Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Elijah Craig Served the Lord — and Liquor

Although some authors credit Elijah Craig as the “Father of Bourbon,” others have challenged that designation declaring that while Craig was an early Kentucky distiller it is unlikely that he was making bourbon whiskey.  For me, Craig’s place in history is not about whiskey but about his championing of religious freedom. 

Elijah was born about 1738 in Orange County, Virginia, the fifth child of Polly Hawkins and Toliver Craig.  From his boyhood he displayed unusual intellectual gifts, with a strong streak of religiosity.  Virginia was state where all residents were required by law to tithe to the Anglican Church and attend Anglican worship at least once a month.  The official faith was deemed by elite Virginians as essential element of the commonwealth’s social structure.  Other theological ideas were in the air, however, with Baptists considered by many to be particularly dangerous.

Early Baptists faced opposition.  By law they were required to obtain licenses in order to preach, documents that often specified the place of worship and, in effect, outlawed itinerant circuit riders and tent meetings.  When ministers balked at those restrictions, they often were jailed.  Baptists also were subject to verbal and physical abuse.  David Thomas, a Baptist missionary to Virginia, was attacked while conducting a home service in Fauquier County and brutally beaten.  Later he would survive an assassination attempt.

Nevertheless,  Craig was drawn to Baptist beliefs by Thomas and in the mid-1860s began to hold meetings in his tobacco barn.  In 1866, along with other family members, he was formally baptized.  Full of fervor, he began to preach even though still a layman, resulting in his being jailed in Fredericksburg for several weeks for preaching without a license.  Ordained in 1771 Craig became the pastor of a small Virginia church.  Unwilling to submit to obtaining a license, he was jailed several more times.

A contemporary wrote of his oratory:  "His preaching was of the most solemn style; his appearance as of a man who had just come from the dead; of a delicate habit, a thin visage, large eyes and mouth; the sweet melody of his voice, both in preaching and singing, bore all down before it."

Following the American Revolution Craig was politically active as the Baptist representative to the Virginia legislature, said to have worked with Patrick Henry and James Madison to protect religious freedom in Virginia and at the federal level.  The Church of England was “disestablished,” i.e., lost government financial support.  Baptist ideals of “separation of church and state” took hold.

Throughout this period while preaching and pastoring, Craig was engaged in agricultural activities, likely including distilling some of his corn crop into the “white lightning” early Americans called whiskey. Craig pulled up stakes in Orange County and led his congregation west to the newly formed “Kentucky County” in western Virginia.   There he purchased 1,000 acres of land where he planned and laid out a town, below, that came to be named “Georgetown,” honoring George Washington.  Kentucky County would achieve statehood in 1788.

As he entered middle age, Craig’s ability and apparent limitless energy came into full flower.  While continuing to serve as pastor to a Baptist congregation in 1787 he established the first classical school in Kentucky and later donated the land for what became Georgetown College, the first Baptist college west of the Alleghenies, shown left. Craig was an early industrialist, in Georgetown building the state’s first textile plant, first rope manufactory, first lumber mill, first paper mill, and a gristmill.  Aware of the dangers posed by conflagrations and with a lot to lose, Craig also formed the town’s first fire department and became its chief.

About 1789, Craig took his place in whiskey history by building a distillery, making use of the cold stream of pure water coming from Georgetown’s Royal Spring, giving rise to the idea that he “invented” bourbon.  At the time, dozens of small farmer-distillers west of the Alleghenies were making whiskey from corn that some called “bourbon” to distinguish it from the rye whiskies coming from Pennsylvania and Maryland.  True bourbon, however, must be aged in charred barrels that impart color and flavor.

Several theories have been offered about how Craig created bourbon. One is that a barn fire charred the inside of some of the barrels he used for his whiskey. When aged in those charred oak barrels, the whiskey took on some of the color and flavor, giving it a more mellow, sweeter flavor.  Another is that, as a frugal pastor, Craig wanted to be able to reuse barrels that had previously stored fish and salt. In that story, he intentionally charred the inside of the oak barrels to remove the fish flavor before aging his whiskey within.  There is no proof for either theory.

