THE J.M. SCHOTT & WILLIAM C. SCHOTT FAMILIES
Disclaimer: Please note that the J.M. and Wm. C. Schott families and their descendants have no relations or affiliations with Walter, Charles or Marge Schott. Marge was once the controversial owner of the Cincinnati Reds and a Buick dealership.
THE UNION OF THE RIEDLIN & SCHOTT FAMILIES
In 1914, William Charles (Will) Schott married Lucia (Lucy) Riedlin, the youngest daughter of William Riedlin, who operated and owned what became the Bavarian Brewing Co. from 1882 until 1919. Will was the son of Johan Michal (J.M.) Schott Schott who operated a Cincinnati cooperage he founded in the early 1870s. This union between the Riedlin and Schott families established an involvement in the Bavarian Brewery between 1882 and 1965, for over 83 years. The following provides some background about the J.M. Schott and William C. Schott families. The Wm. Riedlin Family is examined in another section.
J. M. SCHOTT
J.M. Schott emigrated from the Franconia area of Bavaria, Germany to America, arriving in New York City in July,1866. With a background in brewing and cooperage (barrel making) he found a job with Schaefer Brewing in the city where he arrived for about three years. It was there that he became friends with a son of Christian Moerlein, who was serving as an apprentice. Through this acquaintance, J.M. moved his family to Cincinnati around 1870 and obtained employment at the Morelein Brewing Co. in the Over-the-Rhine (OTR), living nearby. Apparently, he left Moerlein after just a year or two. By 1872, it appears J.M. may have been working on his own as a cooper and living on Pleasant Street in the OTR. By 1876, J.M. settled on the east side of Browne St. (now McMicken Avenue) between Tafel Street and Marshall Avenue. His family lived on the upper floor of a three-story building that he owned, while operating a saloon on the street level. J.M. established a cooperage firm next to the saloon in the late 1870s or early 1880s. All his sons eventually became part of the family business before his death in 1903, and they operated it into the late 1930s or early 1940s.
A Possible Early Schott & Riedlin Connection. It is curious that both J.M. Schott and William Riedlin arrived in Cincinnati possibly in the same year (1870) and both lived in the OTR. However, J.M. was about fifteen years older than William and had four children before William became married in 1877. Whether they knew each other before William moved to Covington, KY, in 1882 is unknown. Even though the OTR had thousands of inhabitants and some 300 saloons, it is possible that the two men may have been at least acquainted with each other in the 1870s as they both owned saloons. After William Riedlin became involved with the Bavarian Brewing Co. in the 1880s, it appears the brewery became a customer of the cooperage. This would have meant these two men would have had some familiarity with one another in the 1880s or 1890s, if not earlier. It is likely that Will Schott and Lucia Riedlin met through acquaintances who were directly or indirectly connected to their family businesses.
THE J.M. SCHOTT FAMILY
John Michael and Elise Schott had nine children, seven surviving childhood, including five sons and two daughters. Shown on the side photo left to right is; George, Lou, John Michael, John Michael, Jr., Dorothea (Dora), William C. (Will), Christian (Chris), Elizabeth (Elise) and Magdalena (Lena). There was a wide range in the age of the children of about 20 years. Dora was the only child born in Germany, in 1865. Chris and John were born in New York City in 1867 and 1869. The other children were born in Cincinnati. Will wast the youngest child born in 1884. The photo on the side was taken in the early 1890s.
THE THREE YOUNGEST SCHOTT SONS
From left to right is a photo of William, George and Lou, taken around 1890. They were born in 1879, 1881 and 1884, respectfully. Their older brothers, Chris and John Jr., were born in 1867 and 1869. So, the difference in the ages between the younger and older Schott boys from 10 to 17 years. Essentially, the three younger boys grew up together making them closer to one another another than to their older brothers. When the younger brothers had some free time in the summer, they would go down to the Miami and Erie Canal nearby just a couple blocks from their home and go swimming. (Today, this canal is now occupied by Central Parkway.) In particular, Louis and William became especially close friends and business associates. However, the oldest, Chris, may have been closer than John to their younger brothers, particularly in business affairs. Chris named each of his fours sons after his brothers.
