After the Great Chicago Fire, homes were no longer being built of wood. There was a need in Chicago for brick and masonry buildings. In 1905, sons of Johann, namely John, Otto, August and Ernest founded Schmidt Bros. Construction Co. in Chicago. Other relatives (Schmidts and Meinekes) were also involved in the Construction Co. for a while.
The Schmidt Bros. Construction company was responsible for building 250 buildings beginning in 1905 and beyond.
Some of the buildings were built in the city of Park Ridge. Park Ridge is said to be located on the highest ridge in Cook County. While this is not true, it does lie on a ridge. The soil is abundant with clay deposits, which made it a brick-laying center for the city of Chicago. The Schmidt Brothers probably chose to build here because of the abundant supply of clay for their bricks and bricklaying efforts.
Some of the buildings built are:
Galena High School 1905
Rhinelander High School 1916 (see image in the gallery)
- U.S. Steel Heat, Light, Water Building
- Administration and office building
- 3001? workers homes (probably apartment buildings)
- Office Building
Chicago and Miscellaneous Buildings
- 1926 – Bethany Evangelical & Reformed Church, Paulina (see below)
- 1926 – Luther Memorial Church, 2500 W. Wilson (see below)
- 1926 – People’s Church, Lawrence Av (see below)
- Office Building, 2 W Huron
- St. James ME Church – South Side
- St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Park Ridge
- Waterway Paper Products
- YMCA – 4 – South Chicago, Roseland, Irving Park (1925), and Peoria (1913)
- Apartment Building-Lakeshore Drive and Belmont
- Elks’ Memorial Structure and Masonry
- Lincoln Highway-Lawrence Av.
- Medinah Country Club (see below)
- Medinah Athletic Club-Masonry Inter-Continental Hotel
- North Shore Baptist Church – 5244 Lakewood
- Lincoln School, Park Ridge
In 1920 Erwin Meineke came to Chicago and joined the company. He learned the construction business and in 1930 he formed the Builders Supply Company and worked with the Schmidt Brothers and furnished them with many of the supplies used in the building process. Erwin directed the building of the Two Rivers Post Office. When the great depression hit, business for the Schmidt Bros. Construction company slowed and eventually halted.
Thank you to Margie Wood for collecting this information in 1952. Additional information below compiled by Ellen.
In the late 1920s, their company built the famous Medinah country club near Chicago, which regularly hosts major tournaments such as the U.S. Open. (The Medinah website mentions the Schmidt brothers and that they were Shriners and charter members of the club.)
Emma Schmidt married Henry Bach in Chicago. Her son Carl later was in a masonry repair company with Erwin Meineke (son of Minnie (Schmidt) Meineke. Erwin drew the blueprints for Medinah in the office.
Erhardt, also son of Minnie (Schmidt) Meineke, was a brick and stonemason, in particular building the large stone gate entrance to Medinah.
The Schmidt families of Chicago attended Bethany Evangelical church which was built by the Schmidt Brothers Construction Company. The church was founded by Rev. William Grotefeld.
Emma and Hilda (Erwin’s wife) were in the Women’s group. Emma was very generous to all including her Wisconsin relatives.
Erhardt (Minnie (Schmidt) Meineke’s son) met his wife Viola Hels at Bethany and was married there before moving back to Two Rivers.
Luther Memorial Church was built in 1926. The church features beautiful stain glass windows. The first window, the Christus Chancel Window was installed at the time of the construction of the building. This is the window of the risen and ascending Christ. Christ dominates the whole window. Around this central point there are ten panels containing symbols of Christian faith. More information about the church window can be found here.
People’s Church, 915 West Lawrence Avenue, was built in 1926. The church was founded in 1912 and grew to large proportions thanks to Dr. Preston Bradley, pastor. The church originally met in the DeLuxe Theater of the Pantheon on Wilson Avenue but outgrew that facility. In 1926 it moved to its own church building on Lawrence. (from Chicago Urban History)