Ulhmann’s Dry Goods
Beginning in 1861 and lasting until 1873, Friedrich H. Uhlmann (1821-1873) operated a dry goods grocery at 41 Elder. He also utilized the building next door at 43 Elder, built in 1860, for his dry goods store in the early 1860s. Friedrich ran his grocery until his death in 1873. 43 Elder then passed to his widow who ran the dry goods shop in 1874. Her death in 1875 resulted in her and Friedrich’s son-in-law Christian Kallendorf taking over the building.
Kallendorf’s Dry Goods
From the 1880s until the 1890s, Christian Kallendorf (1851-1923) ran a dry goods store at 41 Elder. Born in 1851 in Prussia, he immigrated to the U.S. in 1871. He married Friedrich Ulhmann’s daughter Mary (1854-1912) and had four children with her, three of whom lived into adulthood, including Johanna “Hannah” (1878-1927), Edward (1884-1918) and Charles (1889-1983). All of the children were born in Ohio.
As he ran his dry goods shop at 41 Elder, he and Mary raised their family there. Mary’s sisters, Amelia and Alvina Ulhmann, lived with them. Underscored by his involvement with the German Protestant Cemetery Society, Christian and his family were German Protestants. Christian moved his dry goods store to 103 W. Elder by the late 1800s and stayed there until his death in 1923. His wife died in 1912, making his last years those of a widower.
The 1920 Federal Census showed that German remained his primary language, even after fifty years in the U.S. This was a commonality among many Germans in Cincinnati, and especially Over-the-Rhine.
In 1910, the Federal Census that year—which asked for the first time what your native language was—found that 125,446 Cincinnatians still claimed German as their primary tongue. Christian’s daughter Johanna—as an unmarried woman—lived with him in his elderly years, undoubtedly helping him run the business at 103 W. Elder.
Joseph Kleimann’s Shoes
From the mid-1890s until the start of World War I, Joseph Kleimann (1854-1939) rented space from Christian Kallendorf for his shoes store at 105 W. Elder.
Joseph and his family lived at the building, along with three other families. Joseph and his wife Caroline “Carrie” (Schoene) (1856-1932) were both second-generation German immigrants, born in Ohio in 1854 and in Kentucky in 1857, respectively, to German immigrant parents. Joseph’s parents were from Bavaria. His father Joseph was a cobbler as well; the 1860 Federal Census noted that he made “wooden shoes.” Joseph and Carrie had five children together: Anna, John, Edward, Ella and Clara.
As they grew up in 105 W. Elder, John and Edward worked for their father, doing inventory and cutting shoes for customers.
By the start of World War I, Joseph Kleimann stopped leasing the Findlay Market property. Being a German immigrant in Over-the-Rhine in these wartime years was difficult with the strong anti-immigrant, anti-German hysteria that overtook the city—and the nation at-large. Perhaps such sentiment convinced the Kleimanns to leave the area.
Joseph and Carrie spent their final years living with their daughter Anna and her husband Jerome Kuhlmann. In 1932, Carrie passed away and seven years later, Joseph died and was buried in St. John Cemetery, indicative of the family’s Catholic faith.
After the Kleimanns, Christian Kallendorf—in his final years—rented the building to Isaac Licht (1869-1952) for four years, beginning in the autumn of 1914. Isaac was a Russian Jewish immigrant, born in 1869, who had immigrated to the U.S. in 1890 like many other Russian and Eastern European Jews fleeing pogroms and other anti-Semitic persecutions that were common in that time in the Russian Empire. He ran a chinaware store, and for a time, lived at 104 W. Elder before moving to North Avondale where a lot of other Jewish Cincinnatians lived.
He and his wife Lena, also a Russian Jewish immigrant, had just one son, Rudolph, born in Ohio. By 1918, the storefront was available again. It was then briefly a saloon under the proprietorship of George A. Kuehnle who had previously run his bar at 1213 Main Street.
The Foltz Grocery & Baking Company
Throughout much of the 1920s, 105 W. Elder served as one of the many locations of the Foltz Grocery & Baking Company. Foltz’ was established in 1909 by John Peter Foltz and grew to have locations in Cincinnati, Covington, Latonia, Newport and Dayton. Besides its large wholesale house at the southeast corner of Second and Vine Streets, it had nineteen branch locations. John Foltz, born in 1869 in Germany, started the business after working for the John Schneider Baking Company for fifteen years. He immigrated in 1879 and married in 1884.
He and his wife Margaret, whose parents were German immigrants, raised their children—Frank, Ambrose, Ida, Elsie and Mary Margaret—in Covington. Foltz’ was acquired by Kroger’s in 1928, and the storefront at 105 W. Elder was up for rent again.
Briefly, Samuel Engel ran a chinaware store there in the first years of the Depression.
The Butcher Shops at 105 W. Elder
From the early 1930s until the early 2000s, 105 W. Elder’s first floor was a butcher shop under a variety of owners. Throughout these years, one to four individuals continued to rent apartments above the storefront. As rental advertisements in the local papers indicated, the building had indoor plumbing—private toilets and bathtubs—by at least the 1920s, making it a nicer apartment building in Over-the-Rhine. Water and sewer connections for many tenement buildings in urban Cincinnati were rare, even up to the mid-20th century.
