Biography of Henry G. Schaefer
Cuyahoga County, OH Biographies

HENRY G. SCHAEFER is one of the native sons of Cleveland who have here won high place in connection with industrial and commercial enterprise and who have stood exponent of most loyal and progressive citizenship. He is vice president and general manager of the Gustav Schaefer Wagon Company, which contributes materially to the prestige of Cleveland as a manufacturing and districting center.

Mr. Schaefer was born in Cleveland on October 4, 1878, and his appreciation and loyalty to his native city has been shown not only in his continuous residence here, his association with business affairs of important order and his general spirit of enterprise but also in his marked civic liberality and progressiveness His father, Gustav Schaefer, has been one of the well known and highly esteemed citizens of the west side of Cleveland for more than half a century, and he is now one of the substantial and venerable citizens of the Ohio metropolis.

Gustav Schaefer was born at Willmenrode, Nassau, Germany, in June, 1845, and while still a school boy he there worked in his father's wagon shop. At the age of fifteen years he initiated a four years' apprenticeship to the blacksmith's trade, and at the age of nineteen years he was the owner of a shop in his home town. He carefully saved his earnings, and thus he was not without a measure of financial fortification when he left his native land, in 1866, shortly after the celebration of his twenty first birthday anniversary, he severed the home ties and set forth to establish himself in the United States. He landed in the port of New York City, and he passed two years in the national metropolis, where he readily found employment in various carriage shops and factories. In 1868 he came to Cleveland, and here he continued to work as a journeyman at his trade until 1880, when he formed a partnership with Henry Eckhart and engaged in the manufacturing of carriages and wagons at 4180 Lorain Avenue. Seven years later this partnership was dissolved and the business was carried on by Gustav Schaefer until the year 1913. In this year the concern was incorporated and is now conducted under the title of the Gustav Schaefer Wagon Company, and is now one of the large concerns of its kind in Ohio. From the beginning the enterprise was based on excellence of products and fair and honorable dealings, and expansion was a matter of natural sequence. Gustav Schaefer, the founder, still retains the office of president of the company, though he retired from the active management in the year of the company's incorporation. A resourceful, industrial and reliable business man and loyal citizen, he has wrought well in all of the relations of life and commands secure place in popular respect. His wife, whose maiden name was Mary Maschmeyer, was born in Hanover, Germany, and was a young woman when, after the death of her parents, she came to the United States, her marriage having occurred within a short time after her arrival in Cleveland, and she being now (1923) in her seventy sixth year. Mr. and Mrs. Schaefer are devout communicants of the Lutheran Church.

The earlier educational discipline of Henry G. Schaefer was acquired in the Lutheran parochial schools and was supplemented by a course in business college. He then found employment in his father's establishment, and he has been closely identified with the development and upbuilding of the business, of which he has been the executive head since 1913. The Gustav Schaefer Wagon Company has kept pace with modem business, and its extensive plant is now largely given over to the manufacturing of automobile bodies, besides which the company controls a substantial business in the distribution of automobile tires. The present main building of the plant is a four story brick structure and was erected in 1914. at 4166-4180 Lorain Avenue. In 1918 the company erected a modern brick factory building of one story and 175 by 50 feet in dimensions, this being situated on Fulton Court, in the rear of the main building. This second building is utilized principally for the pressing on of Goodrich solid motortruck tires, for which the Schaefer Company are sole distributors in Cuyahoga County. The same building also figures as headquarters for the metal department, which is fully equipped for hammering and forming aluminum to be used as panels on motor bus bodies. Here also is the machine shop for the handling of all general work, its mechanical equipment being of the most approved and modern order. In this department is handled much of the work pertaining to the manufacturing of the Schaefer power winches, powder. log loaders and roll off lumber bodies, which constitute an important part of the output of the establishment. In 1920 the company purchased 367 feet of frontage on Train Avenue, the land extending back to the tracks of the New York Central Railroad. On this site was erected a three story brick building and two lumber storage buildings, each 50 by 150 feet in dimensions. Here has been supplied also a railroad siding adequate to handle from six to eight cars simultaneously. The lumber department of the business is now centered at this location, and here the Schaefer Company has (spring of 1924) in storage more than 1,000,000 feet of first quality hardwood lumber, all air seasoned. The company does not permit the use of any kiln dried lumber in any of its manufacturing, and the organization as a whole exemplifies the high standards set by the honored founder of the business. In 1921 the company erected a second building on Fulton Court, and this is used for the parking of the automobiles of officials and employes of the company. No labor troubles have ever come to this concern, though its policy has always been in the operating of open American shops. Many of its employes have been in its service more than thirty years, and this statement bears its own significance.

Henry G. Schaefer has at all times manifested lively interest in the civic and material welfare of his native city, and has shown this in his loyal civic stewardship. He was largely influential in bringing about the holding of the exposition in Edgewater Park in 1918, and was president of the organization which brought this project to success. In 1918 he was president of the Cleveland Chamber of Industry, and as president of the Lorain Business Association he was instrumental in providing the "white way" lighting system for the west side of the city. In January, 1921, Mr. Schaefer was elected president of the Lutheran Hospital Association, and in this office he was a leader in the movement that resulted in the erection of the fine new hospital building, which was dedicated in July, 1922, $325,000 having been expended for building and equipment of this noble and modern institution, which has always been self sustaining and which gives a service of invaluable order.

He was one of the organizers and is president of the Prudential Savings & Loan Company, which initiated business December 1, 1920, one of the chief functions of this corporation being in the assisting of worthy persons to build for themselves desirable homes, the company financing such laudable enterprises and giving a general supervision to the building of the houses for its clients. The assets of this progressive corporation are already in excess of $400,000. Mr. Schaefer is one of the active and valued members of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, the Cleveland Chamber of Industry, the local Kiwanis Club, the Cleveland Automobile Club, the American Automobile Association, and the Ohio Motor Truck Club. He and his wife are communicants of the Lutheran Church. Mrs. Schaefer is a daughter of the late John and Henrietta Krueger, of Cleveland. Mr. and Mrs. Schaefer have one daughter, Hilda, and she is the wife of William E. Strauss, who is associated with the Gustav Schaefer Wagon Company.

A History of Cuyahoga County
and the City of Cleveland
By: William R. Coates
The American Historical Society
Chicago and New York, 1924

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