Anoka County history: Liniment to deal with aches, pains

Got an ache? Got a pain? Hoff’s German Liniment may be just what you need.

The following is excerpted from the Colonial Hall Crier, Vol. 27, No. 3, June 1997

George H. Goodrich arrived in Anoka in 1886 and soon became the partner in a drug store known as Goodrich and Jennings.

According to the story, Goodrich was asked to prepare a liniment from a recipe brought to him by a German immigrant named Hoff.

The mixture was a creamy white substance and contained ingredients of proven therapeutic value.

Goodrich refined the liniment recipe and began making it in a butter churn, but demand quickly outgrew that mode of manufacturing.

At the outset of the First World War the “German” part of the name was removed due to anti-German sentiment, and it became “Hoff’s Liniment.”

It is not known what was really in the mixture, nor do we know how well it really worked.

Those were trade secrets.

What is known comes from ads that promised to “keep everyone in the pink of health.”

In 1997 Grosslein Beverages, Inc. prepared a batch of “near liniment” and offered it to the public during the Anoka County Historical Society’s “Drums, Dreams, & History” event  for a $1 donation to the ACHS Building Fund.

Grosslein Beverages has been in Anoka County since 1917, having had its start on Mississippi Street in Fridley with August (Gus) Grosslein, and it continues at its present home in Ramsey.

Gus was a pioneer in the beer business, starting with “near beer” during prohibition.

His son, Duke, and grandson Dana worked with ACHS to provide the “near liniment” at its event in the summer of 1997, held on the lawn of Colonial Hall which was then home to ACHS.

Editor’s note: June Anderson is a member/volunteer of the Anoka County Historical Society. Join her for a Ghosts of Anoka Tour this summer

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