William Charles Schott, the youngest of the Schott clan, known by family and friends as Will, was born on January 3, 1884. The pictures on the left are when he was at the age of about 3 and 10 years. Will was born almost 20 years after his parents had their first child and 18 years after they arrived in the U.S. from Germany. By the time Will was a boy, his father and older brothers had secured economic and housing stability for their family. However, like everyone in the family, Will was expected to contribute. As a boy, he would clean the bar, including the brass spittoons. As he became older, he was a bartender. (See the photo below right.) Will also worked for the cooperage firm when he was in school, and afterwards.
THE J. M. SCHOTT SALOON
The saloon and building where Will lived and worked with his family was located at the northeast corner of Tafel and Browne St. (the later street is now McMicken Avenue). This three story building is shown in the lower left photo below. Even though this brick building no longer exists, the frame building on the right in the lower left photo still remains. This location is west and downhill from the University of Cincinnati and just north of the OTR. Above the entrance to the saloon, carved in stone, was the name J.M. Schott and the date of the building. The main corner entrance to the building lead to the bar shown lower right photo. Tending the bar is Will. Because of the relationship J.M. Schott developed with the Moerlein family when he arrived in New York and in Cincinnati, his saloon featured Moerlein Beer, which is more clearly seen when selecting and enlarging the below right photo.
THE J. M. SCHOTT & SONS COOPERAGE CO.
After learning the cooperage trade from his father, and having some brewing experience in Frankfurt, Germany, J.M. Schott initially found work as a cooper when he emigrated to America. He continued in that trade when he moved to Cincinnati and worked for Moerline Brewing Co. His work with Morelein only lasted for a couple of years before, until probably the early 1870s, before he decided to go into business for himself. His first venture may have been as a saloon keeper. However, shortly thereafter he obtained a loan and began a cooperage business. Not long afterwards, in the 1880s, his sons Chris and John joined him. In order to retain good workers, his wife, Elise, along with their daughter, Dora, provided hearty lunches for the men working next door at the cooperage. The cooperage business grew. By the 1890s, all of J.M.'s sons were part of the cooperage firm, and it was reflected in the name of the firm.
From the top row, left to right, the cooperage made standard beer barrels containing 31 gallons. However they also made other vessels, including large storage containers, or vats, containing 300 barrels. These are shown on the top row. (See Barrels, Kegs...)The cooperage sold an distributed a large volume of products within a multi-state region. This required a large inventory of lumber, as illustrated by the on the left in the middle row. As part of their operations, and to prevent fires, the firm had a large water tank, depicted on the far right. One of the vats was shipped to a brewery in Columbus, OH, shown in the lower left. The men that worked at the cooperage around 1900 are shown in the lower right photo below. Seated in the center and next to the smallest boy is J.M. Schott with his grandchildren. To the left are his oldest sons, Chris and John, Jr. His youngest son, Will, is seated on the far right and may have still been in high school. After J.M. Schott died in 1903, his sons continued the business, as shown by the photo in the center taken in 1908.
A story Will shared with his family while working at the cooperage one summer while he was in school, around July 4th, was that an undetected rocket from some celebratory fireworks, apparently landed in their lumber yard. It was undetected and smoldered for about a day, before causing a fire and considerable damage. As a result, every year around Independence Day, he and another brother had to be vigilant staying up throughout the nights and early mornings, prepared to put out fires in their lumber caused by such fireworks. Even when Will was much older and no longer involved with the cooperage business, he was never fond of July 4th because of this experience.
The cooperage business became successful through the early 1900s. However, beginning in 1919 Prohibition had changed the prospects for this business for the coming decade. Fortunately the brothers had expanded into another complimentary business involving galvanized metal products more than a decade earlier, as mentioned below. Still, there was some demand continued for wood barrels through the 1920s and into the 1930s. Not until the early 1940s did metal barrels begin to replace those with wood. It is unknown specifically when the Schott Brothers closed their cooperage business, but it was likely in the late 1930s or early 1940s, when it became apparent metal barrels would replace the need for most wood barrels.
THE CINCINNATI GALVANIZING CO.
