The Early Groceries at 39 Elder
Beginning in 1860, John F. Kruse and his younger brother Henry operated a dry goods store at 103 W. Elder, then numbered 39 Elder; they also utilized the storefront of 101 W. Elder, or 37 Elder. They were from Hannover, born to Bernard (1794-1881) and Margaret (Bosche) (1798-1871) in 1825 and 1833, respectively. Immigration records show Henry coming over in 1846, so presumably, his family was with him for this migration.
Then, from the late 1860s to the 1890s, German immigrant Frank Astroth (1821-1892) ran a grocery store at 39 Elder. Born in Prussia in 1821, he was married to a woman from Hannover, Margaret (Aufdenbeger) (1831-1909). In 1892, Frank died and was buried at the Vine Street Hill Cemetery. His grocery ceased with his death.
Kallendorf’s Dry Goods
Beginning in the mid-1890s, Christian Kallendorf (1851-1923) moved his dry goods business from 105 W. Elder—where he had operated since the 1880s—to 103 W. Elder.
Born in 1851 in Prussia, he immigrated to the U.S. in 1871. He married Friedrich Ulhmann’s daughter Mary (1854-1912); Friedrich was the proprietor of a grocery at 105-107 W. Elder in the 1860s and early 1870s. Christian and Mary had four children, 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 105 W. 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 and his family to 103 W. Elder by the last years of the 19th century and stayed there until his death in 1923. His wife died in 1912 at 103 W. Elder, making Christian’s last years those of a widower.
The Interwar Years
Around World War I, 103 W. Elder served as one of several locations of the L. Weinberg Baking Company. Throughout the 1920s, Adolph Sapir (1890-1979)—initially with a partner, Henry Posner (1889-1977)—ran a dry goods shop. Meanwhile, individuals continued to rent rooms upstairs, usually two or three rooms together. Ads noted that 103 W. Elder boasted indoor and private bathrooms, an unusual perk for many Over-the-Rhine buildings in these years.
Adolph initially worked with Henry Posner, teaming up for Posner & Saphir at 103 W. Elder. Henry was a Jewish immigrant like Adolph, born in 1889 in Odessa in what is now the Ukraine (then the Russian Empire). He immigrated to the U.S. in 1905 with his family and lived downtown and then in East Walnut Hills with his father Simon, his mother Meriam and his six siblings. His father ran a dry goods and men’s furnishings store on West Court Street which most members of the household helped to run. Henry later married a woman named Anna (1893-1978). Adolph and Rose Saphir did well for themselves as Findlay Market merchants, eventually owning property in the West End.
In 1933, Adolph moved his operation to 115 W. Elder, and by World War II, Adolph transferred his storefront to 110 W. Elder on the Market where he remained into the early 1960s. His business at that point specialized in women’s clothing. Only in 1964 did he retire. He passed away in 1979 and his wife in 1988.
After Saphir’s, 103 W. Elder was home to Ferdinand Reverman’s hardware store beginning in 1933. Ferdinand grew up in Covington with his siblings, Regina, Elizabeth and August—the children of German immigrants Ferdinand and Louisa. Their father was a cigar-maker. As a young man, Ferdinand worked for Kruse Hardware at Carlisle and Baymiller Streets in the West End. His future wife—Eleanor (Volz) (1902-1986)—also worked in a hardware store as a young woman. She was the daughter of German immigrants; her father, a wood-worker, worked for a piano factory.
Federal censuses noted that Eleanor did not attend school and that her family spoke German, not English. As a married couple, Ferdinand and Eleanor lived in Westwood where they raised their four children, Eugene, Dorothy, Laverne and Ferdinand Jr. Eleanor’s father George also lived with them. By 1935, Ferdinand had given up running his own business and was instead employed again by Kruse Hardware at Sixth and Baymiller Streets in the West End. He was, in his own words, a short man with grey eyes and brown hair.
Thereafter, Harry Anisch (1902-1999) rented the storefront for his variety store for one year. Then, in the late 1930s, the first floor was remodeled to accommodate a dairy store. Bauer Dairy Products used the space for three years, and then Robert K. Schuh took over, selling his eggs and cheese there. Frank A. Renaker (1889-1956) ran a confectionery briefly out of 103 W. Elder during World War II.
