The Fleischmann House

Peekskill, NY
Photograph of the Fleischmann House
Photograph of the Fleischmann House
National Register of Historic Places #SG100006769 
Location: Peekskill, NY (private residence) 
Year built:  1927
Architect:  Chester A. Patterson (Patterson & Willcox)
Architectural style:  Colonial Revival
Original owners:  Gustav & Marion Fleischmann (1927 - 1953) 
Current owners:  Michael Stewart & John Perrone (2013 - present)

The historic residence known as the Fleischmann House in Peekskill, NY was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 30, 2021. The house was designed by architect Chester Patterson for Gustav and Marion Fleischmann in 1927. Mr. Patterson was a nationally known architect whose style was tied to the Colonial Revival movement. A number of his other designs have been entered into the National Register of Historic Places, including Soundview Manor in New York, renovations of the Van der Veer - Harris House in New Jersey, the Venezuelan Ambassador’s Residence in Washington, D.C., and the Blandford estate house in Florida. His work and designs were often included in publications such as Architectural Record, Architectural Forum, The Architect, House & Garden, Country Life, and many national newspapers.

Gustav Fleischmann, Jr. served as Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Fleischmann Company’s sprawling manufacturing plant in Peekskill from 1920 to 1953. As an engine that drove the local economy from 1900 to 1977, the company produced much of the nation’s yeast, gin, vodka, whiskey, vinegar, malt, and baking powder. The Peekskill plant consisted of 125 buildings spread across 65 acres on the shores of the Hudson River, and employed thousands of area residents in a wide range of professions.

The company’s workforce made the “Fleischmann's” brand a household name across the United States, not only through a variety of products, but through advertising techniques that were innovative for the time. The company also sponsored a pioneering musical variety show broadcast on NBC radio from 1929 to 1939, known as “The Fleischmann Hour” (aka “The Rudy Vallée Hour”).

In the early 1940s, the Fleischmann Company’s laboratories developed a groundbreaking dry packaged yeast that transformed home and commercial baking. Unlike traditional blocks of compressed moist yeast cakes that had to be chilled, the new powdered dry yeast could be packaged in smaller foil envelopes without the need for refrigeration. This meant that it had a long shelf life and could be transported long distances cheaply and easily. The U.S. Army and Navy were so impressed with it that they gave the employees of the Peekskill plant five awards of excellence for distinguished service on the production front during World War II.

By the end of the war, Gustav Fleischmann’s leadership position within the family enterprise was promoted to First Vice President of Standard Brands, of which the Fleischmann Companies had become one of the largest divisions. He retired in 1953 after 50 years in the industry, and was feted at a retirement dinner at Peekskill’s armory which was attended by 420 friends, colleagues, and civic leaders.

Twenty-three years after his retirement, Gus Fleischmann died in 1976, and was buried in Hillside Cemetery alongside his wife, Marion. A year later, the Fleischmann Company moved its Peekskill operations to Baltimore, Maryland. The Peekskill plant’s numerous buildings were subsequently razed, but the Fleischmann House serves as a visible reminder of the role the Fleischmann family played in Peekskill’s history.

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