Guenzel Co Department Store


The present C. S. Guenzel Co. had its beginning as a Hardware Store and Tin Shop in a partnership formed by C. H. Rudge and J. F. Morris in 1886, in a small room at 130 S. 11th Street. The organization consisted of one salesman, one delivery boy and one Tinner, in addition to the two proprietors. In 1887, the firm outgrew its quarters and moved to 1122 N Street. In 1891, the room next door was annexed and furniture was added. Later, the second and third floors of the building and additional space in the adjoining building was occupied and Carpets, Draperies and Queensware was added. In 1903, the firm leased the Putnam corner at the corner of 11th & O Streets and continued to operate as a Furniture, Carpet, Queensware, Hardware and Tin Shop. In 1905, the firm purchased the Fitzgerald Dry Goods Company and became a department store. In 1919, they moved to 13th & N Streets, into a new building.

C. J . Guenzel entered the store as an employee of Rudge and Morris in 1886; became a Vice President in 1896 and President in 1916. In February, 1900, the firm’s name was changed to Rudge & Guenzel Company.

On December 11, 1928, Rudge & Guenzel Company consolidated with the Hahn Department Stores, Inc. In 1935, Mr. C. S. Guenzel, son of C. J. Guenzel, took over the Tin Shop in Rudge & Guenzel Company and operated it as a leased Department. In December, 1941, the firm of Rudge & Guenzel Company was closed. Mr. C. S. Guenzel continued to operate the Tin Shop in the basement of the building at 13th & N Streets, under the name of C. S. Guenzel Co. In January, 1946, he sold the Tin Shop to E. D. Morrison, A. E. Overton and W. R. Kirsch, former employees, all of whom had been employees of Rudge & Guenzel Company and C. S. Guenzel Co. in the Sheet Metal Department for more than twenty-five years. They continued to operate under the name of C. S. Guenzel Co. and the shop was moved from the basement at 13th & N Streets to 446 S. 11th Street. In 1948, a new building was purchased at 701 J Street, which is the present location.

In December, 1951, Mr. E. D. Morrison retired and sold his interest to Arthur E. Overton and W. Roy Kirsch, who continued to operate the business as Sheet Metal Contractors until January 1, 1967. On January 1, 1967, A. E. Overton and W. R. Kirsch sold the business to their sons, Donald A. and Neil E. Overton and Ronald W. Kirsch. The new owners incorporated the business under the name of C. S. Guenzel Co. and continued as sheet metal contractors.

On August 31, 1990, Donald A. Overton retired. Neil E. Overton and Ronald W. Kirsch continued to operate the business.

On September 30, 1994, Neil E Overton retired. Ronald W. Kirsch continues to operate under the name of C. S. Guenzel Co. and as a Sheet Metal Contractor.

In August of 1990 Scott J. Kathol came to work at C. S. Guenzel Co., in December of 1995 Steven H. Kirsch came to work at C. S. Guenzel Co., and August 12, 1996 Sally I. Kirsch began work at C. S. Guenzel Co.

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