American Weissbier - A Lost Style Ripe for Reclamation

Okay beer fans, riddle me this: what was the key ingredient in 19th century American weissbier?  You'll have to dig out your old copy of Wahl and Henius's American Handy-Book of American Brewing, Malting, and Auxiliary Trades* (1902) to learn the answer.  Give up?  Here it is:
The material employed and method of mashing is usually quite different [from German methods].  Wheat malt is sometimes, but not generally, used.  Instead [corn] grits are employed, usually to the amount of about 30%."

Wahl and Henius, however, were not impressed.  The beer was supposed to be like a Berliner weisse, but "undoubtedly the American article could be much improved by employing the materials as well as the mashing method in vogue in German Weiss beer breweries, as grits will under no circumstances yield those albuminoids that give Weiss beer its character, as wheat malt does.  Certainly there seems no reason why American Weiss beer brewers should not be able to procure a good wheat malt."

They continue, noting that it's brewed to resemble lager, but "a brilliant Weiss beer does not seem to catch the fancy of the consumers, who are accustomed to the cloudy, lively article of Berlin fame."
I think this overlooked style was unnecessarily consigned to a hasty grave.  Who out there is willing to reclaim this important part of American brewing history? 

*Aside from the joy I get at reading "American handy-book," it should be noted that, at over 1200 pages, it might have been handy, but I can't imagine it was light