John Blasius (1843-1900) and Wolfgang (1836-1899) Schmidt were born in Bavaria, Germany. They emigrated with their parents Fredrick and Catherine Schmidt in 1847 and later traveled by covered wagon from Cincinnati to Clayton Center, Iowa. In 1865 they purchased property in Elkader from Louis and Francis Davis. Louis Davis was the son of Timothy Davis, one of the founders of Elkader. The five acre property was acquired for the purpose of building a brewery and a home for both families.
The brewery was built in 1866 and contained temporary living quarters until the large duplex was completed the following year. One or two of the children were born in the brewery. Making beer proved to be a thriving business until 1886 when the first state prohibition law went into effect. The two stone caves cut into the bluff behind the brewery remained long after the brewery was torn down in 1941. The caves became unsafe and were collapsed in 1965.
John Blasius had eleven children, six of whom grew to adulthood. The other five either died in infancy or later succumbed to diphtheria. Wolfgang had eleven children and ten reached adulthood. The duplex had a common kitchen and dining room with bedrooms and sitting rooms on both the first and second floors. The residence remained in the Schmidt family from 1867 to 1975. Elizabeth Bandow, the granddaughter of John Blasius, made four apartments out of the duplex in 1961. The exterior walls as well as the center wall are twelve inches of solid brick. The original shutters are still on the house. The porch has been replaced but otherwise it looks very much as it did in 1867. (taken from "Old Elkader Facts and Food")