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Schollenberger Family Research
Courtesy of Becky Miller
The people who built the house were Morris H. Schollenberger and his wife Pearl Craig Schollenberger. Mr. Schollenberger was originally from Pennsylvania and Pearl was from Kentucky. The county deeds show the land was purchased in 1908 and they record the house as being constructed in 1914 although it has been recently learned that the house may have been built several years earlier. Pearl and Morris were married in Sedgwick County, Kansas in June of 1900. They had two children, Ruth and Morris, who were born in Kansas. Peral Schollenberger was instrumental in funding the purchase of land and building construction of the original West Side Christian Church in 1912. The church was built at the corner of Douglas and Vine and was replaced in the 1950s with the brick structure that is located there today.
There were three Schollenberger brothers who owned and operated a bicycle shop located at 230 N Main in Wichita. The brothers names were Morris H., George H., and Harvey H. Schollenberger. The "H" in the brothers' middle name "High" reflected their mother, Catherine's maiden name. The name of their bicycle shop was Schollenberger & Company and was started in the late 1890's as a bicycle repair shop.
Morris and his brother George Schollenberger are credited for bringing the first exclusive
gasoline engine automobile to Wichita and Kansas. They sold their bicyle shop in 1900 and started what they called the Wichita Automobile Company. In 1901 they sold one car. In 1903 they had sold five automobiles. In 1904 their youngest brother Harvey joined the dealership. According to the Tihen Notes, the Sedgwick County treasurer reported there were 17,000 cars in 1922. In 1920 it was reported that their dealership sold 1,500 cars. By 1926 they had grown to become the largest dealership in the Southwest. Morris Schollenberger was president of the company and George was manager. It was not known as to what position Harvey held prior to his death.
The Wichita Automobile Company in 1900 acted as agents for the Oldsmobile manufacturer. They did not stock the cars. When a customer wanted a car, they ordered one. That changed in 1903 when they began to stock cars in their dealership. In 1906 they were selling the Maxwell cars. In 1908 they moved the dealership to Market and English streets. In 1909 the Schollenberger's purchased the "old Carey homestead at the southeast corner of Lawrence (now Broadway) and English..." (the Wichita Beacon, Monday, April 13, 1908). They started construction on a new building for their dealership.
Harvey Schollenberger died in the flu epidemic of 1917-1920. I have found conflicting dates from the Wichita Beacon newspaper and the Tihen Notes from Wichita State University. I have found several references that he died Feb. 3, 1920. Harvey was the younger of the three brothers. His widow, Maude Gowen Schollenberger went on to found the Wichtta Art Association, which continues today as the Wichita Center for the Arts.
In November 1925, Morris H Schollenberger died. From all accounts the Wichita Automobile Company was in financial constraints. I have located several notations and articles about the "unexpected" death of Mr. Schollenberger. Wichita Beacon, November 18, 1925.
In 1926 The Wichita Reo Motor Company took over the business of the Wichita Automobile Company from bankruptcy. George H Schollenberger stayed on with Reo Motor Company as General Manager. George lived until1961.
1901 Oldsmobile Curved Dash Runabout
The Olds Motor Works begins advertising its soon-to-be-famous 4hp, 95.4-cu.in. single-cylinder Curved Dash runabout--a 580-pound automobile that costs $600--in February of 1901. Ransom Olds's Detroit plant is heavily damaged by a fire on March 9, but the company is able to set up temporary production facilities to fill the 334 orders already on the books.
Source: Hemmings News-Mark McCourt
1901 Dollars & Cents
Median sales price, new home - $3,300
Median yearly salary - $508
Parlor furniture, 3-piece set - $135
Viking bicycle - $15.50
Lady's shirt-waist suit - $4.50
Man's derby hat - $3.49
Eggs, per dozen - $0.22
Beef roasts, per pound - $0.16
First-class stamp - $0.02
1905 Maxwell Runabout
Wichita Automobile Co. located at of 2nd St. & Broadway
The Maxwell models available for 1904: Model L Tourabout
Benjamin Briscoe, owner of a sheet metal manufacturing plant in Detroit MI., was convinced David Buick's automobile would never amount to anything. Briscoe sold his interest in Buick and teamed up with Jonathan D. Maxwell, an engineer with experience at Olds and Northern automobile companies, and J.P. Morgan for financial help. The Maxwell-Briscoe Motor Car Company incorporated in June, 1904 and production began in Tarrytown, NY sometime afterwards. The name changed to the Chrysler Corp. in 1925 after Walter Chrysler had control of the company.
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