The Frederick Stegmaier Mansion
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Mansion History

As owners and operators of the Stegmaier Brewery in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the Stegmaier name was well known both in America and abroad.

In 1857, Charles Stegamier began brewing Stegmaier Beer and by 1913, the beer had won so many gold medals in Paris, Brussels and Rome that it came to be called Stegmaier “Gold Medal” Beer. Interestingly enough, Stegmaier Beer is still being brewed to this day at the Lion Brewery right here in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

However, the historic significance of the Mansion actually begins thirty-six years prior to Frederick J. Stegmaier’s ownership when it was constructed by a locally renowned architect and builder by the name of Missouria B. Houpt sometime around 1870. Mr. Houpt’s recognition as an architect went beyond Pennsylvania’s borders and into New York City where he studied architecture. During this period, he became acquainted with Bruce Price, whose daughter was Emily Post.

Mr. Price himself was a rather famous architect of Victorian America being responsible for such important accomplishments as Tuxedo Park. As a matter of fact, Missouria Houpt and Bruce Price worked together on many of Wilkes-Barre’s finest buildings, one being the property which is the subject of this narrative, and another being the Colonel Ricketts Mansion which is currently owned by Wilkes University and is also on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the River Street Historic District of Luzerne County.

As for the actual architecture of the The Stegmaier Mansion itself, it is a fine example of High Victorian exuberance which was so popular in America during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and is a vernacular interpretation of the French Chateau style with Gothic Revival and Aesthetic Movement features throughout.

On February 20, 1899, the Mansion was purchased from Missouria Houpt by his long time friend Abram Nesbitt, whose name is well known and interwoven with the commercial, charitable and educational institutions of the Wyoming Valley during the period of its most striking growth in population, resources and development. The property was owned by Mr. Nesbitt for a brief period totaling not quite seven years.

Then, in January 1906, the Mansion was purchased by Frederick J. Stegmaier (at left) and it remained in the Stegmaier family until the late 1940’s. The Stegmaier family owned and operated the Stegmaier Brewery in Wilkes-Barre and made very significant contributions to Wilkes-Barre’s fascinating history. A 1906 publication, “Genealogical and Family History of the Wyoming and Lackawanna Valleys” describes the Stegmaier family as “…among the highly esteemed citizens of the City of Wilkes-Barre, have contributed largely towards its growth and development, and are staunch supporters of every worthwhile enterprise. They are extremely charitable, and in all their benevolences follow out the golden rule: “Let not thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth”. More than one hundred years later, the Stegmaier name remains one of the most historically recognized in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Mansion owner Joseph Matteo acquired the Mansion in 2001 and has worked to restore it to its former opulence. Commenting on his work on the Mansion, Matteo explained, “The vision I had for the Mansion was to achieve the look and feel as if the Stegmaiers could walk through the door at any moment. I set out to create a treasure that all of Wilkes-Barre could be proud of. My dream is for the Stegmaier Mansion to be a part of the legacy of the City that will live on forever."
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304 South Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
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