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CASTENHOLZ is a name which means much in the history of Muskegon.  Joseph, Will and Raymond CASTENHOLZ, of the well-known firm of CASTENHOLZ Brothers, real estate operators, need little introduction to resident of this community.  The name they bear has bong been an honored one.  John CASTENHOLZ, Sr., the founder of the family, was born in Germany and came with his parents to the United States when four years old.  He received his early education in the public schools of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where his parents settled, later entering a butcher shop, where he learned the details of the meat business.  He then obtained employment in a packinghouse, and acquired a thorough knowledge of killing, dressing and packing meats for the wholesale trade.  Seeing the opportunities in the business, he risked his savings in establishing a packinghouse of his own. The venture was successful, and in 1869, when he disposed of his holdings in Milwaukee, the business was one of which he might be justly proud.  Removing to Muskegon, which was then a small but rapidly growing town, he erected the Muskegon stockyards on a site on Getty Avenue.  He gave his undivided attention to the new industry, keeping abreast of the times and from time to time installing newer and more modern equipment.  This industry, which his sons were later to acquire, was known throughout the state as an ideal one for the production of dressed meats.  His wife, Miss Elizabeth WEINGARTNER, of Milwaukee, was a native of Alsace-Lorraine, who came to the Untied States with her parents when she was yet a child.  To this union were born seven children: John, Nicholas, Joseph, Henry, Will, Gertutinde and Barbara. John CASTENHOLZ, Sr., continued as head of the business he founded until his death in 1882.  His five sons, whom he had trained carefully to succeed him in the business, then assumed control of the Muskegon stockyards, which they operated under the firm name of CASTENHOLZ Brothers.  In 1914 the plant was leased by the ALBERS Brothers, who continued the packing business until 1917.  At the time of the leasing CASTENHOLZ Brothers retired from the packing business to enter the real estate work, subdividing and selling holdings which they had acquired in and adjacent to Muskegon.  The name CASTENHOLZ Brothers was retained by the four sons who continued in the real estate business, Nicholas CASTENHOLZ having dropped out of the firm to enter another occupation.  In 1916 John CASTENHOLZ retired from active participation in the affairs of the company, which specialized in development of subdivisions, having been elected road commissioner of Muskegon County.  He was re-elected from time to time, and held this position at the time of his death in August 1925.  The three brothers, Joseph, Henry and Will CASTENHOLZ, enjoyed continued success in the real estate business, and in 1922, when death removed Henry CASTENHOLZ, the surviving members of the firm accepted Raymond, son of Joseph CASTENHOLZ, as a partner.  These three men are the present heads of the CASTENHOLZ Brothers Company, which is trusted alike by large and small investors in Muskegon real property.  Paul CASTENHOLZ, head of the Laporte Neckwear Company, Muskegon, is another son of Joseph and Mary (COLE) CASTENHOLZ.


Source: “Historic Michigan”, George N. Fuller/ James L. Smith (1925) Vol. III, pp. 132-133

Submitted by Lisa Hoffius




Muskegon Chronicle, December 3, 1999

Whitehall.  Mr. Fred E. Castenholz, age 92, died Wednesday, December 1, 1999.  He was born in Muskegon on February 22, 1907 to Frederick A. & Elizabeth M. (Curtis) Castenholz & married the former Maxine Moore in IN on April 1, 1930.  Mr. Castenholz retired in 1966 after serving as Chief of Police for the City of Muskegon Police Dept.  As Chief of Police, he was a consultant on the first Police Radio System & in 1932 became it's Chief Operator & Engineer.  He later designed & constructed a new base and mobile transmitters.  He was a member of First Congregational Church, a charter member of the Muskegon Area Amateur Radio Council with the call sign of W8CJ & past chairman & senior member of the Western Michigan Section Institute of Radio Engineers. Mr. Castenholz was also a life member of the Michigan Association of chiefs of Police, was an honorary active life member of the Fraternal Order of Police, was past president of the Police & Firemans Benevolent Association. past president & a life member of the Western Michigan Law Enforcement Association & was an honorary member of the Michigan Chapter of the Associated Public Safety Communications Officers.  Additionally, Mr. Castenholz was a life member of the International Municipal Signal Association as well as a life member of the Muskegon Elks Lodge # 274.  SURVIVORS 7 grandchildren, Kathy (Nick) Keeler of Kentwood, Dr. Frederick R. (Pam) Castenholz of Ann Arbor, Roderick W. (Sherri) Castenholz & Brian S. (Cindy) of Mt. Clemens & Robert (Karen) Lindstrom;  14 great grand children & by his daughter-in-law, Sandra Castenholz, also of Mt. Clemens.  Mr. Castenholz was preceded in death by his wife, Maxine in 1990 & by his son, Eugene Roger Castenholz in 1973.  SERVICE Saturday, December 4, 1999, 11:00 am at First Congregational Church with Rev. Thomas Mason officiating.  Interment at Evergreen Cemetery.  VISITATION Friday 2-4 & 7-9 pm at Clock Funeral Home.  Clock Muskegon