Nonetheless the legend stands, repeated over and over.  Whiskey guru Michael Veach has a plausible suggestion of how the Elijah Craig story got started: “He was an early Kentucky preacher and he was a distiller, and that is why in the 1870s when the distilling industry was fighting the temperance movement, they decided to proclaim him the father of bourbon. They thought, well, let’s make a Baptist preacher the father of bourbon, and let the temperance people deal with that.”

Craig eventually owned more than 4,000 acres and enough slaves to cultivate it, and operated a retail store in Frankfort, Kentucky.  His whiskey does not seem to have had more than a local reputation and his other enterprises not always were successful.  When he died in Georgetown in 1808, The Kentucky Gazette eulogized Craig as follows: "He possessed a mind extremely active and, as his whole property was expended in attempts to carry his plans to execution, he consequently died poor. If virtue consists in being useful to our fellow citizens, perhaps there were few more virtuous men than Mr. Craig.”

Today Heaven Hill Distilleries in Bardstown, Kentucky, is happy to perpetuate the bourbon legend.  Elijah Craig bourbon whiskey is made in both 12-year-old "Small Batch" and 18-year-old "Single Barrel" bottlings. The latter is touted by the distillery as "The oldest Single Barrel Bourbon in the world at 18 years ….”  said to be aged in hand selected oak barrels that lose nearly 2⁄3 of their contents in the evaporation, known as the “Angel’s share.”  Needless to say the whiskey is pricey.

Notes:  A considerable number of sources were consulted for this post. Most important for details on Craig’s stance on religious freedom was an article in Wikipedia.  The drawing of Craig that opens this post is the only likeness of the preacher/distiller to be found.  It may or may not bear any resemblance to the original.  Finally, in my only visit to the Heaven Hill Distillery some years ago, the brand coming off the bottling and labeling line was “Elijah Craig.”  No one offered me a sample.

Friday, November 26, 2021

The Kreielsheimers' “Northwest Passage” to Prosperity


Immigrants from Germany, the Kreielsheimer brothers — Simon, Jacob and Max — early saw the American Northwest as fertile grounds for selling whiskey and cultivated a customer base that encompassed the State of Washington, Idaho and even north to Alaska.  Cited as equal to any found in the largest cities in America, through their pioneering liquor house the brothers achieved a remarkable run of 27 prosperous years.

Born into a Lutheran family in Offenburg, Baden-Wurtemberg, Germany, the brothers were the only offspring of Hannah and Lazarus Kreielsheimer.  The eldest was Simon, shown here, born in 1859, followed by Jacob in 1863 and Max in 1869.  In 1875, Simon, at 16 nearing draft age for the Prussian army, left his home for the United States, bringing with him his 12 year old brother, Jacob.  My assumption is that initially the pair lodged with relatives living in the vicinity of New York City.

By 1880, Simon, possibly drawn to California by gold strikes, was living in San Francisco and employed as a clerk for the E. Goslinsky Company, a tobacco importer and cigar manufacturer.  Meanwhile Jacob, having learned the upholstery trade, was working in and around New York.  Sometime in the mid decade, Goslinsky sent Simon to Seattle, then still part of the Territory of Washington — not yet admitted to the Union.

In Seattle the oldest Kreielsheimer saw an excellent opportunity for a quality liquor and wine wholesaler serving the Northeast and beyond.  Simon summoned his brothers to join him.  Chucking his  upholstery work, Jacob answered the call.  Just 18 and still in Germany, Max boarded the SS Imperator and headed for America.   Both arrived in 1887, the same year that the liquor house of Kreielsheimer Bros. was born.  At the outset Simon and Jacob were the executives.  Shown here in maturity,  Max initially was listed as a “clerk.”

Their first address was 323 Commercial Street but found their business growing so rapidly that within two years they had moved to larger quarters at 309-311 Commercial.  By 1895 those accommodations had proven too small and the brothers moved a final time to the newly constructed Hotaling Block at 209 First Avenue, occupying a four story building, 30 by 111 feet in size.  A photograph of their venue from around 1900 shows the highly decorated structure with a delivery wagon parked out front and a crowd of well-dressed men.  My assumption is that the Kreielsheimers are among them. 

Those quarters provided ample room for the Kreielsheimers to store an extensive stock of liquor, including nationally known brands.  They also engaged in a “rectifying” operation blending two proprietary whiskeys on site,  “Old Line Whiskey” and their flagship “Crown Diamonds Malt Whiskey.”  For their wholesale customers they were selling whiskey by the barrel as well as in embossed glass bottles, in clear and amber, bearing a company monogram.

