Fred W. Schumacher
11th City Marshal, 1900
After finishing the work at the Gale, Carl L. stayed on there as foreman for eight years. Fred bought the Sutherland grocery store at the northeast corner of Superior and Cass Streets and he worked there for four years before returning to mason work.
In 1893 Fred and his brother Carl A. Schumacher started working together in construction; they laid out the foundation andbuildings for the Keenan and Hiss foundry (later the Lonegran Manufacturing Company and finally the McGraw Edison Plant on North Clark Street). The youngest Schumacher brother, Albert L., was working on this job as well.
In 1893, the elder Mr. Shumacher, with his sons, built the foundations for the South Superior Street bridge, just north of the cemetery. They also laid the foundations and worked on the brick work for the first units of the Albion Malleable Iron plant. Most of the cut stone foundations around town were done by the Schumachers or the Arndts. These men knew the grain of stone, and how to hit it so it would break clean. One could pound a stone all day, and not break it if he didn’t know how to do this.
In 1900, Fred was put in charge of keeping the city’s miles of wooden sidewalks repaired. That must have been quite a job, for building wooden sidewalks was finally banned that year and cement sidewalks were required after that. Most of the cement sidewalks in town were put in by the Lohrke brothers.
Carl L. had the contract for building the Superior Street bridge in the business section of downtown. Quoting his son Fred W., “Building that bridge was the center of controversy with a thunderous aftermath. No piling was called for in the contract; but an investigation of the river had convinced FatherSchumacher that piling would be needed to properly support the structure. But Mayor C.W. Dalrymple objected to any additional expenditure. Mr. Schumacher sank $200 worth of piles anyway. In the flood of March 1908, part of the bridge collapsed where there had been no piling, with disastrous results.”
The Schumacher’s were in Zanesville, Ohio, from November 7, 1900 until December 1, 1901, building the “Y” bridge there. Carl A. had the contract from the American Bridge Company, and Fred and Carl L. went down to help. It spanned the Muskingum and Liking rivers and has been described in publications about famous bridges as the only “three-ended bridge in existence.” One could cross this bridge and still be on the same side of the river!
In 1901, Fred W. was the boss on the building of the Albion College Gassette Library. This was later used as the administration building. The contractor was William M. Loder, a local lumber yard owner and builder at that time.
In 1919 the Schumacher Construction Company was formed by Fred W. Schumacher as president in partnership with his son, Albert F. Schumacher, and son-in-law John Geyer, and the family continued in the construction business. Fred’s brother Albert L. Schumacher had worked off and on with his brothers, and for himself in the years before as a carpenter-builder, and at this time worked for the construction company as a supervisor and carpenter on various projects, especially during the 1920’s and 1930’s. He was considered to be one of Albion’s finest carpenter-cabinet makers. He built homes at 601 North Division Street, 816 North Superior Street, and 810 North Ionia Street.
Fred W. did the buying and bookkeeping, John Geyer took charge of all building, and Albert F. took charge of all masonry work. all three worked on figuring for the contracts. “If F.W. built it, it was built to stay!” was their reputation. They never shorted on materials. John Geyer’s brother George had returned from World War I, and had worked awhile at the Malleable, and then went to work as a carpenter for the construction company until his death in 1935. He helped both in construction and supervision.
After Fred W. Schumacher’s death in 1943, his son Albert F. continued working in construction on his own in Albion. Albert L., Fred’s brother, and the last of the four sons of Carl L. Schumacher, became the shop manager of the Albion Lumber Company. John Geyer became manager of the Albion Lumber company, and then owner with his son Robert Heyer in 1946. They continued building homes and some factories until the lumber yard was closed in 1966. This lumber yard had earlier been associated with theSchumacher Construction Company, since Fred W. had owned part of it. (Patricia Geyer. The Building Story. Unpublished Manuscript.)
Source: Frank Passic. Homestead Savings and Loan and the Builders of Albion: One Hundred Years of Service, 1889-1989. Albion, MI: Homestead Savings and Loan Association. 1988.