Information donated by Bill Moore




Muskegon Chronicle, Muskegon Michigan, March 10, 1923

HENRY CASTENHOLZ CALLED BY DEATH AT LOS ANGELES  Had Been Prominent in Business Circles of Muskegon For Many Years

HIS ILLNESS IS BRIEF Passing Causes First Break in Family of Five Brothers and a Sister  Henry Castenholz, prominent in business circles here for many years and a member of the firm of Castenholz Bros., died at Los Angeles at 2 a.m. today after a brief illness, death being due to a relapse from an attack of influenza.  The news was received in a telegram from Raymond Castenholz to William Castenholz this morning.  A message was received here Saturday from Mayor Joseph Castenholz of North Muskegon, giving the first news of the illness of his brother.  In a long distance telephone message Sunday he said both Mr. and Mrs. Henry Castenholz were in a critical condition.  John Castenholz, chairman of the county road commission, and also a brother of Henry left for California as soon as the first message was received.  He will not reach Los Angeles until late today and an effort was being made to communicate with him en route to inform him

of his brother's death.  Information came yesterday that Henry Castenholz seemed slightly improved, and three specialists who had been attending Mr. Castenholz and his wife hoped he would survive the attack.  Was Active in Business  Although Henry Castenholz never took as prominent a part in civic matters in Muskegon as other members of his family, he was extremely active in a business way, especially in developing the large real estate holdings in Muskegon.  He at times had practically complete charge of the development of

the Castenholz properties.  With his brothers, Henry Castenholz was connected with the packing house here for many years and through this business had a large acquaintance in various parts of the county.  The Henry Castenholz home was at the old homestead, Getty and Dale avenues.  Mayor and Mrs. Joseph Castenholz, Mrs. and Mrs. Henry Castenholz, Mrs. Barbara Laughray and Mrs. and Mrs. Raymond Castenholz and families left for California overland early last fall.  They operate a large ranch near Los Angeles and have other large property holdings there as well as in Muskegon.   Recently Donna, the little daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Castenholz was

stricken with scarlet fever at Hollywood.  Mrs. Joseph Castenholz is in quarantine with her granddaughter.  Then came this illness of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Castenholz.  Mrs. Henry Castenholz is still in a critical condition.  Will Be Buried Here  The body will be brought to Muskegon for burial although naturally no funeral arrangements have been made.  William Castenholz was awaiting the arrival of his brother, Joseph, in Los Angeles for information.  Henry Castenholz was about 60 years old.  He was born in Milwaukee and came

to Muskegon more than 50 years ago.  Besides the widow, one son, Henry Jr., survives who is with the family in the west.  The death marks the first break in the circle of five brothers and one sister, the brothers having been closely associated.  The five sons were

Joseph, John, Henry, William and Nick.  Mrs. Laughray is a sister.   MANY ATTEND FUNERAL OF HENRY CASTENHOLZ

The funeral service of Henry Castenholz, Muskegon businessman, was held from the Elks temple yesterday afternoon.  The simple but impressive services of the Elks lodge of which the deceased was a member, were held. The body was placed in the vault at Greenwood cemetery pending the recovery of the widow, who is seriously ill in Los Angeles. The services were attended by many friends, despite the downpour of rain.

Information donated by Linda Talbott




Muskegon Chronicle, Muskegon Michigan,  Oct. 2, 1882, Pg. 2, Col. 3

"DEATH OF MR. JOHN CASTENHOLZ"  During last Friday for-noon a telegram was received from Chicago stating that John Castenholz, a prominent dealer of this city in live stock, was seriously injured and requesting his family to come on.  A special train was chartered and his wife, accompanied by her sons, John and Nicholas, at once left for Chicago.  On Saturday evening another dispatch was recieved and

then his other children left - three boys and two girls- accompanied by Dr. W. H. Delap, only to find upon arriving in Chicago the next morning that Mr. C. had died.  The facts as near could be ascertained are that Mr. Castenholz retired to bed at the Harrison House and about two o'clock in the morning, in some unaccountable manner, he fell out of the third story window to the ground below.  His spine and right hip were found to be injured, and besides he sustained internal injuries which the physicians at once decided would prove

fatal.  He was conscious up to the time of his death and stated he had no knowledge as to how the accident happened.  A coroner's inquest was held yesterday and a verdict in accordance with the above facts rendered.  His remains were brought here this morning on the eight o'clock train.  He was 48 years and 11 months of age: leaves a wife and seven children, two of whom are minors.  The funeral will take place at nine o'clock to-morrow morning from St. Mary's (Catholic) Church.   Mr. Castenholz was proprietor the Muskegon Stock yards, and had been engaged in that business here about 10 years.  He was an excellent business  man and a man of fine qualities.  He was known by a host of friends, who will be pained to hear of his death.  A large circle of friends extend their condolence to the afflicted wife and children.

