Buffalo and its German Community, Pages 311 - 315

Biographies for Rudolph Armbrüster, Baptist Kahabka, Louis Zinke, Fred W. Gerking, Philip Braun, Charles Keller, and Peter Wenner

Rudolph Armbrüster

Mr. Rudolph Armbrüster was born in the Rhineland. After completing his education at various technical high schools he became a civil engineer who specialized in surveying. Mr. Armbrüster decided to emigrate to America in 1902. He landed in New York on October 13th of the same year. His first job was with an architectural firm in New Jersey, where he stayed until April 1904. On April 18, 1904 he came to Buffalo, where he was offered a job as cartographer for the Matthew-Northrup Works. He's been employed there every since. First he was a draftsman and assistent superintendent of the Map Department. As one of the most capable cartographers in the land he was able to help the firm establish a good reputation as one of the best of its kind in the country especially in the field of geographical map production. The firm enjoyed a reputation similar to that of Justus Perthes in Germany. Mr. Armbrüster was instrumental in building that firm's reputation as well.

Mr. Armbrüster is a member of the National Geographic Society in Washington D.C., the East Side Buffalo German Association, the Young Siegfried Lodge No. 598 of the German Order of the Harugari, the Forum Club, and other associations. On October 5, 1898 he married Miss Maria Schiffer. The happy union has produced 4 children - Meta, Erna, Ralph, and Julius.

Baptist Kahabka

The owner of the magnificent Teutonia Park on Fillmore Avenue, Mr. Baptist Kahabka, was born on August 7, 1849 in Waldau, Bavaria. He was the son of master carpenter Johan Kahabka and his wife Sabina. As was usually the case he attended the public school in his district and after leaving school he apprenticed in the shoemaker's trade. By the age of 18 in 1867 he came to Buffalo. Here he spent most of his time in the real estate business and he was crowned with such success that he was able to acquire Teutonia Park, which now requires his full attention. The park is used chiefly for large celebrations of associations and church groups. It's the only recreational area of its kind in the city and it's very easy to book an event there. The park is located at 1263 Fillmore Avenue.

Mr. Kahabka is a member of Our Lady of Sorrows Church, the C.M.B.A., the Knights of St. Stanislaus, the Harmonia Support Association, and the Bavarian National Assembly.

A year after his arrival in Buffalo, 1868, he married Josephina Oestereicher. Six children have come from the happy union - John, Peter, Baptist, Anna-Maria, Karolina, and Appolona.

Caption under picture at upper right reads Rudolph Armbrüster

Louis Zinke

Mr. Louis Zinke, one of Buffalo's most prominent Germans, is the founder and manager of the Buffalo Sanitary Creamery. He was born on February 26th in Eisleben in the Province of Saxony. He was the son of sculptor Carl Zinke and his wife Auguste. He attended the public and trade schools, studied agriculture and chemistry and then took up the merchant's trade. He fulfilled his military obligation in Naumberg with the Magdeburg Rifle Batallion No. 4.

In 1893 he decided to emigrate to the land of infinite opportunities in order to carry out his various plans to the fullest. He established his home in Buffalo and worked as the manager of the large dairy of Herbert Wadsworth Ashentee in Geneseo. Later he worked in Warsaw, New York in a position which gave him the opportunity to test several of his planned improvements in the field of dairy operation. Those improvements proved useful. In 1904 he established the Buffalo Sanitary Creamery, which has brought him great success.

Mr. Zinke is a member of the Zoar Church. He is a prominent member of the Free Masons (Mystic Shrine), the Buffalo Orpheus, and many other associations. As a true German he is active in German intellectual pursuits and he enjoys the greatest respect in all circles.
Since January 23, 1886 he has been happily married to Marie, nee Luther, of Giersleben. The happy union has been blessed with 4 children: Herman, 22 years of age; Frank, 20; Anna, 17; Elfrida, 15. He lives with his family in a stately home at 2387 Bailey Avenue. His business is at 2389 - 2393 Bailey Avenue.