The brothers also expanded their operations throughout the State of Washington and beyond to other parts of the Northwest, including Idaho and Alaska.  Below is a photograph of a band lined up in front of the Kreielsheimer Bros. headquarters in Juneau.  Additionally, the company maintained quarters in Room 507 of Spokane’s Fraternal Building,  48-50 First Street in San Francisco, and 912-916 Sycamore Street in Cincinnati.  This last office likely was devoted to purchasing and sending supplies of whiskey to Seattle from the many distillers and brokers in the Ohio city.  “The arrangement of the offices and the whole establishment is fully equal to any found in the largest cities in America,” boasted one Seattle publication.”

Another claim to whiskey fame derives from the unique, and relatively expensive, advertising items with which the brothers gifted their wholesale customers.  Worth attention is a metal tray with individual plates shaped like clam shells.  In the center is a barrel-like object with the inscription “Compliments of the Kreielsheimer Bros…Seattle U.S…1907.”  I believe this tray was meant to carry small bites of free food for the bar crowd.  The barrel held toothpicks used for spearing the delicacies.  The underside of the tray reveals round emblems advertising the brothers’ brands.  Note that one has been lost over time.

Still another Kreielsheimer giveaway item was a ladle dated 1906.  Like the tray this  item would have been given to upscale saloons, restaurants and hotels using the brothers’ brands.  The handle bears images of grapes, wheat and corn, indicating that the punch bowl for which it was intended might hold wine, rum or whiskey.  A monogram of the firm initials is the largest feature as well as the company name spelled vertically down the shaft.  This ladle also would have been a relatively expensive gift to customers.

For most of their company life the batchelor brothers not only worked together but lived together.  They also seemed to move frequently.  The 1890 Seattle  directory lists them rooming one year at Eureka House Hotel.  One author lists that residence among Seattle’s hotels that harbored brothels accommodating as many as twenty Japanese women.  After one year the Kreielsheimers had moved to other, possibly less lively, quarters.  The three found a permanent home in 1908 when the Arctic Club opened in Seattle’s posh Morrison Hotel.  This was a fraternal men’s club for businessmen with Klondike Gold Rush or other Alaska experience.  With their pioneering work to sell liquor in Juneau the Kreielsheimers were welcomed as members. They reciprocated by selling liquor in specially designed bottles for the club.

The year 1915 proved pivotal for the brothers.  In March 1915, Jacob died at the age of 51.   He was buried at the Hills of Eternity section of Seattle’s Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.  When Washington voters passed statewide prohibition, the majority of voters in Seattle had voted against it. The law went into effect in 1915;  Seattle was obliged to comply.  After 27 years of successful operation the two remaining Kreielsheimers were forced to shut down their wholesale liquor house. 

While continuing to maintain the name of their company as an investment firm, Simon and Max branched out into new enterprises.  Simon became president of the Kodiak Fisheries Co. and the Northeast Leather Company.  Max was secretary-treasurer of the latter.  In 1926 they both still lived at the Arctic Club.  In a surprise move, at the age of 57 Max got married.  His bride was Olivia Agnes Thornton, 45, a Seattle milliner, shown here.  She apparently had a previous marriage and a young son.  They exchanged vows in Nanaimo, British Columbia, just over the border from Washington State.

In December 1926, Simon, still a bachelor at 67, died and was interred next to Jacob. Max followed eleven years later and was buried adjacent to his brothers A monument marks the spot where the trio lay.  As they had bonded together in life they are join in their final resting place.  

Note:  This post was drawn from a number of sources.  Key among them were John Thomas’s 1998 “Whiskey Bottles and Liquor Containers from The State of Washington,”  Alfred D. Bowen’s 1900 “Seattle and the Orient” souvenir pamphlet, and genealogy sites.


Monday, November 22, 2021

Whiskey Men Targeted by Prohibitionists II


Foreword:  For most whiskey purveyors, Prohibition was a disembodied force attempting to wrest their livelihood from them.  A few, however, were made specific targets of “dry” adherents.  On November 14, 2017 this blog contained the story of four such whiskey men.  This post adds another three to the list of those for whom prohibitionist zealotry became “up close and personal.”

