The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Rise and Fall of the F. Klopp Rope Making Enterprise

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The Collapse of the Wolmirstedt Business Venture

Adapted and translated from Eberhard Klopp’s Family Chronicle

Chart I – II

Within five years the Klopp and Weihe families had added amongst and against each other so many wounds that only after a century one can look at them with a certain emotional detachment. They should not remain the last ones. Within the course of one generation, the two families had drifted apart and  the deep gulf of enmity between them was steadily widening. In the Weihe family the daughter did no longer communicate with her mother, in the Klopp family mother, brothers, sisters no longer with Emma’s eldest son. In the Klopp/Weihe family – no longer worth being called a family – all members completely acted out their mutual dislikes emerging out of the most varied and unlikely causes.

Windmill

The mill my grandfather Peter Friedrich Klopp owned and operated is now a German heritage site.

In the Klopp house in Wolmirstedt Friedrich devoted all his energies to the business. For the boat people on the River Ohre he produces ropes and cords, which the rope manufacturing plant ‘Seilerei von Friedrich Klopp’ kept ready for his costumers. Furthermore, he acquired a piece of land with a workshop south of the Ohre bridge on the right side on the road to Elbeu. There Friedrich and his workers twisted hemp fiber into ropes, The length of the ‘rope course’ was 15 m. In front of the bridge ramp the last house on the left at the Magdeburg Str. was the inn ‘At the Anchor’ (Zum Anker). It served as the meeting place for the Ohre boaters and was strategically located only 40 m from Friedrich’s factory and residence. Diagonally across stood ‘Fatje’s Hotel’, which served as a kind of exchange agency for goods and services, where the Wolmirstedt business elite would do their trading transactions. At the business table would often sit among other dignitaries Carl Loß (1865 – 1937), owner of a nobleman’s estate and of the largest sugar and starch factory of the region. Through him Friedrich primarily sold his various rope products. Ropes and nets were very useful and much-needed during harvest time. In order to secure the safe transport of sugar beets on the horse-drawn wagons they found much use in the Loß’s agricultural enterprise.

In these years 1907 and 1908 two more children were born to the Friedrich Klopp family. Under slowly deteriorating economic conditions Friedrich managed to provide food and shelter for his growing family until 1912, when he gave up his business. The steady decline of shipping  on the Ohre River reduced the profitability of his business. The taking down of the old wooden Hindenburg Bridge in 1908 and the long wait for the construction of the new stone bridge cut off Friedrich’s access to the market, further diminishing his already declining business. Add to these problems new attempts by his brother Ferdinand to seize house and business and we find the perfect recipe for financial ruin and disaster.

To be continued ….

Like-minded People of Applegrove Road – Conclusion

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF APPLEGROVE ROAD

By late Bill Laux

In 1969 Elsje De Boer and her husband from Calgary bought the old Aspinall place at the Fauquier end of Applegrove Road. Starting in 1976 they used it for summer outings. The following year Elsje had Bill Jeffries build a sleeping cabin on the place. In 1987 her son built her a permanent house and after Jim Huth and Bill Laux completed the interior finishing, she moved in.

The Arrow Lake that attracted Like-Minded People on Applegrove Road

The Arrow Lake that attracted Like-Minded People on Applegrove Road

In 1979 Robin and Dorothy Huth, from Calgary, with the Madills and Stevensons were able to buy lakefront lot 8099 from Weinberg, a Portland, Oregon real estate speculator. This man had for years had an agent in Victoria instructed to put a $50 bid on every piece of waterfront property in British Columbia that came up for Tax Sale. By the time of the dam construction in 1967 it turned out that he owned between 100 and 200 properties on Arrow Lake. Robin Huth and his son, Jim, were able to put in a steep, many switch backed road to access it from Applegrove Road. In 1980 Jim and Rae Ann Huth built a lakefront cabin at the foot of this road and moved in. Jim began building his parents a house nearby. The Madills, rejecting the difficulties of the access road, bought in Fauquier instead. The Stevensons went to New Zealand.

Eric Arnold, a millwright from Squamish, bought lakeshore lot 8098, probably from Weinberg, about this time and built a small house on float logs, which he moored at the lakeshore. Unfortunately, a storm the next year wrecked the unprotected structure. His wife was not comfortable in so isolated a location, so the Arnolds left.