In 1905, as the cooperage grew, the brothers decided to enter the galvanizing business that would allow them to make and coat the hoops or metal rings that held their barrels and other containers together, as well as make metal containers from sheet metal. Their venture to enter the galvanizing business began next to the cooperage business with an initial investment of $20,000. This company was located within a block of their cooperage business. Evidently, the galvanizing business was more difficult than perceived by Will's older brothers. When metal hoops were first dipped into the galvanizing pit with molten metal, apparently they burst into flames. After overcoming some initial fires rather quickly, they continued to have other challenges with this business over the first couple of years.
Will's family retained some of his medical notes with illustrations and lab equipment. These were donated to the Winkler Center for the History of Health Professionals at U.C.
WILL ENTERS MEDICAL SCHOOL
Will was an excellent student at school. With his father and four brothers working for the cooperage, his family supported Will's interest in academics. However, he still found time to work at the family's cooperage when he was in high school and college. He was the first member of his family to graduate from college. The photo on the side is around the time he revived an A.B. degree in 1905 from the University of Cincinnati (U.C.). After graduating from college, he entered the Medical College at U.C. starting in the fall of 1905. His medical instruments are shown below, along with an invoice for annual session in 1906-7, which was only seventy dollars.
In 1908, Will dropped out of the U.C. Medical College while nearing the completion of his degree. The other brothers, who had no advanced education, evidently needed their younger brother, who had some studies in chemistry, to provide assistance with technical knowledge needed for their galvanizing business. This probably explains why Will became General Manager of the galvanizing business shortly after he began working in it.
As noted, Will and all of his brothers were active in both their family cooperage business and a galvanizing business they established in 1906. Will's business cards for both of these businesses that date from around 1910 are shown on the left.
WM. C. SCHOTT & LUCIA RIEDLIN
In 1910, Wililam C. Schott had become acquainted with Lucia Riedlin. Both Will and Lucia were the youngest children in their families. Will gave Lucia (or Lucy) a mint Gold Eagle coin for her birthday, which she never used, but retained as a keepsake. (It still remains in the Schott family along with a note from Lucy explaining the gift.) Four years later, on September 30, 1914, Lucia Riedlin married Will (as Lucy called him) at the William Riedlin home, at 925 Main Street in Covington, KY. Their wedding pictures are below. A reception followed with 100 people attending their reception at the Bavarian Rathskeller. The couple honeymooned in Havana, Cuba, and a passenger list on a ship that departed from New York City shows their names. The first home the couple lived in after their marriage was on the corner of University Court and Strait Street next to the University of Cincinnati (U.C.), just up the hill from where Will had lived and worked.
THE BROTHERS DIVERSIFIED
INTO OTHER BUSINESSES
SCHOTT BROTHERS REALTY was established around 1916. It may have begun with some speculative attempts to acquire some properties in the vicinity of expected stops for the Cincinnati Subway System. Plans for this system began in 1910, a bond issuance for it was raised in 1916 and construction that began in 1920. However, by 1929, after several miles of tunnels were constructed without any tracks laid and the Great Depression began, work ceased and the project was abandoned. It is believed the brothers disposed of these parcels near the subway system that was never completed In the 1930s.
However, the primary activity of Schott Brothers Realty was with acquiring and developing residential tracts in the early 1920s. A couple of these developments involved the Elm Park subdivision in Bond Hill and Cypress Gardens off of Clifton Avenue. Besides offering lots, occasionally the brothers built some homes that they sold in these subdivisions. Often the architectural design was of a Tudor style with a stone or brick on the first level and light colored stucco and dark wood on the second level. These homes had a similar style to the home Will built in Green Township called Pine Meer between 1922 and1924. Sometime later, the brothers acquired an industrial building several stories in height in downtown Cincinnati located off of Central Parkway, which became the Schott Building. In the mid 1940s they also acquired tract lots that they sold in Old Homestead located in Huron, Ohio, on Lake Erie.
KBFE RADIO in Cincinnati (not to be confused with the television series WKRP in Cincinnati) was acquired by the Schott Brothers as radio emerged around 1920. Difficulties with radio at that time was that the lower radio frequencies limited radio frequency reception, especially for areas on lower terrain. After becoming somewhat disappointed that radio did not develop as quickly as they anticipated, the brothers sold the station after a few years. Somewhat later, this station was acquired in 1935 by a local newspaper, the Cincinnati Post. The call letters of the station were changed to WCPO to reflect this changed ownership. This remains one of the major radio stations in Cincinnati today. The call letters KFBE were reused by a public station in Flint Michigan beginning in 1953. Trough a series of sales beginning in 1997 through 2011, this station now operates in Nashville, TN.
