Herman Genthe

HERMAN GENTHE. The oldest bakery establishment of Topeka under one continuous ownership and management is that conducted by Mr. Herman Genthe, who now has associated with him his oldest son. Mr. Genthe is a master of his trade. He learned it as a boy in Germany, where his ancestors so far as known were millers and had a great deal to do with those grains that furnish the staple food stuffs, wheat and rye. Mr. Genthe's talent as a maker of fine bread is therefore partly an inheritance from his ancestors, though it has been developed by his individual experience covering many years,

He was born in Saxony, Germany, in 1857, a son of Wilhelm Genthe and a grandson of Gottlieb Genthe. His grandfather was born in 1793 and the family as far as it can be traced lived in Saxony. Wilhelm Genthe died in Saxony in 1890.

Reared and educated in his native country, Herman Genthe at the age of twenty-four in 1881 left Germany and made the voyage to America. Landing in Baltimore, he was soon afterward in Waco, Texas, and visited a number of other Texas towns. Later he was in Kansas City, Missouri, then in Chicago, Illinois, and returning to Kansas, began going about among the towns and country communities of the state, and for several years in the early '80s was employed at different places, including Lazine, Topeka, Sedan, in Chautauqua County, Coolidge and Dodge City.

Since 1887 Mr. Genthe has made Topeka his permanent home. In that year he started the bakery business which he still conducts, though from time to time new equipment and many modifications have been introduced in the business. While all his bakery products measure up to a high standard, a special reputation has been attained by his rye bread, and there are a number of towns outside of Topeka that recognize its quality and give it a large patronage. He as well as his son who has since become associated with him has earned a fine reputation for industry and honesty and the family are highly esteemed and respected in the capital city.

In 1887, the year he came to Topeka, Mr. Genthe married Miss Barbara Rost, who was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Her father brought his family overland in immigrant wagons to Kansas, but lived for a short time in Arkansas and Nebraska before entering the Sunflower State. Mr. Rost became a well known business man in Topeka, and for many years had an establishment at old number 48 Kansas Avenue.

Four children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Genthe, Ernest, Olga, Frances and Edward. The son Ernest, who received his education in the public schools of Topeka and a shorthand and typewriting course in Dougherty's Business College, left Topeka in 1910, spending a year in the states of Washington, Oregon and California, but then returned to Topeka and became associated in the bakery business with his father. He is also well known in musical circles. The daughter Olga has special musical talent, has trained as a vocalist under Miss Myrtle Bandcliffe, Miss Adams and Professor Springer, and has also taken instruction at Portland Oregon. She has recently appeared in public performances at St. Louis, Missouri. For the past ten years Mr. Herman Genthe and family have lived in a very pretty home at 735 Lane Street in Topeka.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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