240 West Main Street,
In 1848 Christian STUEBGEN established a hotel on the site of the Saxonburg Library. It had several landlords. In 1866 Henry STUEBGEN sold the building and ground to Joseph KOHNFELDER. The old house burned in 1868, and the same year KOHNFELDER erected a large brick hotel building run as the Saxonburg Hotel and Roebling Hotel. In 1919 the Berger family bought the Hotel and built the current building tearing down the old hotel.
246/248 West Main Street, Kohnfelder Property
During the period of the American Civil War 1861-1865 there was a national income tax instituted to fund the war. It was during this period the property known today as the Kohnfelder property changed ownership often. Joseph and Pauline Kohnfelder purchased the property on both sides of West Main Street from Henry Stuebgen in 1866 and retained ownership until 1907.
ANDREW DRESHER was a native of Saxony, Germany, born in 1813, there married Fredericka SENGLE, a native of the same place, and came to Saxonburg, Butler County, in 1836. They had a family of three children when they came to this county, and three were born after their coming. Their names are as follows: Christina, who married Henry MUDER; Hannah, who married Henry EDGAR; Henry; William; Pauline born 1840, the wife of Joseph KOHNFELDER, and Harmon, deceased. Mr. DRESHER was a carpenter, and followed that business until his death, in 1862. His wife survived him until 1886. They were among the organizers of the German Lutheran Church at Saxonburg. There are no photos of Pauline but Christina Kohnfelder Muder was her sister.
At this time little is known about the beginnings of Joseph Kohfelder other than he was born in Bavaria in 1833 and died 1893. Joseph however was quite active in Saxonburg. In 1872 Joseph Kohnfelder was burgess of Saxonburg. Thereafter he often served on Borough Council. He was a charter member of the Herder Lodge, # 279 of the Knights of Phithius that was instituted December 29, 1870.
He established the Marksman Company
of Saxonburg, PA. This organization held
one of the 2 official Shutzenfest
competitions in Saxonburg from
September 17, 1853 through August 24,
1883. Kohnfelder’s was also used for
Pauline was one of 4 godparents of Wilhelm Herman Knoch son of Amelia Roebling Knoch and Herman Knoch. Joseph was a witness to Alfred Joseph Amos Knoch’s baptism child of Herman and Amelia. Pauline and Joseph were godparents down the generations of Knoch children which indicates they were close friends with the Knoch family. Amelia was niece to John Roebling designer and builder of the Brooklyn Bridge. She was the daughter of Karl Roebling John's brother.
Kohnfelder children in census 1880;
KOHNFELDER Albert 8 306B Saxonburg Boro KOHNFELDER Henry 3 306B Saxonburg Boro KOHNFELDER Odelia 12 306B Saxonburg Boro KOHNFELDER William 10
The Kohnfelder property was used by the Marksman Company of Saxonburg, PA for its official competitions September 17, 1853 through August 24, 1883. Kohnfelder’s was also used for target practice. The purpose of the Marksman Company was to perpetuate the skills involved in competitive sharp shooting. Membership dues were five cents monthly. Contestants shot toward Water Street which was 300 yards away, but it is not known how far the shooters were from the targets. The big annual shooting match was every August and lasted for four days.
The festivals featured four types of competitive shooting: target, star, deer, and kings. Each category of competition was awarded a prize. The man and woman with the highest scores were crowned king and queen of the Marksman Company and retained these titles for a year at which time a new king and queen were crowned. In September of each year, the company held a pig shoot. The prize was a pig which was roasted and eaten at the king's ball.
Ralph Goldinger in his book "Saxonburg and It's Neighbors" tells this story about Joseph.
"One particularly interesting item is found in the 1870 minutes. The meeting was to be held at Joseph Kohnfelder's place as usual. Kohnfelder, however, was "sick" with sheep head's fever (sheep's head is a card game, so he was playing cards instead of attending the meeting even though he was the host) and the minutes read that no one was present at roll call. That year's festival came off as scheduled in spite of the problem." For the rules of the game search
Saxonburg Knights of Phithius Building
215 West Main Street
These shoots were not limited to men. Women were also permitted to compete. In fact, Mrs. F. Starke was such a good shot that the men preferred not to compete against her. No Photos are available of Mrs. F. Starke but this is one of her daughter Lulu.
Most folks owned both sides of Main Street in the early days of Saxonburg. The Kohnfelder's were no different. They owned the property at 251 West Main Street which is currently Rowe's Tavern.