Tuesday, March 12, 2013

getting to know the Schotls

The Schotls        

Franz “Frank” Schotl:  1887-1941

Rose Kunshier Schotl:   1891-1969

Martin J.:  1912-1980 

Lawrence J.:  1914-1932

Leonard J.:  1916-1984

Bernice M.:  1918-1985

Pearl M.:  1920-1997

Herbert J.:  1923-1997


My Mother, Bernice Margaret Schotl, was born in Forest Lake, Minnesota on Feb. 21, 1918.  She was the first girl, and the last of the children of Rose Kunshier Schotl and Francis "Frank” Schotl to be born there.  She was preceded by brothers, Martin, Lawrence, and Leonard who were also born in Forest Lake.
Poultry Pluckers
The family moved to 28 E. Maryland,  8th Ward of St. Paul, in 1920 where they were renters for many years.  The two young ones, Pearl and Herb, were born there.  Grandpa Frank's occupation was listed in some of the Saint Paul City Directories as a woodworker but he is usually listed as a cook.   We know that Grandma worked at a variety of jobs including in an iron foundry and as a poultry plucker or dresser.

 The family was active at St. Bernard's Catholic Church and some baptismal records are available.  We have not been able to establish that any of the children went to class at the parish school.  Every indication is that they attended the local public schools.  Both Smith and North End Schools were within walking distance.  Any high school education would have been at Washington High School, but the schooling for most, stopped at grade 8.  

Lawrence was a young son who was said to have a possible career in professional baseball. He was struck by an automobile and killed near the Rice and Lawson playground where he had been playing ball with his buddies.  It was left to Mom, who was in the area, to run home and give the news to Grandma Rose.  The year was 1932 and Lawrence, age 18, was buried in  Calvary Catholic Cemetery on Front Street

Frank Schotl

 No occupation is given for Grandpa Frank in the 1940 directory and my guess is that, because of illness, he could no longer work. He would die the next year, February 22. 1941, of heart disease according to his death certificate.  The funeral home serving the family was Dunstan located at 1061 Rice Street.  He was buried near his son Lawrence at Calvary Cemetery.   Rose and Frank had moved and were living, at the time of his death, at 1561 Jackson Street.   This is the little house where Grandma would stay almost to the end of her life.


The Rice Street area had become a destination for many in the Austro-Hungarian community who were moving off the farms and taking jobs in the city.  St. Bernard's Catholic Church, with it's unique double spires, was a focus for social, religious and educational activity.  Many of the original founders came from the Deutsch Ungarn, a German ethnic region in what is now western Hungary.  They called themselves "Rice-Streeters" and were proud of their working class neighborhood.  Many worked locally as shopkeepers or tradesmen while others took the street-car to jobs at the American Hoist and Derrick, the various breweries or in the various railroad yards. 

According to the 1940 Federal Census, the oldest son, Martin was living at  120 Woodbridge Street, Ward 8, St. Paul, Minnesota.  His occupation is given as baker.   Having married Anna Peck he is listed as son-in-law in the household of Mary Peck.  Anna and Martin's son Kenneth was born in 1939.  The house is still there though extensively remodeled and with a stucco exterior.

Also listed as members of the household at that time are Anna's brothers Joseph and Michael.  Joseph, at age 23, is a meter repairer for the Northern States Power and Light Co.  Michael, at age 21, is listed as a "new worker".

Leonard is listed as son-in-law to head of household who is Gustina Horwath. Gustina is a widow and is employed with the WPA Sewing Project as a power machine operator.  Their address is 137 W. Jessamine, St. Paul MN.   He is married to Appalonia Horwath and they have two daughters, Shirley and Janice (Janis) living with them.   According to the census he is an unemployed bartender while Apple works as a "pea sorter". 
Bernice married Reynold Glaeve in 1938 and set up house-keeping at 65 Garfield Street.  In  1940, Pearl was 19, and doing factory work in a can company (American Can). She was still living with her parents on East Maryland.  Herb at age 17, was also still living at home.  He is listed as "new worker" but remains unemployed. (more on their romances and the consequences  thereof in a later blog)

Remember the "Grumpy Old Men" movies.  In the second movie, Jake and Melanie visit a bakery to review the wedding cake that their fathers selected. Both are dismayed when they learn that it will have a fishing theme. This scene was filmed at Tschida's Bakery on Rice Street. Tschida's had been THE bakery in Saint Paul since the 1930s.  

                                                                                                                                                 Location: Tschida's Bakery,

                                                                                                                                                            1116 Rice Street,
                                                                                                                                                             Saint Paul, MN
Unfortunately Tshida's sold their last pastry on Saturday, May 19, 2012.  It was the  final day for the family-owned bakery on St. Paul's North End. The doughnuts and bismarcks were long gone before it closed at 3 p.m., its bakery cases were empty.
reading the Patrica Hampl memoir, The Florist's Daughter, not only am I struck by the similarities in our St. Paul families in virtually the same time frame but I find so many of her observations to be truer than true.
"Better to Stay with the photograph of the scene before the earthlings mess everything up" ...Patricia Hampl 

And so true for Rice Street. It is no longer the vibrant and alive neighborhood that it was for my Mother's family. It is now a street of vacancies and run-downs. The new renovations all seem to be covering something over, bricking in or boarding up. All seem a distraction from how that once pride-of-ownership showed on every block.   It was a punch in the gut during our last trip, and even more so, as I watched a 7 minute virtual tour from Rice and Mississippi to the juncture with Larpenteur Avenue.

next time: somehow they meet

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