©2008 Historic Downtown Association-St. Charles
1863, W. Henry Maertens
Maerten Tobacco & Cigar Factory
After emigrating from Germany in 1846, W. Henry Maertens learned the tobacco trade and settled into business dealing in the 'leaf'. Maertens built this building and conducted his business "Maerten's Tobacco & Cigar Factory" here until 1902. When W. Henry Maertens built this building, he paid his neighbor, John Platz, half of the cost of his north wall in exchange for permission to build his building "using said wall as Maerten's south wall". He served as a public figure until "He was ushered out of the office by political skullduggery more successful than righteous."
Seventeen million pounds of tobacco were grown in Missouri in 1850, nearly matching production in Tennessee and Maryland. Along with cigars for smoking, manufactured (chewing) tobacco was available. Made up in two forms, chewing tobacco was formed into "plugs" or "twists" and soaked with spices, oils, sugar and rum for the discriminating palate.