Information donated by Linda Talbott




Muskegon Chronicle, Muskegon Michigan, Aug 17, 1925

Veteran Road Builder Dies John Castenholz, Former Highway Commissioner, Take by Stroke John Castenholz, 72 years old, a leader in the good roads movement in Western Michigan, and for 18 years an alderman in Muskegon, died at the family home on Getty avenue last night.  Death followed a paralytic stroke suffered January 12, 1924 while he was actively engaged in his duties as chairman of the Muskegon county road commission. For the last four weeks, Mr. Castenholz has been gradually growing weaker, but Friday he was able to take a short automobile ride.  He continued to grow weaker Sunday, until the end came during the early evening.  The members of his family with the exception of one sister, were present. Mr. Castenholz probably played as important a part in the shaping of the

good roads program for Muskegon county as any other  person.  It was his energy, and foresight which to a large degree brought Muskegon its present network of paved trunk line highways. For 18 years Mr. Castenholz served the old fourth and seventh wards on the

city council, playing an important part in the operations of the city during that ong period.  Later he became identified with the good roads movement through the Chanber of Commerce. Then seven years ago Mr. Castenholz was selected by the board of supervisors as a county road commissioner.  He at once brought about a reorganization of the board and this marked the intensive period of road

building in Muskegon county.  Up until that time there had been more or less friction between the county road commission and the supervisors and Muskegon  had only a limited mileage of paved highway.  Mr. Castenholz realized that road building must be undertaken on a big scale, and he set out to enlist aid of others in putting over the program.  His service of about five years on the county commission saw the start and the completion of the Belt highway, and also the connecting up of a paved way between Muskegon and Grand Haven.  The stroke suffered in January, '24 brought to an end his activities, however, but the program was well underway.  At one time Mr. Castenholz also served as county superintendant of poor.  Mr. Castenholz was born in Millwaukee, Feb. 14, 1853, the son of Mr. and

Mrs. John Castenholz.  He came to Muskegon in 1870, and the family has been prominent in activities here since that date.  This is especially true of the Castenholz brothers, John, Henry, Joseph, William and Nick.  The first break in the family came two years ago when Henry Castenholz, a member of the firm of Castenholz Bros. died while spending the winter in California. Mr. Castenholz was married in 1874 and three of the six children born are now living.  They are Mrs. Helen E. Ruggles of Whitehall, Charles J. Castenholz, of Chicago and Fred A. Castenholz, of Grand Rapids.  Mr. Castenholz' first wife died in 1887 and in January, 1889 he was united in marriage to Mrs. Anna Johnson, who survives.  In addition to the three brothers, a sister, Mrs. Barbara Laughray who is no in boston, survives. There are also two grand children, Chloe Isabella Ruggles and Frederick E. Castenholz.

Information donated by Linda Talbott


CASTENHOLZ, Raymond Henry





Muskegon Chronicle, Muskegon, MI Friday, September 9, 1966, page 13

ROBERT CASTENHOLZ   RAVENNA – Robert L. Castenholz, 37 of R.R. 2, Ravenna,  died Thursday at Mercy Hospital in Muskegon, where he had been a patient two weeks.   He was born April 27, 1929, in Muskegon and moved to Ravenna as a child.  He married  Elma Radford on Aug. 13, 1948.  For the past nine years he and his wife operated a  bakery.  He was a member of St. Catherine’s Catholic Church of Ravenna and was the  dispatcher for the Moorland Township Fire Department.  Surviving are his widow; a  daughter, Constance, at home; his mother, Mrs. Edward Burns of Muskegon; three  sisters, Mrs. Carl Oatman of Los Angeles, Mrs. Hamel Ryan of Muskegon and Mr. (sic)  Kenneth Schrader of Ravenna; two brothers, Edward of Ravenna and Carroll of Bailey.  The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Catherine’s with burial in the church  cemetery.  The Rosary will be at 8:30 p.m. today at the Throop Funeral home.

Information donated by Bill Moore




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