Fred. W. Gerking

Mr. Friedrich Wilhelm Gerking, the well known cigar maker and Alderman of the 19th Ward, is a true German, who has done much for the German community of the city of Buffalo and who will continue to do so. His prominent status in public life in one of the greatest and most rapidly growing cities in the Land of Opportunity was not one foreseen for him while he was in the cradle. He was born on February 8, 1861 in Kirchlengen, Westphalia. He was the son of master tailor Bernhard Gerking and his wife Elisabeth, nee Stork. He attended the public school in his district and apprenticed as a cigar maker. After working for several masters in his home city and other large cities and proving himself capable in the field he fulfilled his military obligation with the Lower Rhenish Fusilier Regiment No. 39.

Caption under picture at lower left reads Louis Zinke and wife

After his discharge he emigrated to America and first went to Lockport, N.Y., where he stayed with his aunt for 6 months. Then he went to Medina, where he worked at his trade for a year. After this he came to Buffalo and settled. That was December 1885. He worked for a year for Otto Kiekebusch and then went to the well known firm of H. & J. Breitwieser. He stayed here until 1893 when he decided to establish his own business. The excellent products he made, his integrity, and his dedication to his customers led to success from the start. Today his cigars are known throughout the city and can be purchased at better stores in the area.

Mr. Gerking has remained a good German. What is more he has always heralded to the German cause and offered time and money to advance the interests of the German community.

The best proof of the great respect and admiration he has within the community came in 1911 when he was nominated on the Republican ticket for the position of Alderman of the 19th Ward. He was elected by a great majority despite the strong Democratic presence in the Ward.

Mr. Gerking has shown that he is the right man for the job. He takes his duties seriously. He has always been a model representative for the German community. He is the only German alderman in the city to have served in the German military. It was through his efforts that the citizens of the outer limits of the East Side have a beautiful park on Genesee Street at Scajaquada Creek and that this park bears the name of one of our finest German poets, Friedrich Schiller. Mr. Gerking has established a lasting memorial with Schiller Park. He was alone in campaigning for this and it was his constant and energetic advocacy for it that finally precluded failure.

Naturally Mr. Gerking takes part in all German endeavors. He is a member of the East Buffalo German Warriors Society, which he founded and for which he served as president for 10 years. He's a member of the Old Homeland Nostalgia Club, of which he was founder and for which he was president for 7 years. He belongs to the Humboldt Benevolent Society for the Sick and Dying and many other organizations. Furthermore he is a member of the Benevolent Lodge No. 644, F.O.O.F., the Young Siegfried Lodge No. 598, D.O.H., and the Cigarmakers Union.
On October 29, 1886 he married Miss Anna Reinde. The happy union was blessed with 2 daughters: Anna and Laura. His cigar factory and residence are at 911 Northampton Street.

Caption under picture at upper right reads Fred. W. Gerking

Philip Braun

When one travels along Genesee Street, the main avenue for the German part of Buffalo, one reaches the city limits at a bridge, which spans over a small creek. To the north of that bridge at the bank of the creek one encounters a beautiful park full of shade trees, grass, and flower beds. One finds a dancehall and many pavillions and at the entrance to the park there is a magnificent guesthouse with bowling lanes. The owner of the park and recreational facility is Mr. Philip Braun, who took the locale over 2 years ago and promised to make it the most beautiful and popular park in Buffalo and the surrounding area. To an extent he has already accompished this.

