Chicago House. Fritz Scheel, Proprietor ... Galveston, Tex.

German immigrants to Texas get a better deal

Biingual, this 19th-century Texas trade card solicited German-speaking immigrants to stay at the Chicago House. The Chicago House was a hotel in Galveston, Texas. Emigrants could lodge there for $1 per day.

The Chicago House hotel offered “Boarding & Lodging, per Week, $7 ; per Day $1 50” and was managed by Fritz Scheel, proprietor.

The trade card’s German-language text offered German-speaking immigrants to Texas a better daily rate:

Das deutsche Kosthaus von Fritz Scheel liegt nabe Landung, und ist besonders zur Bequemlichkeit der Einwanderer eingerichtet. Emigranten 1 Dollar per Tag. [Approximate translation: The German Boarding House of Fritz Scheel is a central hub, and is particularly adapted for the convenience of immigrants. Emigrants $ 1 per day.]

Post Civil-War America, Galveston was a main center of immigration into Texas:

After the Civil War ended, ships loaded with German immigrants once again unloaded at the Galveston wharves. From 1865 to the early 1890s, more Germans arrived in Texas than during the thirty years before the war. The number probably reached 40,000. Many of them settled in the rural areas and towns of the German Belt [from Galveston to Hondo]. ... By the 1890s sizable German elements had appeared in Texas cities, particularly in San Antonio, Galveston, and Houston.¹

The discounted rate for immigrants removing to—or perhaps traveling through—Galveston, Texas suggests the Chicago House proprietor, Fritz Scheel, had himself once been a newly-minted émigré to Texas. Perhaps Scheel felt empathy for others ex-pats navigating the cultural divide.

A rare Texas trade card from the nineteenth century, referencing German immigration to Texas. According to The Galveston Daily News, Scheel died in June, 1878 and we date this trade to c. the 1870s based on this fact and its typography.

Description: Chicago House. Fritz Scheel, Proprietor ... Galveston, Tex.

[Galveston, Texas, pre-1878]. [1]p. Trade Card. 2¼ x 3½ inches. Cream-colored card stock. Printed in English and German. Near fine.


1. HOTO.

Price: $75.00

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