Early Years of 46 Elder
In 1860-1861, German immigrant Frederick K. Fischer (1832-1882) was the first to use the newly-built structure at 46 Elder. Born in 1832 in Baden, he immigrated to the U.S. sometime prior to 1855. Here, he used the building at Findlay Market for his coffee shop which acted as part saloon, part café. In 1862, Joseph Schaeven—who had previously worked as a porter down on 4th Street—then ran a coffee house at 46 Elder. It lasted for only one year though, and Joseph died only a few years after that, in 1866.
In 1864, Anton Hoesz (1831-1897) operated a saloon in the storefront of 46 Elder. The following year, in 1865, Henry Paulsen sold boots and shoes from 46 Elder’s first floor. Henry was born in Bavaria in 1832. After working at 46 Elder in 1865, he moved one storefront over to 44 Elder (now Dean’s Mediterranean) where he worked and lived with his wife Caroline, a German immigrant from Hanover.
In 1866, Gottlieb Eha (1833-1884) and his business partner John Ruf (1825-1870) took over the storefront space at 46 Elder, selling shoes from there through the 1870s. Gottlieb and John had previously worked from 48 Elder (112 W. Elder). Born in 1833 in Schömberg in Württemberg to Xaver (1804-1860) and Maria (Angst) Eha (1811-1846), Gottlieb immigrated to the U.S. via New York City in the summer of 1852. Most of his family remained in Germany.
Traveling to Cincinnati, he met his wife here, a German immigrant named Anna Louisa (Ludwig or Siegmund—her surname is listed as both) (1843-1920) who came to the U.S. from Saxony in 1847. Soon after their marriage, Gottlieb left to serve in the Civil War as a Private in Company B of the Ohio 8th Infantry on the Union side.
In 1863, after his service had ended, he and Anna started their family. Sadly, the same year that his son was born, John died and was buried at St. John’s German Catholic Cemetery. Gottlieb carried on the shoes business at 46 Elder without him. John’s widow Mary continued to reside at the building. After Eha & Ruf shoes, from 1879 to 1881, Frank J. Giese (1852-1881) was the next shoe store proprietor in the space. At this point, the upper levels of 46 Elder were quite crowded: in addition to the Giese family, widowed Mary Ruf and her young son John still lived there (Mary would remain there until her death in 1894).
So did the Goepf family which included stone mason Valentine, his wife Maggie and their three adult children. Widowed tailoress Louisa Hoebig also resided there. A tailor, Henry Reinhart, his wife Louisa and their two small daughters rented space in 46 Elder, along with widowed Theresa Bueger and her five children. Families normally rented two rooms at a time which were advertised in the local papers as nice but “cheap.” Frank Giese—or, more likely, Franz—was a second-generation German immigrant born in Ohio in 1852.
His father Ferdinand was a cobbler and shoe store proprietor as well. After their marriage in 1878, Franz and his wife Mary (Bruns)—a German immigrant born around 1858—started a family at 46 Elder. A shoe manufacturer by trade, John B. Heilemann (1818-1901) and his son Benjamin took over the storefront after Frank Giese’s death. They managed a boots and shoes shop there into the 1890s; the extended Heilemann family lived upstairs.
John was born in Germany in 1818 and immigrated to the U.S. in 1846. Three years later, he and his wife Elizabeth wed. In 1850, they started a family: their son Benjamin—also called Bernhard—was born in Cincinnati. Benjamin’s son Alexander (1887-1958) carried on the family tradition, starting a shoe store at 112 W. Elder. He moved that operation to 100 W. Elder (present-day Noli) which he purchased with meat producer Clarence Stegner in 1922.
The Schwartz Family at 46 Elder
Numerous tailors and seamstresses boarded at 46 Elder around the turn of the 20th century. Ads in local newspapers called for seamstresses and finishers to work at 46 Elder—“four girls to work by hand and machine on custom pants” and “a young lady with some experience in plain and fancy sewing; must also be experienced in cutting and fitting,” for example.
These ads were most likely placed by Severin Schwartz (1838-1926) who, from the early 1880s until his death in 1926, ran a tailor shop (either upstairs or in the first-floor rear) at 46 Elder and owned the building for the majority of these years.
Born in Germany in 1838, Severin immigrated when he was fourteen years old. He met his wife, Barbara (Vitt) (1847-1919), here and married her in 1868 at St. John the Baptist Church. At the turn of the 20th century, a few storefront businesses came and went quickly (the Schwartz family’s tailoring operation continued in these years).
Turn of the 20th Century
In 1895, the Queen City Cooperative Grocery Company, managed by Joseph N. Hirschfeld, used the storefront at 46 Elder, then renumbered to 110 W. Elder. Joseph was born in 1861 in Ohio to German immigrant parents. The co-op grocery stayed at 46 Elder for a brief time, for it moved to 1706 Race by 1898.
In 1899, John Berberich’s Great Bargain Tea Company moved from 1818 Race to 110 W. Elder, staying only for one year. In 1900-1901, Israel Aaron Burtanger (1866-1931) sold dry goods from the storefront of 110 W. Elder. Israel had grown up around Findlay Market and had grown up in the dry goods business.
