Columns of Will Ball
During a conversation with Mr. and Mrs.
John Bauer of Logansport, at a Purdue-Indiana football game, he told us his
grandfather, Felix Bauer, Sr., came here from Shelbyville in 1885 to make brick
for St. Joseph’s Church. He followed
that trade, being what might be called an itinerant bricklayer. When he secured a sizable contract, he moved
his family to the site of the job and settled there for the duration. Moving was a major occupation for the Bauers,
for there were 19 children in the family.
Four of the family are still living:
Frank in Logansport; Lina, in Lafayette; Clara (Mrs. Ditzenberger); and
Nicholas in Indianapolis
Mr. Bauer’s descendents of the third
generation still occupy a prominent place in the affairs of Logansport. Besides John, of the office staff of the
Logansport Machine Co., there are:
Will, trust officer of the National Bank
Herman E., former manager of Maiben’s
Laundry, now a Washington Twp. farmer
Mamie, for many years chief accountant
Mrs. Paul Spitynagle, and probably
others of whom we have no knowledge or have overlooked.
Mr. Bauer was a huge man, six feet two
inches tall and weighing 360 pounds at the time of his death. He had a buckboard in which he used to ride
as he went about his business and when he got aboard it was fully occupied.
He died before the completion of his
contract with Father Henry Koehne, pastor of St. Joseph. His casket was so large it would not pass
through the door of the old church, which stood on the alley where the parish
school now stands, facing Walnut Street, now Second. His funeral was conducted in front of the
Frank Bauer, son of Felix, tells
interesting tales of those days. His
father had first met Father Koehne while the priest was assistant pastor of a
church in Danville, Illinois and Bauer was working on the manufacture of brick
for a job in that town. Later, when
Father Koehne wanted a brick maker for the job at his pastorate here, he
remembered his friend and sent for him.
Mr. Buaer found suitable clay for the
purpose on the south bank of the Wabash, east of Standley Street now South
Cicott. It was owned by Mrs. Bridget
Donahoe, widow of Michael. She lived at
the toll gate leading into what was then the Logansport and Western gravel
road, now Cliff Drive. The toll gate was
strategically placed a few rods west of the south end of the Cicott Street
bridge in order to prevent traffic on the gravel road from turning off the pike
without paying the toll.
After Mr. Donahoe’s death, the widow
continued to look after the toll gate.
She had a son, James, married, who one morning started for work,
carrying his lunch as usual, but was never seen or heard from after he left his
home. His son, Paul, unborn at the time,
is now one of the operators of the State Theater.
The site of the Bauer brickyard, was
east of Cicott and south of the old toll gage and its buildings, between there
and the Wabash Railroad. There must have
been quite a hole after clay for 650,000 bricks were dug, for, according to
Frank Bauer, there are that many bricks in St. Joseph. In addition to brick for that building, brick
was made for the Loughry Mills at Monticello and shipped there and also for the
Heppe Soap factory further down the pike.
August Gleitz built the foundry for St.
Joseph’s. Medland and Barnes were the
general contractors. John Medland, father
of Ed and grandfather of James and Thomas, was the senior partner; John E.
Barnes, father of Ben and James, was the junior half. After they dissolved partnership, both men
had brickyards on the far north side.
Other brickyards that made brick by hand
were one operated by Tom Barnes on College Hill; and the Johnson yard at the
top of the hill on the Burlington Pike.
Dr. George occupies the remodeled house.
John E. Redmond, the original contractor for Long Cliff, set up a plant
at which he made brick for some of the first buildings on that project. This was also a hand operated plant.
We apologize for an omission in last
week’s story, we forgot to include William Medlin in our mention of local
living descendents of the contractors on the construction of St. Joseph’s
Logansport Press, March 11, March 18, March
25, March 31, April 7, and April 15, 1951
Transcribed by Christine Spencer, April,
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