Louis Joseph Wintermantel

Louis Joseph Wintermantel arrived in Coloma circa 1848 from Donaueschingen, Baden, Germany. On 26 Mar 1853, he married Rosa A. Au, also from Donaueschingen, in San Francisco. They had seven children, all born in Coloma, Cecelia (died at age 9); Emilia born 1855, died 1857; Mary, born 1856; Rose, born 1859; Josephine Elizabeth Margaret (my grandmother), born 19 Mar 1862; Julia Cora, born 1864; and Louis Joseph, born 30 Jun 1866.

Louis Wintermantel and his wife Rosa were among Coloma's most prominent pioneer citizens from early 1850 to 1867, when they moved to Truckee where they continued in the hotel business. Rosa was the sister of Herman Au, who was the Coloma civil engineer who created the first map of Coloma in 1857 (Said to hang on the wall of the California Room of the State Library in Sacramento). Rosa's sister, Julia Au, married Charles J. Johnson, a Coloma pioneer who is mentioned later, and they were the parents of George Johnson, who has written extensively about Coloma and the Gold Rush days. (His manuscripts are said to be in the California State Library).

Wintermantel first operated the original Miner's Hotel. There were two streets running from the toll house corner, North Main St., and the Sutters Mill Street. Between the two streets where the Community Hall later stood, was Wintermantel's original hotel. This was one of Coloma's major hotels through the 1850s, and one of the few that can be dated to 1849. The structure was first called Roger's Hotel, and construction of it started probably in the fall of 1849. William Rogers acquired the property in May 1850, but apparently had some problems with the business. Part of the property was sold to a L. H. McKinny in July, and a year later, after a lien was filed against the hotel, McKinny appears as sole owner. By 1852, Louis Wintermantel became the hotel's owner, and he named it the Miner's Hotel. This was the "original" Miner's Hotel, not to be confused with the hostelry by the same name Wintermantel built in 1860 on the site of the old Winter's Hotel. What ultimately happened to the original Miner's Hotel is not known.

He later also operated The Winter's Hotel, which was one of the first hotels in Coloma. It was torn down about 1861-1862, and a second Miner's Hotel was built in its place near the Berkeart building for Louis Wintermantel by James W. Marshall (who was working as a carpenter at Sutter's Mill in Coloma when gold was discovered) and Charles J. Johnson, another Coloma pioneer and husband of Julia AU. These two men did considerable carpenter work together in and about Coloma. Above the hotel were Joe Lewis' Store, and Brace's Saloon, and a barber shop in the 1860s. All were torn down and the lots mined out. About the last to go was Wintermantel's Hotel, which was torn down by Chalmers in 1877, and the lot was mined out by a gang of chinamen.

The El Dorado Brewery was founded by Louis Wintermantel in 1853-1854, at about the same time Chris Mosener started the Coloma Brewery. Louis' brother Tony, Henry Wagner, Andy Lesticus were among the brewers. After Louis left Coloma about 1868, Tony ran a saloon in the building, which stood directly back of what later became Monroe's Smithshop. On that corner previously, was M. Fleming's house, and later Henry Day's Harness Shop. Of their brewery, owners Louis and Anthony Wintermantel, doing business as Wintermantel & Bro., proudly proclaimed in their ads "We the undersigned, having completed one of the finest cellars in the state, are now prepared to furnish better Lager than has heretofore been made in this place. Satisfaction guaranteed." Their competition was the Coloma Brewery right next door, owned by George Nuss & Co. All signs of the brewery ruins and of Brewery Street are gone now, but in the 1850s & 1860s, this large area, behind the Bell Store and running down to the river, was a busy and important part of Coloma.

Submitted by Neil E. Barber

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