In 1921, of the 1,709 tenements inspected in Cincinnati by the Better Housing League, only 80 had a bathtub and even in 1950, a special committee on housing appointed by Cincinnati’s mayor reported that 26.4% of all the units in the city had no bath or shower, and in the basin, 78.3% of units did not have a bath or shower. The committee also found that 17.8% of all units in the city had no private flush toilet, and in the basin, this was the case for 68.1% of all dwellings. Like most other buildings, 105 W. Elder’s walls in the 20th century were covered in wallpaper which tenants could expect to be frequently refreshed or redecorated.
The apartments at 105 W. Elder in the early to mid-20th century were usually listed as two- or three-bedroom ones. Wood porches in the rear offered south-facing renters nice views.
Anna Re (Catanzaro) (1894-1963) owned the building at this point and retained ownership until her death in the 1960s. She was born in Ohio in 1894 to Italian immigrant parents, Joseph and Josephine (Amato). Her parents had immigrated in 1889 to Springfield, Ohio where her father Joseph worked as a fruit merchant. Anna was the first-born of seven children. In 1910, as a sixteen-year-old, she wed Ignazio “Frank” Re (1890-1954) in Clark County where she had grown up. Frank was born in Ohio as well—one of eight children of Vincent (or Vincargo) and Delia Re, both Italian immigrants. Vincargo, like Joseph Catanzaro, was a fruit vendor—so perhaps Frank and Anna met through their parents’ business dealings or proximities. It could have also been an arranged marriage as was common in some Italian (especially southern Italian) immigrant families.
Immigration records are incomplete for the Catanzaro and Re families but suggest the families came from Sicily. By the 1920s, the couple and Anna’s little sister Josephine had migrated to Cincinnati from Clark County; here, they initially lived on Central Avenue. Frank ran a tailor shop and with his wife purchased 103 and 105 W. Elder. Federal censuses listed them living at 105 W. Elder in 1940, but his 1942 World War II draft registration showed the couple then living at 103 W. Elder.
From 1932 to 1946, Leonard A. Rowland (1892-1957) rented the storefront at 105 W. Elder from the Re family for his butchering business. (Whitus), Leonard worked in the coal mines near Morgan County, Tennessee as a young man, but sometime just before or during World War I, he joined many other Appalachians in moving to Cincinnati for better work.
Here, he worked as a clerk for YMCA at 5th and Baymiller and later as a machinist in an automobile factory. He claimed exemption from the World War I draft due to the fact that he had lost his right foot. Perhaps an accident in the mines caused the amputation. His draft registration, in explaining his disability, listed him as a tall man with dark hair and eyes. He also got married when he came to Cincinnati: his wife was from Appalachia as well, a woman named Maude Lavinia Lay (1887-1985) from McCreary County, Kentucky, in southern Kentucky.
The couple had two sons, Edwin and Charles. He died in 1957; his widow lived until 1985 when she passed away in Florida. From the late 1940s until the mid-1950s, Leo J. Altemeier (1904-2004) ran a butcher shop at 105 W. Elder. He was born in 1902 in Chicago to William and Martha (Cyrtmus). His father William—whose parents had immigrated from Germany—was also a butcher.
After doing day labor in Chicago as a teenager, Leo moved to Cincinnati in the Depression and then to Detroit during World War II, presumably for better work since Detroit was the “arsenal of America” during the Second World War. He worked as a butcher there until he moved back to Cincinnati to run his meats shop at Findlay Market. During his time at the Market, he and his wife Vera (Hoffman) lived in Mt. Auburn.
In their older years, the couple retired to Florida. He died in Dallas, Texas, in 2004 but was interred at Spring Grove Cemetery.
In the early 1960s, Frank Wikette (1928-1988) was the next butcher shop owner at 105 W. Elder. He was born in Wisconsin—his father was from Yugoslavia—but as a toddler Frank moved to Over-the-Rhine with his family. He was married to Annie Isabella (Howell) (1928-2004) who was born in St. Johns, Newfoundland, and spent much of her early life there. She moved to New York City in 1951 and, at some point, moved to Cincinnati where she and Frank had a son named Frank as well. From the mid-1960s until the early 2000s, Findlay Market patrons could find Feldhues Meat Market at 105 W. Elder. Virginia R. Feldhues (1925-1984) and her older brother Norbert (1919-2012) owned the building at this point; the Feldhues family retained it until 2001.
Virginia and Norbert grew up in northern Kentucky during the Great Depression; they were two of the three children of John (1885-1934) and Antoinette (Roembeck) (1890-1969) Feldhues. Both John and Antoinette’s parents were German immigrants. John was a butcher who worked at Voss Grocery in Norwood and later ran his own butcher shop to make a living. His World War I draft registration noted his absence of four fingers, possibly due to his years of butchering.
His children Virginia and Norbert carried on his tradition by running the Feldhues Meat Market at Findlay Market for decades. In the early 2000s, the storefront at 105 W. Elder housed Kids World, a children’s and infant ware store. But later in the 2000s, the building went unlisted in city directories as it exchanged owners several times.