Henry Wheeler Gillett is recorded as a Kansas man of “firsts” in several accounts.  According to the Leavenworth Daily Commercial of Dec. 31, 1871:  “Mr. Gillett rectified the first barrel of whiskey ever taken through that process in Kansas….”  Later he was reported to be the very first liquor merchant in the state to be hauled into court in 1875 as a result of Prohibition pressures.

Kansas Temperance Meeting


A highly successful Leavenworth liquor dealer, Gillett was riding high in the wake of the Civil War, reputedly with annual sales in excess of $6 million in today’s dollar.  Even then the storm clouds of Prohibition were gathering over Kansas.  Shown here is one of dozens of “dry” town meetings, in a state that rapidly became a national center of attention for the Temperance Movement.  Angered by his prosperity, prohibitionist made Gillett their first target.

In 1875 after a Topeka resident named Haug placed an order for whiskey with him in Leavenworth, Henry was arrested under a law that forbid anyone from selling liquor “without taking out and having a license as grocer, dram shopkeeper, or tavern keeper.”  Gillett had no license in Topeka.  The Kansas Supreme Court reasoned, however, that the sale had taken place in Leavenworth and Gillett had a license there and ruled in his favor.  It was said to be the first instance of “drys” intruding into Kansas liquor affairs through the courts. 

Although Gillett won his case, the experience may have suggested to him the wisdom
 of an occupational change.  By 1877, he had taken on two partners. The following year his name was erased from the firm entirely, as he sold out to the pair. The company would prove to have a short remaining life span.  By 1880 Kansas voters had approved an amendment to the state constitution prohibiting all manufacture and sale of “intoxicating liquors.” The liquor house Gillett founded was forced to shut down.

When Dr. Wesley Peacock, Sr., left, looked out the front widow of his Peacock Military Academy, above, he could see his male students creeping off campus to destinations in downtown San Antonio, Texas.  The schoolmaster knew that some were headed to saloons like the popular one run by German immigrant August Limburger.   In Dr. Peacock’s mind a plot was forming.

Oblivious of the schoolmaster’s ruminations, Limburger, right, meanwhile was operating one of San Antonio’s more upscale drinking establishments.   His success in the liquor trade was indicated by a move he made in the late 1890s to a higher visibility location just off the city’s Main Plaza. This address also brought him closer to Dr. Peacock’s Academy and put his Metropolitan saloon in the “cross hairs” of the pedagog’s conspiratorial mind.  

The headmaster had noted a Texas law that required liquor dealers selling liquor to post a bond that carried penalties for selling to individuals under 21, habitual drunks, or “students of an institution of learning.”  The penalty for serving a student was a fine of $500, paid to the educational entity filing a complaint.  The $1,000 from two offenses was equal at that time to about $25,000 today.  Dr. Peacock must have cackled and clapped his hands thinking of the largesse.  He dispatched two of his students with cash to Limburger’s Metropolitan Bar.  They had doffed their cadet hats and uniforms and were in civilian clothes. Limburger himself was not on the premises to see his obliging bartenders serve each of the young men a beer.

The cadets returned to Dr. Peacock as expected and related their experience.  Then in modern parlance, the schoolmaster “dropped the dime,” hauling Limburger into Civil Court and demanding that he pay the $1,000 penalty.  The saloonkeeper’s attorneys countered that there was no way the bartender could identify the young men, dressed as they were, as belonging to Dr. Peacock’s institution.  The judge was sympathetic to the defense and instructed the jury to decide liability on the basis of whether Limburger or his employees reasonably could have known that the two young men were cadets.  The jury said “no” and Dr. Peacock went away empty handed. 

Located in York County, Pennsylvania, tiny Delta and its Auditorium Hotel had attracted the attention of the Anti-Saloon League — regrettably for Abe Trattner, liquor dealer and a co-owner of the hotel.  In the Spring of 1914, prohibitionists staged a large rally in Delta and submitted  a petition of 345 names, mostly from women, demanding that the Auditorium Hotel be denied a liquor license.  Subsequently three hundred protesters, abetted by the Anti-Saloon League, chartered a special train and filed into a York City courtroom to hammer home their point.

According to bystanders, Trattner was overheard talking to his attorney about how much the hotel would be worth if the court refused the liquor license.  His response was quoted as a curt, “Not a damn.”  Trattner’s expletive seemingly defined the stakes as the crowded courtroom was called to order in February 1915.