In addition to managing its storefront, the Burtanger family lived at and owned 115 W. Elder (and 117 W. Elder—what is now Mama Made It) for a number of years, along with a property they held on Ohio Avenue. With his parents’ deaths in 1898 and 1906, Israel started his dry goods operation. During his short-lived time at 110 W. Elder, Israel was married to Sophia (they wed in 1901 and had a child together). In 1903, they separated and in 1906, the couple divorced, with Sophia charging non-support.
Israel then worked as a traveling salesman, started another dry goods shop at 103 W. 7th and later was a manufacturer’s agent. Before his death in 1931, he spent his last years in a Jewish home for elderly persons. Then, from 1902 to 1922, Samuel Glass (1873-1957) ran a men’s furnishing shop at 110 W. Elder. Born in 1873 in the Russian Empire, Samuel was a Jewish immigrant who came here in 1892 and started in the garment industry by working as a peddler—a common path for many immigrant merchants.
His World War I draft registration listed him as a short, slender man with brown eyes and already graying hair. He and his wife Dora (Jaffe) (1874-1970) raised their children, Benjamin, Robert and Sophia, on Bogart Avenue in Avondale, a neighborhood where many other Jewish families lived. Samuel’s son-in-law, Ben Simon (1888-1939), who had worked as a salesman under Samuel, then ran his own men’s shop at 110 W. Elder starting in 1923.
Born in Russia in 1888, Ben was married to Samuel’s daughter Sophia (1896-1992). He was a World War I veteran, having served in the U.S. Army in October 1918, one month before the Armistice. After Ben Simon’s shop, Daniel Glicksberg (1904-1996) sold women’s dress goods from 110 W. Elder from 1928 to 1938. He also had another location on Central Avenue (near the present-day Convention Center).
Daniel was a Polish Jewish immigrant, born in 1904, who became a successful retail clothing merchant. He and his wife Molly (Shokler) (1907-1990)—who taught at a Cincinnati public school—had just married when Daniel ran his Findlay Market store. They had a son, Kolman (1938-1996), and a daughter Phyllis (Herzig) (still living) together. Daniel’s was followed by another dry goods store—that of Adolph Saphir (1890-1979) who stayed at 110 W. Elder from 1940 to the early 1960s. Born in 1890 in Kovno, Lithuania (in what was then Russia), Adolph was a carpenter by training. He came to the U.S. in 1909 as a Jewish immigrant.
He was described on his World War I draft card as five feet, four inches tall with black hair and grey eyes. Upon immigration, he first traveled to Cincinnati where he set up a dry goods shop in Findlay Market at 103 W. Elder sometime around World War I. But he also spent time in Chicago since he married Rose Drury (1898-1988) there in 1922; she was also from Lithuania and had immigrated in 1900. They had two sons, Ephraim and Herschel, both born in Ohio, showing that the couple’s time in Chicago was short-lived.
At Findlay Market, he worked from 115 W. Elder during the Great Depression before moving his stock to 110 W. Elder in 1940. As Jewish immigrants, Adolph and Rose were active in their Roselawn synagogue and were supporters of Zionism: Rose was a founding member of the local chapter of Mizrachi Women, a Zionist organization established for and by Jewish women, and Adolph was a member in the Histadrut and Farband, both Zionist labor organizations. Adolph and Rose did well for themselves as long-standing Findlay Market merchants: only in 1964 did he retire. He passed away in 1979 and his wife in 1988.
Schreiber Poultry, run by Ben Schreiber (1906-1986), came next at 110 W. Elder, lasting at 110 W. Elder until 1985. Ben and his wife Sylvia Z. (Zukerman) (1920-2012) owned the building from 1965 to 1985. Born in Russia in 1907, Ben immigrated in either 1913 or 1914 to the U.S. He was one of nine children and, like many other Jewish families, the Schreibers first lived in the West End and then later Avondale. His father Samuel (1872-1923) was a poultry dealer, and by Ben’s early twenties, he and his three older brothers had followed his father’s footsteps.
Ben was married to Sylvia Zukerman, originally from Dayton, Ohio, who went to the University of Cincinnati for her B.S.—in an era when not that many women even attended college. She then worked for the state of Ohio, helping to staff factories and businesses gearing up for World War II production levels. She attempted to join the Women’s Army Corp (WAC) during World War II, but her supervisor vetoed her application since she was too much of an asset at work. She later taught middle and high school in Cincinnati while Ben dealt in poultry.
In 1985, Ben and Sylvia sold 110 W. Elder to Michael Luken. Unfortunately, 110 W. Elder made local news in 1988 when, under Luken’s ownership, a three-year-old who lived there was lead-poisoned by falling plaster ceiling paint chips. The building was in a sorry state at this point—condemned by the city, even. Luken had received court orders to fix up the building, but renovation work tallied to $10,000 and he lacked the rental income to spend that much. He tried to evict the single mother and her five children living there as a way to prevent any negative health consequences to the children. That was not legally permissible.
The storefront sat vacant for a number of years until 2001 when Madison’s moved in and has remained there since. Run by Bryan and Carolyn Madison, the grocery specialized in local produce from the beginning when they served fruits and vegetables from their own 100-acre Adams County farm which they purchased after Bryan retired from P&G. Matthew Wirtz—of Urban Studio Architecture and Development—purchased the building in 2006. He and his wife Jennifer recently renovated 1720 Pleasant Street nearby Findlay Market.