Another Merchant of Main Street

Immanuel Lutheran Church was the location of a wedding on May 12, 1912.  The bride was Ida Thurm; the groom was Reinhold Fritsche.  Here is their marriage license.

Fritsche Thurm marriage license

Ida was the daughter of Herman and Anna (Jungclaus) Thurm.  The church record states that Ida was from Friedland, which is a name used for The Ridge.  Her father was a farmer.  Reinhold was the son of Henry and Anna (Schade) Fritsche.  Henry started out as a carpenter, but later we see him as a merchant.

Two years before getting married, we see Reinhold Fritsche in the 1910 census living with Theodore Noennig, and both of these young single men were shown as merchants.

Reinhold Fritsche 1910 census
1910 census – Altenburg, MO

It is reported that Henry Fritsche, Reinhold’s father, used his carpenter’s skills to construct what became known as the Fritsche-Noennig Store at about this time.  Here is an early photo of that building.

Fritsche Noennig people Birner

Someone has labeled this photo with Reinhold standing on the right and Theodore Noennig on the left.  In this next photo, you can get an idea of the location of this store in the downtown area of Altenburg.

Fritsche & Noennig store circa 1915

It is said that this photo was taken sometime around 1915.  From the back of the photo, you can see the Bank (where I had a wonderful breakfast this morning), then the Neubeck Store, the Hahn Hardward store (most recently the Mississippi Mud Saloon), then a few residences.  The residence closest to the Fritsche-Noennig Store was the home of Leo Lottes.  Some of these buildings have been the topic of previous blog posts.

Here is a photo I took today which shows this portion of Main Street.

IMG_3541

You can see that the space once occupied by the Fritsche-Noennig Store is now taken up by part of the Altenburg Public School.

Reinhold had a brother and a sister.  His brother was named Oswald, and he was also involved in operating this store over the years.  His sister was named Nora, and she married Hugo Wirth.  Hugo bought out the Noennig share of the store, and it then became known as the Fritsche-Wirth Store.  Here we see the store with the Fritsche-Wirth name.

Fritsche & Wirth store 1945

Standing in front is the daughter of Hugo and Nora whose name was Ruth.  Below is another old photo showing several men who were involved in operating the Fritsche-Wirth Store.

Fritsche Wirth Museum

From left to right are Henry Fritsche (the father), Rudolph Preusser, Reinhold Fritsche, Oswald Fritsche, and Hugo Wirth.  Rudolph Preusser would later work at the bank.

Three Fritsche homes were built in Altenburg.  They were located just west of Immanuel Lutheran Church.  Here is a photo of these three homes from back in that time.

Fritsche homes

The house closest to the church was Oswald Fritsche’s home.  The next one was the home of the father, Henry Fritsche.  The house closest behind the  U.S. Tires sign was the Reinhold Fischer home.  Oswald’s house is no longer there.  Here is what this area looks like today.

IMG_3539

Reinhold and Ida had three children.  Their only son, Walter, began a chicken hatchery across the road from these houses.  There is indication from Reinhold’s death certificate that Reinhold was also working at this hatchery later in his life.  Here is a photo of the hatchery building.

pleasant hill hatchery 1956

This is a residence today that is located next to the Gas-A-Mat convenience store.  Here is a photo taken today.

IMG_3537

I really want to show you a photo of Walter holding his daughter in front of Reinhold’s house.  In this photo you see an Angel’s Trumpet plant.  It is my understanding that this type of plant is rather rare nowadays.

Walter Fritsche with Karen 1942

I know that I have been amazed at how many stores have existed in Altenburg’s past history.  There was a Koestering Store, a Schmidt Store, a Neubeck Store, a Fischer Store, and this Fritsche-Wirth Store.  All of these places have a special place in the hearts of the people who have their roots here in Altenburg.


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