Stengel Hall (1770)

While completely concealed within Stengel Hall at Linden Hall, the original stone cottage built by Peter Kreiter (Kreider) is still there. Today (1966) this large building is the home of ten Linden Hall girls with their housemother. Originally the five-room house was the home of the Kreider family of ten that came here from Manor Township in 1770.

It is believed that Kreider was a butcher and it was for this reason that he built this house right over the top of a spring. It was not until fifteen years later that he built the large stone house next door that today is known as the Pretzel House. The entire attic of this second house was used as a smoke house and it is believed he furnished meat for the school.

The only descendent of Peter who could be traced to recent days was his son Michael who was eleven when he arrived here. At this time the young folks of Lititz were under rather severe restrictions and his association with other children was limited to the boys he met in school. Play was limited to his own back yard with his own family. Keeping the girls entirely separate from the boys was not an easy matter in so small a community but it was done. Any hint of romance was deeply frowned upon and he was to learn as he grew older that a night walk with a young lady was unthinkable. Any secret match the parents might wish to make was strictly forbidden.

By the time Michael reached the age of twenty-six he had received a liberal education, studied music and learned the difficult trade of shoemaker. While he had not learned to know any of the village girls intimately, he was not blind to the fact that the concealing garbs failed to hide everything. Also there were pretty faces and then there were those that he dreaded to think of facing every morning at breakfast.

Michael finally decided to take the plunge and asked the Church Fathers to arrange the lottery. All he could be sure of when he drew a name was that she would be healthy and sound of mind. The Lord was on Michael’s side, it is believed, for he drew the name of twenty year-old Mary Magdelena Grosh, the motherless daughter of John Grosh who lived in the log house at 53 Main Street. (Lutz’s Market in 1966, Danners Deli in 2009.)

The newlyweds then moved in with John Grosh and this address would be a shoemaker shop for three generations of Kreiders. Shortly after the arrival of their fifth child in 1795 Mary lost her husband and she raised this family by becoming the community midwife.StengalHall1

Jacob Kreider, Mary’s son, is believed to have been apprenticed to Gottfried Treager the shoemaker at the same time that young John Beck learned the trade. When Jacob married Juliana

Christ, a Linden Hall teacher, in 1813, he again opened shop in the log house at 53 Main. He was an accomplished musician and in time this couple was blessed with seven children.

Meanwhile Mary Magdelena, at the suggestion of the Church Fathers, had married the widower Rev. John Martin Beck who lived next door (Stroble’s) with his three children. It was his son John that became the prominent educator.

George Kreider, son of Jacob, took over the shoe business in 1843 and replaced the old log house with a beautiful brick structure. He probably remembered the attic smoke house in his great-grandfather’s house and added one to his new home. (John Lutz who lived there in 1966 had been persuaded to show this to the curious.) He then married Emma Bear and the new store prospered to the extent that George later became the landlord of the Lititz Springs Hotel. (Known as the Sutter Hotel in 1966 and 2009) George Kreider’s venture into the hotel business resulted in his ruination. The huge Wabank House that was part of the Lititz Spring’s property burned to the ground in 1873.

And here this branch of Kreider shoemakers was to come to an end. There was one daughter to this last union who married Dr. O.T. Huebener of Lancaster.


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