After several days of testimony, the judges rendered their decision, noting:  “If this were a mere question of majorities, we would, of course, be obliged to refuse this license, but the law does not permit the case to be decided on that ground alone.”  On the other side, they ruled, was the need to accommodate travelers by rail who regularly stopped overnight in Delta.  The only other hotel in town was dry, the court noted, and evidence existed that “…a large majority of the strangers and travelers stopping there prefer a licensed hotel, where liquors can be procured, to the temperance house.”  With that justification, the judges awarded the Ambassador Hotel an extension of its liquor license.

The Anti-Saloon League was outraged.  Its national American Issue magazine trashed the Ambassador Hotel as “an old frame shell” without any substantial value if it was denied alcohol sales and suggested that financial interests and political influence had leveraged the decision.  No matter, its effect was relatively short-lived.  Although the Anti-Saloon League had been bested in Delta, five years later it triumphed when National Prohibition was enacted.  Trattner’s Ambassador Hotel went dry. 

Note:  More complete vignettes on each of these targeted whiskey men may be found elsewhere on this blog.  Henry W. Gillett, October 20, 2016;  August Limburger, December 27, 2020; and Abe Trattner, November 13, 2018.  

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Baltimore’s Carrolls Knew the Value of a Name

Related or not to the famous Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Maryland, Thomas Carroll, shown here, and his sons recognized how important was their family name and the brand names of their whiskeys to achieving almost half a century of success as liquor dealers in Baltimore.  That understanding drove the family’s two decade campaign to protect a trademark, an effort that ultimately failed.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton is known to every Maryland school child as a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the only Catholic to do so.  Less well known is that Charles, shown here, was one of the richest men in the Colonies and among its largest slaveholders, owning perhaps as many as 1,000.  The relationship of the Baltimore “whiskey” Carrolls to this historical figure has been a subject of speculation without any firm answer.   The name “Carroll” is among the 25 most common Irish names in America and people with that name originate from all over the Emerald Isle.  Nonetheless, just the Carroll name carried a strong element of prestige in Maryland.

The “founding father” of these Carrolls was Thomas, shown above, born in August 1830 in Maryland of American-born Irish parents.  Thomas first shows up in the public record in 1860 when he married Lizzette Josephine Fusting, right.  Lizzette was the daughter of Joseph P. Fusting, a well-known founder and business leader in Catonsville, Maryland.   At the time of the 1880 federal census, the couple was living in Baltimore with their six children,  Charles, 19;  Harry, 16; Bessie, 15; Howard, 9; Thomas Jr., 5, and May, 3.  Thomas Sr.’s occupation was listed as “liquor dealer.” 

With his early career lost in the mists of history, Thomas Sr. in 1871 founded a Baltimore wholesale liquor house located at 370 West Baltimore Avenue.  At the time, the city was a center for rye whiskey distilling and sales, with the name “Baltimore” connoting quality not found elsewhere.  Carroll named his signature brand “Baltimore Club Rye” and watched as it gain regional and to some extent national popularity.  He trademarked the brand in 1874 and again in 1881.

The Carrolls were also aware of the importance of their own name in selling liquor in Maryland.  Shown below is an amber flask of “Carroll  Rye.”  Later the liquor house would feature a label directly invoking the historic Charles Carroll, calling it  “Carroll’s Carrolton Rye.”  A back-of-the-bar bottle bears that name.  Thomas Sr. was not a distiller but a rectifier, someone who bought whiskeys distilled elsewhere that he blended to achieve a particular taste, smoothness and color.  The 1880 census indicated that the two oldest Carroll sons., Charles and Harry, were working for their father in the liquor house.  Several years later as Charles reached maturity, his father made him a partner, renaming the firm Thomas G. Carroll & Son.  Harry was recorded as working there as clerk. 

The liquor house continued to thrive.  Shown above are  a trio of clear flasks in several sizes and shades that carry the new name.  Embossed, they would have carried paper labels with the Carroll brand names, “Baltimore Club Rye,” “Carroll’s Carrolton” or “Return Rye.”  Named after a famed steeplechase horse of the time, Return Rye was marketed as a blend “for family use.”  The label pictured a horse and jockey clearing a jump.  The image also was reproduced on shot glasses that were gifted to saloons, restaurants and hotels featuring the whiskey.