EXPANDING THE CINCINNATI GALVANIZING CO.
By 1920, the galvanizing business had expanded and their plant next to the cooperage business was physically constrained. The Schott brothers decided to build a new plant in a burgeoning industrial area of Cincinnati along Spring Grove Avenue. A picture of the ground breaking of this venture in 1923, with Elise Schott, the mother of the brothers in the center, is shown on the left. From left to right are: Lou Schott, George Schott, his daughter Elizabeth, and Will Schott. The others are unidentified. The plant expanded over time and it employed about 150 people by the 1940s. Some photos of the plant are shown below.
The picture to the right is an aerial photo of the Cincinnati Galvanizing Plant taken around 1940. The plant primarily made 30 gallon waste cans, buckets and paper baskets, besides some some novelty items like the King Seamless Press Potato Ricer. Their products were sold not only by many local Cincinnati hardware and department stores, but also by some regional and even some by some national firms, like Sears. For some ads of their product line in the 1940s, please select this link.
The photo above left, is a photo possibly in the 1930s of an exhibit featuring their World's Largest Ash Can at a fair, which was marketed under the brand name "King." Next to it is a photo of the manufacturing section of the plant that molded sheets of metal into trash cans in the 1940s. The photo on the far right is the entire group of workers at the company's annual Holiday Party, also in the 1940s.
In 1922, William and Lucia Riedlin Schott began building a home on the west side of Cincinnati. This was a few years after their eldest son Bill became inflicted with polio and about the time their second son, Louis, was born. Rather than raise a family next to a university, they believed it would be better to raise their family in a country setting. The home they built became an estate known as Pine Meer, located at 5330 Cleves-Warsaw Pike, in Green Township, OH. Will was very close to his brother, Lou, and named his youngest son after him. Lou built a home just a mile away from Pine Meer at Neeb Road and Wynnburne Avenue across from the Western Hills Country Club. They often socialized together with their friends at this club.
Left to right is the west side entrance gate to Pine Meer, the home as viewed from street, and Lucia with her two sons in the lates 1920s. This estate is reduced in size from nearly 100 acres to only a few acres today.
THE SCHOTT FAMILY INVOLVEMENT IN THE BAVARIAN BREWING CO.
Before moving to Pine Meer, Lucia Riedlin's family owned and operated this brewery located in Covington, KY, for nearly four decades. After Lucia's, mother, two brothers and father had passed away by 1919 just before Prohibition. At that time, her husband Will became involved with former brewery property and other Riedlin assets, along with her sisters husband. By 1922, when Pine Meer was being built, Will became President of the Riedlin Co., which included all of the brewery property and some other Riedlin properties. Unable to be profitable by using the brewery to make non-alcoholic beverages, the brewery equipment was sold, the brewery buildings were closed and the Riedlin Co. was liquidated in 1925. However, the main brewery parcels were acquired by Lucia. (See the Riedlin Co.s & Prohibition.)
The following decade the brewery sat idle. But with the repeal of Prohibition in 1932 there was an effort to reopen the Bavarian Brewery. The husband of Lucia's niece was interested in owning and operating it. With the financial assistance from his wife and other investors, and a transfer of the brewery property from Lucia and possibly other Riedlin heirs to this new ownership, the brewery reopened in 1935. However, it fell into bankruptcy within two years. (See The Reopening.) In December, 1937, Will and three of his brothers acquired the brewery out of bankruptcy, in an effort to make the brewery successful again. (See The Schott Brothers.) During the 1920s and this period in the 1930s the children of Will and Lucia were growing up at Pine Meer, as explained below. It appears a motivation for Will to acquire the brewery with the support of Lucia was to provide an opportunity for their sons to continue the legacy of Lucia's family with the brewery.
