The brewery was originally located on Lincoln Street close to Third (California Avenue and Park Blvd.) but was soon moved to the corner of Lincoln and Second Streets which is now California Avenue and Birch Street. 1,2
Some tax records suggest Kleinclaus may have been brewing and selling beer in Howland Flat (Gold Country) for 5 years before coming to Mayfield.
Another Mayfield Brewery operated around 1870 on Main street (now El Camino) by Alexander Minch from Switzerland.* Perhaps soon after Minch's brewery closed whoever owned the brewery dropped Railroad from the name.
Stanford also approached Menlo Park about going dry and was politely turned down there too. So, Stanford had his friend Timothy Hopkins create a new town. Palo Alto formed where downtown Palo Alto is today (actually, it was first called University Park but later Palo Alto after Leland strong-armed the developers of College Terrace to give up the name). All parcels sold in Palo Alto had strict covenants in the property deeds against serving, selling, or manufacturing alcohol. Leland Stanford got his dry university town.
But, Stanford students, as you might have guessed, made their way to Mayfield and its saloons, much to the consternation of the university officials. In their frustration, the university went so far as to close the "West Gate" on the main road from campus to Mayfield to discourage the students (I'm not sure what road or where this gate would have been--- the roads from the university towards California avenue have changed a lot over the years). This further cut off Mayfield from trade with the University. Mayfield's reputation continued to deteriorate and most professors and university staff built their homes and did all their shopping in Palo Alto.
As Palo Alto prospered and Mayfield floundered, more residents were beginning to believe that it was a mistake not going dry as Stanford requested. The debate went on for years. In 1903, the town of Mayfield incorporated, probably just to address this issue. The idea gained momentum but the town's new board of trustees had at least one person opposed to going dry: Christopher Ducker, proprietor of the Mayfield Brewery.
In 1904, the board of trustees of Mayfield voted to become a dry town. Ducker was the lone dissenting vote. The new ordinance was to take effect Jan 1st, 1905. (The board was emboldened by a similar ordinance in Pasadena, CA, which had just been upheld in the state supreme court.) On Jan 1st, the saloons defied the order and opened. It was not until the next day that the ordinance was enforced with vigor. When the arrested saloon operators were brought before a preliminary hearing, Ducker taunted the board of trustees saying "Why don't you arrest me?" That probably ticked off the other trustees and didn't help his cause a few weeks later when the board debated the issue of whether to grant Ducker a wholesale license to continue brewing beer.4 The license narrowly passed with a tie vote broken by the President of the board of trustees. The board reconsidered a few days later and threatened to take away the license but they put off the action.5 The Mayfield Brewery survived (just barely).
On a side note, Mrs. Alexander Peers later contended (in an interview in 1928) that Mayfield's rowdy reputation was undeserved and probably exaggerated by real estate agents at the time trying to sell lots in newly formed Palo Alto. She also said the town was peaceful before the "roughneck" students arrived.
Klevesahl ran the brewery with his son Carl (brewer) and Ernest Jr. (bookkeeper). Klevesahl ran the brewery until it closed due to Prohibition sometime just before 1920.
It's unclear exactly when the brewery ceased operations. It does not appear in the 1918-1919 City Directory.
This was the first advertisement for Mayfield beer that I found. It was painted on a movie theater curtain in 1906. The ad is in the upper right. At one time it hung on a wall of a downtown Palo Alto bank. I'm now told it is in storage with no plans for it.
I found these two ads on the same page in the Mayfield Enterprise:
First ad: Mayfield Brewery, Corner of Main and Grand [sic] , Mayfield. A. Minch Proprietor. Wholesale and retail dealer in The Choicest Wines, Liquors and Cigars. Also, the famous Mayfield LAGER BEER.
Second ad: The Mayfield Railroad Brewery. Lincoln Street, Mayfield. Lager Beer. At wholesale and Retail. Fresh yeast always on hand.
Mayfield Enterprise, March 12, 1870.
Mayfield Enterprise, November 25, 1870.
Kleinclaus, of the Railroad Brewery, is selling lager at $1.25 a keg (five gallons). Send for a keg: it is "handy to have in the house" this warm weather.
Couldn't agree more.
Mayfield Enterprise, April 16, 1870.
Before the brewery, Christopher Ducker ran a saloon with his brother Henry.
Mayfield Enterprise, March 26, 1870.
The brewery was established in 1868 and has been under the same proprietorship since 1871. The building at the corner of Lincoln and Second streets is supplied with every appliance for making beer and has commodious storage cellars. The firm run wagons through the surrounding country and supply all of the saloon and family trade about Mayfield.
(A couple paragraphs in a San Jose Daily Mercury News cover article about Mayfield describe the brewery. Mayfield, the Charming University Town, San Jose Daily Mercury News, Jan 1, 1892.)
Mayfield is a "dry town" by choice and by state law, but this does not affect the business of The Mayfield Brewery which with two modern auto trucks delivers its manufactured product to Woodside, Portola, Redwood City, San Mateo, and South San Francisco.
(Caption from a special issue of the San Jose Municipal Record in 1915.)