Prominent among the enterprising and progressive business men of Sheboygan stands Albert Fred Stenske, a well known contractor who for a number of years has been closely identified with building operations here and evidence of his skill and handiwork are seen on various sides. He was born in the Ungermark, Germany, April 6, 1865, a son of Johann and Augusta (Schwartz) Stenske. The father was a wagon maker by trade and followed that pursuit throughout his entire life, his labors being terminated in death in 1881 when he was fifty-eight years of age. His widow has since passed away.
Albert F. Stenske, one of a family of five children, began farming after completing his education and followed that pursuit in Germany until 1888 when he came to America choosing Sheboygan as the place of his residence. He here began work at the mason's trade and was thus employed until 1905 when he joined his brother-in-law in a general contracting and building business. They have since become well known as mason contractors. In connection with his partner he has erected many public buildings in Sheboygan and ranks as one of the most prominent builders of this part of the state. He not only has broad practical experience but also a thorough understanding of the great scientific principles which underlie his work, and his energy and industry have taken on tangible form in some of the leading buildings of the city.
On the 13th of December, 1890, Mr. Stenske was married to Miss Hermine Schneidewind, who was born August 21, 1871, and is a daughter of Fred and Mathilda (Firzlaff) Schneidewind. Her grandfather, William Schneidewind, was one of the first contractors of Sheboygan and erected the first brick house in the city. It is still standing at the corner of Alabama and Seventeenth streets and is marked by the date 186g. Impressed in the brick work are the initials W. F. S. and the building remains as an interesting relic of an earlier period and of a different style of architecture. Fred Schneidewind was but seven years of age when in the year 1854 he came to Sheboygan with his parents, William and Marie (Fleischhauer) Schneidewind, who on crossing the Atlantic first settled in the state of Pennsylvania but two years later came to Sheboygan where the father died, in 1875, when sixty years of age, while the mother long survived him, passing away in 1904 at the age of eighty-six.
Unto Mr. and Mrs. Stenske have been born five children: Barney, a plumber, now twenty years of age; Irene, nineteen years of age, a bookkeeper in the Schmidt general store; Florence, seventeen years of age, engaged in dress making; and Jesse and Herbert, aged respectively twelve and fourteen years, both attending school. The parents were reared in the Lutheran church and Mrs. Stenske belongs to the Ladies' Aid Society of the Emanuel Lutheran church. Both are highly esteemed in this community and Mr. Stenske occupies a prominent position in business circles. He is as well known for his reliability and his enterprise as for his skill. He has made a thorough study of the business, has acquainted himself with every feature of his trade and in his work embodies the latest and most improved styles of architecture with thorough workmanship and plans, that look to comfort and convenience as well as artistic sense. He has made gradual advancement, proving his worth as the years have gone by and the extensive patronage accorded him established his position as one of the foremost contractors of the county.
Information gathered and adapted from History of Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, Past and Present
Carl Zillier, Editor
Pubished by The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1912, Chicago, IL