Forgotten Chicagoans: F. J. Dewes

Atop the building at 319 W. North Avenue in Old Town reads the name “F.J. DEWES.”

The building was once home to the F. J. Dewes Brewing Company. Owned by Francis J. Dewes, the company lasted fifteen years under this name, opening in 1882 and changing to City Brewing Company in 1898 and Standard Brewery soon after. They were originally located at Chicago and Hoyne in West Town.

Francis J. Dewes emigrated from Prussia (Germany) in 1868 and built a fortune, first working as a bookkeeper for other breweries before establishing his own. His mansion, built in 1896, still stands at 503 W. Wrightwood and was designated a Chicago Landmark in 1974. It is also on the National Register of Historic Places. Dewes died in 1922, leaving behind an estate worth over $1 million.

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