Mr. Philip Braum was born on February 16, 1873 in Stein, which is near Pforzheim in beautiful Baden. He was the son of hotel owner Karl Braun and his wife. He attended the public school in Pforzheim and came to Buffalo at the age of 12 in 1884 with his parents and 3 siblings, Mrs. Louise Koch, Karl Braun, and Mrs. Frieda Schäfer. After attending the public schools here for many years he worked at various factories and machine shops. For the last 5 years of this time he worked for the New York Central Work Station. In 1898 he took over a tavern on Broadway, which he successfully ran until 1907. Then he went with his family to Los Angeles, California, where he stayed until May 1908. Once he realized the advantages there were to life in Buffalo he returned. Soon after he became the manager of the park on East Delaware Avenue. His sharp business sense recognized that this was no place to build a business as he envisioned it, so he relocated to Genesee Street between Scajaquada Creek and Floss Avenue, where there was an old grove. Twenty or thirty years ago picnics and German celebrations had taken place in the shadows of those trees. Mr. Braun envisioned that with the right artistic help and some determined effort the place could be turned into the ideal park.

Mr. Braun is a member of the Order of the Sons of Herman and the Odd Fellows. He's a member of the Teutonia Liederkranz, the Harugari Frohsinn, and other organizations. Furthermore he belongs to Jerusalem Evangelical Church. On November 10, 1896 he married Miss Catherine Barnowski. He is the father of 6 growing children: Edwin Philip, Charles Frank, William Henry, Herbert Adam, Violet Pearl Mary, and George Bertram. He lives with his family in the same building at 2090 Genesee Street.

Charles Keller

Mr. F. Charles Keller was born on February 18, 1868 in Neunkirchen by Saarbrücken in the Rhine Province. His parents, Fritz and Louise Keller, were respected townspeople.

Caption under picture at upper left reads Philip Braun

After he attended the local school he became a cigar maker. He arrived in America on November 30, 1889 in order to find a better standard of living in his trade than he could find in Germany. At first he went to Fort Wayne, Indiana where he worked for a year and a half at his trade. Then he came to Buffalo and settled. Here he established his own business, which over the course of the years has put him on a firm financial footing and earned him respect because of his ability, his hard work, and his ambition. His products can be found throughout the city.

In 1897 he married Miss Minnie Musal of Danzig, the daughter of respected parents, who operate a hat business here. In her Mr. Keller has found a true life companion and work comrade, who takes part in his business and his other affairs. She is president of the Ladies Division of the Harugari Frohsinn and she is an excellent solo singer. Mr. Keller, who is a member of the Harugari Frohsinn and other singing societies, is considered one of the best singers in the city and he is an excellent first tenor.

Peter Wenner

One of the most pleasant and popular German locations on Genesee Street, the main thoroughfare of Buffalo's Little Germany, is the tavern and restaurant at Number 479. It's managed by Mr. Peter Wenner. His wife, Mrs. Wenner, is a proper German housewife who also rules in the restaurant's kitchen. The establishment is a success which has yielded Mr. Wenner a fine reputation and enviable status.

*Mr. Peter Wenner was born on June 1, 1863 here in Buffalo. He was the son of master shoemaker Louis Wenner, who emigrated from Hessen-Darmstadt, and his wife Ottilie, nee Weissbeck. He attended the public schools and was employed in the saddlery business for 15 years. Then he successfully managed a grocery store for many years. After being employed at Beck's Brewery from 1908 to 1910 he established an inn. His friendly and courteous manner and his honest service led to success from the start and he enjoys a growing clientele.

Mr. Wenner is a respected member of the Harugari Frohsinn, the Teutonia Liederkranz, the Hessen-Darmstadt Support League, the Genesee Street Businessmens Association, and the Broadway Businessmens Bowling Club. Furthermore he is a member of the Oneida Lodge of the Order of the Orioles as well as the Order of the Iroquois, in which he held the position of treasurer for 10 years. Mr. Wenner is a staunch Republican and has been a poll inspector for 15 years.

On June 8, 1887 Mr. Peter Wenner married Miss Wilhelmine Unbehaun. The happy union has been blessed with 4 children: Peter L., Clara O., Howard, and William.

*German text for this part of the translation can be found on page 316 at Webpage 48.

Caption under picture at lower left reads Charles Keller and wife

Caption under picture at upper right reads Peter Wenner

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Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks
Revised September 9, 2005