At 500 E. Main Old Tobacco Shop Still

When the Sturgis House was built at 45 Main Street a century ago, the log house of Albert Glotz, first tobacconist in Lititz was not demolished. A call from Mrs. Harry Bender brought to light what was known to only a few that this house was sawed in half and became two separate homes.

The west portion of this home was rolled up the alley to Orange Street and is well remembered by old-timers before it was removed to make room for the school playground. (In 2009 the new elementary school covered the site.)

The tobacco shop was moved to 500 Main Street and in 1967 was the home of Mrs. Ethel Ehrhart. It was moved, intact, by horse power and a number of wooden rollers.

It is doubtful if a more fitting site could have been found for this two-century old historic house. (Next to the Revolutionary Soldier’s Graves Monument). It is hoped that it might become part of the memorial plot some day for there can be little doubt but that this old shop was patronized by the wounded soldiers convalescing here in 1778. One of the very few comforts they knew was pipe tobacco and a “seegar” when they could afford it.

The outside of this building had seen little change and Mrs. Ehrhart was proud of the fact that all the original window panes are still intact. Even the rear door was the original and some of the foot-wide original weatherboarding was still intact. The foundation of this house is practically solid limestone and there was not the slightest sign of deterioration.

Long range plans to restore this tobacco shop to its original state might be one of the first steps toward preserving some of the historic spots in Rome. Dr. Richard Bender, an authority on the history of this community which preceded Lititz, was the descendant of John Bender. In 1757 the Church (Moravian) bought the old saw mill along the creek from John Bender and built a large grist mill. It is believed that part of this mill is still intact and that it should be preserved. The carding mill, the old distillery, the Hess spring house and now, the old tobacco shop are a few of the points of interest in Old Rome worth preserving.


Table of Contents