CHARLES AUGUST WENDT.
The largest exclusive billiard and pocket billiard table factory in the United States is known as The Wendt Billiard Manufacturing Company and is located at 765-79 Thirtieth street, and Charles A. Wendt is president of this company. He is also president of one of the few factories in the United States building bowling alleys, which is known as the Bowling Alley Builders Company, and is located at 1195-99 Thirtieth street. The largest wholesale grain business in Milwaukee is known as F. Wendt Grain Company, and is located at 775-79 Thirtieth street. He is secretary of this company and is widely known as a representative business man and citizen.
His paternal grandparents and great-grandparents emigrated from Germany about 1840. In a straw-thatched log cabin, surrounded by great forest trees, was born the father of the subject of our sketch. The grandfather showed a most progressive spirit, which developed so vigorously in his descendants. After making a garden of the wilderness, he built and operated a grist mill at Mayfield, Wisconsin. This mill later developed into the present water-power driven Mayfield Roller Mills. After the grandfather retired, the father operated the mill.
In 1851 his father, disposing of the mill at Mayfield, moved to Milwaukee, then a city of about one hundred thousand inhabitants, and established himself in the grain business. His capital consisted of boundless energy and indomitable will, high ideals, a frugal, loving wife, and a family of small boys. The business venture prospered and has grown into the present F. Wendt Grain Company, still conducted at 775-79 Thirtieth street, which is being conducted by his three sons, Fred, .Jr., Charles A. and Henry C. He was a member of the .Milwaukee Board of Trade for twenty-four years, was a lifelong republican but never sought nor desired political preferment as a reward for party fealty. He passed away April 19, 1921, mourned by all who knew him and most by those who knew him best.
Tho maternal grandparents and great-grandparents also emigrated from Germany about 1837 and located in Washington county. Joseph Katz, the grandfather, was in love with his adopted country and to show his loyalty and allegiance named his five sons after former United States presidents and statesmen. He conducted a general store at Mayfield for a number of years and had the pictures of the different United States presidents from Washington down to the time of his discontinuing the store on his walls. Besides the five sons there were two daughters, the older one being the mother of the subject of this sketch. She died March 8, 1891.
At the time the family moved to Milwaukee, they located in the tenth ward, and Charles A. Wendt graduated from John Diedrichsen's school in 1894, Miss J. Birmingham having been his eighth grade teacher. He then attended the West Sine high school, this school having started that year in what was then known as the library building on the northwest corner of Fourth and Grand avenue.
After this he clerked in a grocery store for about one and one-half years, and then entered the employ of a concern manufacturing billiard tables, and when he severed his connections with that corporation he was secretary and treasurer and had occupied every position of trust in the establishment. This covered a period of nineteen years. In 1916 he established The Wendt Billiard Manufacturing Company at 22211 Lisbon avenue, but soon outgrowing the capacity of this plant he bought and moved to the present quarters on Thirtieth street, where he employs scores of skilled mechanics and where his high grade productions are sought by customers throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. They are also large jobbers and importers of ivory, cues and all other billiard table accessories.
In 1921 Mr. Wendt, looking for more vent of his energy, organized the Bowling Alley Builders Company. This is also a closed corporation and the stockholders are the same as those of the billiard company. Only established a short time, their product is already known from coast to coast and they employ more than a score of men. Having been a stockholder in the F. Wendt Grain Company for some time, Charles A. Wendt became secretary after the death of his father.
On September 18, 1901, he was united in marriage to Miss Hattie Boeck, daughter of a Milwaukee ship builder, to which happy union were born two daughters, Mildred and Jeannette. Besides inheriting their mother's many accomplishments, dainty femininity and domesticity, they also have their father's buoyancy of spirit, which is a great comfort and inspiration to him.
His family join all his sports and recreations, which consist of fishing and other outdoor sports, particularly motoring, skating and tobogganing, the last two being his favorites. On crisp winter afternoons and evenings you can see him with his family and friends on the toboggan slides at Washington park or on the ice. His aim in athletics as in business always has been to excel, and he now has one of the speediest toboggans on the slides and prefers the speed skating to the fancy.
In politics. Mr. Wendt is a stanch republican, as his father before him, and likewise has never sought nor held public office. Here is a man not yet middle aged, paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages, his products standard, a courteous, capable, business man, useful to the community, a good neighbor, a kind husband, and indulgent father. His past success argues well for his future.