Although the Carrolls were taking full use of their name in their marketing, they were looking around for other opportunities.  Another name that loomed large in Baltimore whiskey circles was “Monticello Rye.”  This brand was originated by Malcolm Crichton and was perhaps the most popular whiskey in the city.  Unfortunately, Crichton had little time to enjoy the success and prosperity his Monticello Rye had engendered, dying in 1890 at the age of 50.  It appears that none of his sons were interested in carrying on and sold the distillery to Baltimore brothers, Bernard and Jacob B. Cahn.  

Some early confusion seems to have existed regarding the ownership of the brand name.  The Cahns believed they had purchased the rights to market Monticello Rye but found themselves competing with the Carrolls who had quickly come to the market with their own version of the brand.  Although the matter apparently was resolved amicably with Thomas G. and his sons backing off, in self-defense the Cahns in 1906 re-registered the brand with the Patent and Trademark Office.  Nevertheless, the incident indicates the Carrolls’ aggressiveness in marketing.

After twice trademarking Baltimore Club Rye, the Carrolls were in for a surprise.  A New York City liquor house for years had been selling whiskey of the same name.  From court documents:  “…Down to about 1882 or 1883 the Carroll firm sold Baltimore Club whisky in Baltimore and the McIlvaine & Baldwin firm sold whiskey under the same trademark in New York, and neither knew of the other’s existence nor interfered with each others customers.”  The end of this blissful ignorance would trigger a long struggle.

It began with Thomas Carroll gathering up sons Charles and Harry and the trio descending on McIlwaine & Baldwin in New York to claim sole rights to the 
name Baltimore Club.  “We have had the rights to the name since we began making the brand in 1870,”  Thomas reputedly told the partners.  The New Yorkers responded that their claim extended back to 1875.  Furthermore, they had sold more whiskey under that name than the Carrolls ever had.  “Whatever threats or demands were made by the Carrolls at this time they certainly bore no fruit;  for each party continued to transact business as before….”

During the ensuing decades, while the dispute remained unsettled, Thomas Carroll died as did Charles.  Harry, the remaining member of the firm, was now the president of Thomas G. Carroll & Son Co.  For years the trademark issue had rankled him and in 1907 he decided to act.  First, he registered the company trademark for Baltimore Club for a third time.  Second, he began to merchandise  his Baltimore Club vigorously in and around New York City.  In so doing, Harry over-reached.  From the trial record:  Carroll sold the brand there under “…an imitation of the label used for many years [by McIlwaine & Baldwin], an imitation evidently calculated to deceive any but the most discriminating purchasers.”   Moreover, the New York label bore no resemblance to the one Harry earlier had trademarked.

Ever brash, Harry in correspondence with the New York liquor house declared that the words “Baltimore Club” were his firm’s exclusive property allowing it the “right and liberty” of printing its labels in any style or color that it preferred.  To back up those claims, the Carroll scion brought suit in the Circuit Court of New York against McIlwaine & Baldwin.  The results were mixed.  The court was sympathetic to the defendant, declaring that by long prior use it held a “common law” title to use the name.  The privilege was restricted to its New York sales area only, however, and not beyond.  The court ruled that Harry’s sales intrusion into New York should to end.  Elsewhere in America, however, the Carroll claim was recognized.


Although Harry did not succeed in killing the New York “Baltimore Club,” he successfully managed the firm his father had founded for the next decade until closed in 1919 by National Prohibition.  Shown above are two “give away” artifacts I believe likely are from Harry’s tenure. Note that labels display the  Carroll name prominently.


A final word on the sagacity of Thomas Carroll.  Although he clearly understood the value of a name and made sure that his was prominent on all his whiskeys, he apparently decided after his foray into New York on behalf of his Baltimore Club brand to low key pressing his trademark, possibly recognizing the legal expenses and uncertain outcome it might entail.  Unfortunately his son Harry was not so wise and pushed the issue at considerable cost, only to achieve a less than satisfactory judgment.   

Notes:  This post was derived from a wide range of sources, the most important of which were Internet genealogical-related websites.  The post also marks a new milestone for this website, having just passed the 1.2 million mark for “hits” since its inception in 2011.