THE WILLIAM C. SCHOTT FAMILY
The children of William and Lucia Schott, Bill and Louis, attended Cincinnati public schools in the 1920s and 1930s. They both attended Western Hills High School, which provided both a Junior and Senior high school learning from the 7th to 12th grades. Bill attended the school when it was first opened in 1928 and graduated in 1934. Louis attended the same school the year after his brother graduated. Following graduation, Bill entered Harvard University, but returned home after a year, completing his education at the University of Cincinnati in about 1938. It appears he began working at the Bavarian Brewing Co. after he graduated from U.C., about a year after it was acquired by his father and three uncles. As explained in the History of the brewery, the President of the Brewery was at first George until 1945, and then Lou. Will maintained the position of Vice President while continuing to be the General Manager of the Cincinnati Galvanizing Co.
Louis graduated from high school in 1940 and attended Dartmouth College. However, he entered WWII in 1942, returned to Dartmouth, and graduated in 1948. That same year he wed his high school sweetheart, Virginia Erhardt. Louis began working at his family's brewery in late 1948 as a truck driver. Before then, Bill had become Secretary and Treasurer. Bill married a few years later to Catherine Sue Lake. Louis and Virginia had a son, Ried, born in 1949. Bill and Sue had a son, Bill (Jr.), born in 1953.
Both Bill and Louis became active in the management of the brewery their grandfather had established, and their father and his brothers acquired. When Will's brother Lou became Board Chairman in 1955, Bill became President and Louis served as both Secretary and Treasurer at that time, while their father was Vice President. Louis also became the Marketing Director a year later. Below is a photo of Will with his two sons, Lou on the left and Bill on the right, when they were working at the brewery in the early 1950s. (See the Post WWII Years and Turnaround Efforts.)
The upper right photo above shows Lucia and Will seated, with their sons and Louis's in-laws. Standing left to right are; Bill Schott, his wife Catherine Sue Lake Schott (Sue), Albert Erhardt, Virginia Erhardt Schott (Jinny), Myrtle Erhardt and Louis Schott.
Besides working together, the family also lived next to one another. Both Bill and Louis built homes on the west side of the Pine Meer Manor House in the later 1950s. A tradition Will and Lucia had with their son's family was that they nearly always had a Sunday dinner together, as well as a semi-formal Christmas Day dinner. With pressure from the national breweries in the 1950s, the Bavarian Brewing Co. merged with a regional brewery in 1959. (See Int'l Breweries Inc.) Bill remained until 1965, a year before the brewery closed. Lou left in 1961 to join his father at the Cincinnati Galvanizing Co. where he remained until 1967, shortly after it was sold to a NYSE firm. The product catalog of this firm around the time of this sale can be viewed here.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, Louis was active in arranging to have most of the excess land around the Pine Meer Manor House developed. The north pasture and orchard became upscale tract housing and a couple condominium complexes (Pennsbury and Pine Meer Condominiums) were created on the opposite sides of the estate. In an effort to preserve the Manor House, Louis was successful in having it placed on the National Register of Historical Places in the mid 1980s, after Will passed away. The Manor House retained a site of approximately five acres.
Louis and Virginia retired and moved to Naples, Florida, in 1986. They settled in a complex where a few of their good friends, whom they had known since high school, coincidentally had also purchased units. However, Bill and Sue remained in their home until the late 1990s - over 70 years after Pine Meer was built. The Manor House has had some five owners since it was sold in the late 1980s. One was to a national television network that used the home in a reality series hosted by Mark Walberg called The Mansion that aired in 2004. It involved eight contestants who competed with one another on various remodeling projects, with the winner being given the house based on a Internet vote.
The wife of J.M. Schott, Elise, died in 1931 at the age of 89, 28 years after her husband. Lucia Riedlin Schott passed away at her Pine Meer Home in 1971 at the age of 81. In 1981, Will passed away at Pine Meer where he lived for over 50 years, at the age of 97. Except for his brother John Jr. who died in 1942, all of Will's other brothers passed away in the 1960s. The deaths of Louis and Bill were in 1996 and 2002, respectively. Their wives, Jinny and Sue, passed away in 2015 and 2005, respectfully.
J.M. and Elise Schott and their descendants represent four generations that lived and worked in Cincinnati, providing work and livelihoods for hundreds of families in the Cincinnati area.
The background page is an enlargement of the J.M. Schott Family photo mentioned at the top of this page.
Please consult this photo for the names of the Schott family members.