EUGENE A. SCHENCK, A. I., M. E., prominent in the commercial and social life of Kansas City, has had a most unusual career. A man's pursuit cannot be guided entirely by his own wishes - new conditions arise - old conditions change. Fortune will not always come to a man at the time and place of his selection, and Mr. Schenck early realized that if he would become successful, he must go and hunt fortune, for she would never hunt him. There is one truth, however, that it is well to take to heart, that if a man is really competent, there is need for him somewhere, and it behooves him to find out where he is needed. That is exactly what Mr. Schenck did; he felt that he possessed potentialities by means of which he could accomplish great things, and he changed occupation as well as location, until he finally found the niche into which he fitted, and he is now known as one of the most representative business men in Kansas City. A brief resume of his career will prove of interest to his many friends, and will serve to show what a man can do by not drifting, but by shifting.
Eugene A. Schenck is a native of Auburn, Illinois, where he was born October 29, 1871. His paternal grandfather was a native of Baden, Germany, where he was educated and reared to manhood. Dr. Walter Schenck, father of E. A. Schenck, claims Columbus, Ohio, as his birth place, and there he received his early preliminary educational training. After the completion of his school course he engaged in the ministry and early in his career married Mattie J. Wyatt, and to the union five children were born, but we will only make mention of one, Eugene A. Schenck. Mr. Schenck's father is a physician of Edmond, Oklahoma, of good repute and is also a poet of considerable ability and renown. Amongst his effusions is one that has claimed considerable attention amongst literary men and women; the "Reverie" which he published in October, 1910. No one can read that poem, deeply religious in its character, but at the same time imbued with the sense of ignorance of the miraculous working of nature, without being impressed with the wonderful force of the man who penned the lines. Throughout, the mother-love, the beauties of nature, the power of God and the powerlessness of man are mingled in one beautiful, prayerful outcry, which is torn from the soul of the man. If space permitted, we should like to print the whole of this "Reverie," but as this is intended for the life record of Eugene A. Schenck, we will confine ourselves to the above references.
Eugene A. Schenck has only a very vague remembrance of the house where he was born, as when he was very small his parents removed from Illinois to Westport, Missouri, and it was in this town that he spent his boyhood, attending the public schools of the town, and engaging in athletic sports of all kinds. Later the family moved, and Kansas City was the scene of his continued educational training, as he became a pupil in the public schools of this city. Upon completion of the course prescribed by the schools, he became a pitcher on the Indiana State League ball team, and for two years he followed this calling. He felt, however, that there was no future in the life, and devoted as he was to the game and to sports of all kinds, he was ambitious for a career of another character. He had shown considerable interest in all kinds of machinery from his earliest childhood, and he turned to that as the one thing in which he was fitted to excel. He learned the machinist trade in Kansas City, Kansas, and he speedily became a very skilful workman. As soon as he had thoroughly mastered the trade he went to Keokuk, Iowa, and there built everything in the way of store fronts, doors, sash and blinds, but after the fall of the Kansas City boom, he came back here and was assistant steward of the University Club, which was situated on the site of the present Keeley Cure building. He served the club in the above mentioned capacity for a period of three years and then made another change. He made a most thorough study of the heating and ventilating business; he studied physics and the laws which govern heat, taking a course in correspondence and also he studied with Professor J. M. Kent, teacher of physics in the high school, and a man of considerable knowledge in that line. Mr. Schenck applied himself to the mastery not only of the subject itself, but to all of its ramifications, and that he is a master of his business none will dispute. He is the inventor of three separate contrivances which have been placed on the market and have come into general use. There are very few people who have not at least heard of his hydro-pneumatic vacuum cleaning apparatus, which has been so successfully used. Then he invented a metal bowling ball with adjustable grip, as an outgrowth of his experience as a pitcher on the ball team, referred to above. The invention, however, which is most peculiarly his own, is the apparatus in a hot water heater by means of which the water is circulated after leaving the heater. This device was patented August 25, 1908, and, although this is no advertising medium, it is our opinion that his invention is of great value, and the contractors and builders are beginning to install the device in their various buildings where heating plants are required. These inventions were not the result of a few days thought, but were the outcome of observations made during the years that he was employed as foreman for the leading firms of his locality. Indeed that is the way in which most inventions are wrought out, and they are perfected after many trials and experiments. In May, 1910, Mr. Schenck engaged in business on his own account, with his office at 209 Keith & Perry building, Kansas City, Missouri, and at 725 Armstrong avenue, Kansas City, Kansas, and he takes orders for gas fitting and for hot water heating and ventilating of schools and other large buildings. During the short time that has elapsed since he opened his office, he has completed many big jobs, amongst which may be mentioned the Pierson Paper Box Company bouilding,[sic] two heating systems for Attorney Frank Hagerman, one in his modern home and one in his garage; the new home of Dr. R. A. Roberts, located at 712 Ann avenue; the residence of P. J. Hughes, the real estate dealer; Frank Richards' residence at Fifty-seventh and Wyandotte; the Country Club; P. W. Price Furniture Company (now under way); the Rand Flats at 3517 Wyandotte street (a modern apartment building); and J. I. Bailey's residence at North Fremont and Quindaro boulevard. In addition to the above mentioned work, Mr. Schenck has the contract for a new plant in the new City Hall in Kansas City, Kansas; also a seven thousand dollar contract with the Baptist church on the corner of Tenth street and Forrest avenue; a plant for C. D. Gilquist at 3404 Agnes street, as well as a great many minor jobs. We must not forget, however, the heating plant he is about to establish in the home of Tom Garton near Tremble, Missouri, as the plant is to be a masterpiece - the finest in the country. Mr. Schenck knows what good work is, as he is himself a skilled mechanic, and he employs none but first class workmen. He has been a member of the Union for fifteen years and at various times he has served on the Union Examining Board.
In 1895 Mr. Schenck married Miss Jennie Howard Nutting and to this union two children have been born, Margaretta E. and Hershaw W., both students in the Kansas City schools. Mrs. Schenck is the daughter of Professor T. D. and Mary (Foote) Nutting, the former a native of Illinois. Mr. Nutting was a musical professor and devoted his life to the education of the blind, teaching them to produce strains of musical harmony so as to furnish to the ear the delights which had been denied to the eye. One evening, after leaving the university which was the scene of his humanitarian labors, Professor Nutting was struck by a binding pole that tied a load of straw; the pole was loosened from the wagon and struck him on the head and death ensued almost immediately. Mrs. Nutting was a prominent member of the First Presbyterian church and died in Kansas City, Kansas, in 1903, and both she and her husband left a large circle of friends to mourn their loss. Mrs. Schenck received a most thorough musical education and is a graduate from the Illinois Conservatory of Music, where she was known as a brilliant performer and a musician of wonderful interpretative ability. Her playing has always been characterized by a sweetness of touch and a simplicity of feeling that has appealed to all who listened to her. Mrs. Schenck is a thoroughly cultured lady and one who wins hosts of friends by means of her gracious presence and winning personalty. Mr. Schenck is very well known in Kansas City, not only in the business world, but also in social centers, where both he and Mrs. Schenck are very popular. He is a member of the Society of Stationary Engineers and of the Ancient Order of United Workmen of Kansas City, Kansas, in both of which societies he has a high standing. It is only about a year since Mr. Schenck became his own contractor and master in business, and if we are to judge of his future by his success during the past year, we predict a great career for him.
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