MIDDENDORF & ROHR’S, Meatpacking

by Kevin Walsh

Despite the rigors of over a century’s worth of wind, rain and storms, the painted sign identifying Middendorf & Rohrs Grocers is still identifiable at #1 Little West 12th Street. The building has an oddly slanted shape as it fronts on both Gansevoort and Little West 12th, which intersect here. There also seems to be a palimpsest effect here with other ghosts of words, especially on the right side.

The basic no-nonsense brick building was constructed in 1887, while M&R, who built #3 Little West 12th in 1918 (seen on the left side) operated a wholesale grocery in the building from 1883 to 1964, with the Rohr nephews, the oldest of whom lived until 1965, carrying on the business after the deaths of the original owners, Henry Middendorf and Herman Rohrs.



Old Skool April 26, 2013 - 6:24 pm

Would you call that a chamfered corner?

Worldly Canuck April 30, 2013 - 10:37 pm

A chamfer corner is usually cut at 45 degrees (I believe). The photo may be a bit deceiving, but the corner angle seems to be favoured to the front of the building. It is definitely a nice building architecturally, though.

M.F. Sibley April 15, 2014 - 7:29 pm

My mother-in-law’s grandfather, John H. Rohrs, was the brother of Herman Rohrs. We have two original photos taken in the 19th century of the grocery store – one outside the store and one inside the store. The brothers had several grocery stores in the New York City area and held offices in various grocer’s organizations. They originally emigrated from Germany in the mid-19th century and are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.

C. Williams February 28, 2017 - 12:42 pm

John Rohrs was married to my wife’s 1st cousin 2x removed. I would like to see the photos of the store.

Anonymous June 7, 2017 - 10:48 pm

My grandfather was named Herman Rohrs married to Lucy. He had two children, a daughter and son. His son was Robert Pershing Rohrs (Bob) who was my father. He grew up above a grocery store in NYC. They had a coffee shop which could be consistent with the bldg. I was told my Aunt Mary Rohrs started the whole thing. The time period is right so I am thinking these are most likely relatives. I am in Texas where my father relocated when he married my mother from Ft. Worth, TX. If this sounds familiar email me at dianacarleton@sbcglobal.net

Mary Beth Cheval October 19, 2014 - 7:14 pm

My grandfather was Edward Rohrs, son of Herman Rohrs. He was supposed to have been born in Wilstedt, Germany on 4/7/1852.

What Was Here Before Bagatelle? July 2, 2015 - 8:19 am

[…] had used as administrative offices. The former 1 Little West 12th Street was built in 1887 and was also known as the Mittendorf building and housed Mittendorf & Rohr grocery company. The former 3 Little West 12th Street was built […]

diana June 7, 2017 - 10:50 pm

My father was Robert Pershing Rohrs (Bob). He grew up in NYC above a grocery store/coffee shop which his parents owned. His parents were Herman and Lucy Rohrs. The time period is right so I am thinking these are my relatives. Please contact me if you want to figure this out. dianacarleton@sbcglobal.net

Rohrs June 24, 2017 - 6:47 pm

My husband’s grandfather was Diedrich Rohrs, who immigrated to Rochester in 1867 from Wilstedt, son of Peter Rohrs and Adelheid Oetjen. He left for San Francisco, where he opened a grocery at Clay & Taylor, which was lost in the earthquake/fire of 1906

Mark January 19, 2018 - 6:53 pm

I live around the corner from this building and pass by it along Gansevoort every day. Today I decided to look it up on the web. It’s really nice to read about some of the history and to think about the families operating the business back at the time. Thanks for sharing!


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