Born in Harrison County, Kentucky, in 1889, he married Mary Magdalena (Walser) (1886-1970) in the fall of 1913 in Lucas County by Toledo, Ohio. She was from Greendale, Indiana, in Dearborn County and spoke German growing up—and preferred it, even in adulthood; her parents were German immigrants.
Frank was by no means a lifelong candy maker. He worked in several trades throughout his life. He grew up in Cynthiana, Kentucky, one of six children of S.A. and Nettie Renaker; he worked for his father’s produce store as a young man. He moved to Richmond, Kentucky, by World War I where he ran his own poultry and egg business and later was in charge of a packing house there.
He and Mary moved to Norwood sometime during the early Great Depression. City directories listed his profession as “oils” and “filling station,” showing that he managed a gas station. His 1942 World War II draft card then listed his employer as Buckeye Roofing and Siding Company. His time at Findlay Market was thus divergent from his previous work.
He passed away in 1956 and was buried in his wife’s hometown. She passed away in 1970.
In the early and mid-20th century, Frank and Anna Re owned 103 W. Elder, along with 105 W. Elder. The couple lived at 103 W. Elder in the 1920s, ‘30s and ‘40s. After Frank’s death in 1954, Anna retained ownership of both buildings until 1963.
Anna Re (Catanzaro) (1894-1963) 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—Frank Re & Company down on Sycamore Street—and with his wife purchased 103 and 105 W. Elder.
In the early 1930s, under their ownership, 103 W. Elder housed a bakery run by the Res: newspapers reported a small child stealing chocolate cake from Frank’s business there.
The Postwar Years at 103 W. Elder
From the late 1940s until the mid-1960s, Findlay Market shoppers could have found Moeller’s Dairy Bar at 103 W. Elder, run by Robert B. (1918-1981) and Anne Moeller (1920-2006). Robert was born in Connersville, Indiana, in 1918 to William (1892-1979) and Theresa (Kilburg) (1898-1982), people of German background.
Between 1935 and 1940, he moved to Cincinnati. His future wife, Anna Mae (Sierveld), was born in Cincinnati in 1920 but spent her childhood and young adulthood in West Virginia and Virginia where she first married Howland Rodney Gary in 1939. The following year, records list her as single.
She then married Robert Moeller and had a daughter with him. Like many others in the postwar era, Robert and Anna lived in a house built right after the war; theirs was constructed in 1948 on Allview Drive in between Westwood and Covedale.
In the summer of 1960, indicative of the ongoing civil rights movement, Anne was sued by the Cincinnati branch of the NAACP after she had refused to serve its executive board secretary, Martha Holt, and three others at 103 W. Elder. The charges were dropped when Anne ceased such discriminatory practices.
The Feldhues family owned 103 W. Elder at this point. Virginia R. Feldhues (1925-1984) and her older brother Norbert (1919-2012) ran a butcher shop next door at 105 W. Elder (which they also owned) from the mid-1960s until the early 2000s. The Feldhues family retained these buildings 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. From 1966 through the 1980s, Marion’s Fine Foods & Bakery Goods occupied the storefront at 103 W. Elder. Marion Stout (1899-1981) had previously operated a grocery at 123 W. Elder at Findlay Market from the mid-1950s until the mid-1960s, and prior to that, was an accountant with People’s Packing House.
Marion Stout, born in 1899, was the son of Benjamin Franklin Stout and Emma (Elliott). Married to Sylvia (Tennenbaum) (1900-1987), a woman from Poland, since the summer of 1928, Marion had two sons, Irwin (1930-2015) and Robert (1932-2001), with her. Marion got his start in the meat business by working as an auditor for a meat company during the Great Depression, and by World War II, he owned his own business.
Like others who ran a business nearby, Marion was involved in the Market, including the Findlay Market Association, and in local civic and religious activities. He was, for instance, a part of the Chochem Club, a Jewish fraternal and philanthropic group that, among other things, helped to raise money for mentally handicapped children.
As his son Irwin aged, he joined Marion in running the Findlay Market business. After Marion’s Fine Foods, 103 W. Elder was briefly home to a beauty shop in late 1980s before it sat vacant for a number of years. Most recently, Cincinnati Mind Body Studio, a Pilates and yoga studio, opened its doors there.