Jim and Rae Ann Huth left about 1990 for Vancouver Island and Robin and Dorothy lived in happy near-seclusion in their lakeshore home until medical problems required a move to Salmon Arm. They sold it as a retirement property to a German couple, Sabine and Karl-Heinz Mocikat, about 2000. Jim and Rae Ann’s cabin was rebuilt to a house by Bob and Monique Gellatly, an Ontario couple, who lived there for a few years, while he worked locally as a plumber. It was later bought as a summer place by Borowski, an engineer from Calgary, who is building a second house on it,

The first telephone line came up Applegrove Road in 1979 and BC

Hydro followed when the Burmeisters from Germany bought the Bruner place from Peter Makar’s wife in 1990. They had the lovely “cedar tunnel,” a true scenic treasure, felled on the lower part of the Applegrove Road and hydro poles run into their place. The Burmeisters set up resort accommodations down on the lake and operate as Kokanee Bay Resort and Farm.

In 1994 the Hydro lines were extended up Applegrove Road to Glasheens, Nila Campbell an4 Eichenauers. Jimmi Mead stuck with her solar power as she still does.

Lillian Liberty bought part of the old Sherwood property next to Lee Helle in 1989 and had a house built with a magnificent view of the lake below and Edgewood opposite. Like many earlier Applegrove residents she depends on solar and water power for electricity.

View from Taite Creek South to Helle's Lakeshore Propery

View from Taite Creek South to Helle’s Lakeshore Propery

In 1994 the Highways Department was still insisting on calling and signing Applegrove Road as “Fauquier Upper Road,” a vague and meaningless name. Bill Laux, having got agreement from all the landholders along the road, petitioned Highways for a change of name, as the Applegrove Site was still Iisted on B.C. Government maps. On November 23,1994, Highways conceded, and “Fauquier Upper Road” became officially “Applegrove Road” and was so signed.

Hydro power was extended from Burmeisters to Bumpus and Laux in 1996 and the days of kerosene lamps, carrying messages to town by horseback and noisy diesel generators were now over for them.

A new couple, Marney and Zane Kushniryk bought Nila Campell’s “Retreat Centre” in 1999 and moved in the next year to build two unique and secluded rental cabins as a source of income.

Ken and Denise Douglas arrived about the same time, buying one of the Haugland lots above Elsje De Boer’s.

Canadians, Americans, Germans, Dutch, there is still a strong and unique degree of like-mindedness among most of the residents of Applegrove Road. For nearly a hundred years the dusty road to Taite Creek and beyond has supported a succession of groups of homesteaders, communitarians and others eager to invent their own ways of living. They value the area for what it is, an unspoiled and undeveloped area of mountain slope and lakefront, whose residents still grow much of their food and live as their convictions have told them they must.

Salute to Günther Kegler (1894 – 1986) Chart II a II

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Günther Kegler was a true patriot who dearly loved his fatherland. Historians made many attempts to trace back the causes of the two World Wars. By doing so they put the blame on Prussia. This German state with its military might was the driving force behind Germany’s first unification after the French-German War in 1871. To single out Prussia as being the root cause for the great wars of the 20th century is a gross oversimplification of history. It totally ignores the injustice done by the Treaty of Versailles, which imposed through its harsh economic measures incredible hardships on the German population. Thus, it created among millions of unemployed workers a fertile breeding ground for the radical ideas promoted by the Nazis, which were swept to power in 1933. There is a lesson to be learned. Social injustice leads to widespread unrest and turmoil, which is often taken advantage of by demagogues, who will gain control with their promises to bring prosperity and set things right.

Prussian Cadet

My uncle was deeply troubled by the prevailing historical claims in postwar Germany. They made the ideals of Prussia responsible for all the misery and horror of the two World Wars. When I immigrated to Canada in 1965, he gave me a postcard with a picture of a Prussian cadet and on the backside he typed a little poem, which I will attempt to translate into English.

Prussian Cadet Text

They served their king for honor

and did not much ask for money.

To live as model to follow – so it was taught in the army –

was more important than to die as hero in battle.

When one day the last Prussians have passed away;

One will remember them.

Stones will no longer be thrown at them:

The stones could shatter the Western glass house.

With these lines I conclude my report on my uncle. Looking at our present day world one might detect in them a somber warning, a prophecy perhaps we wish not to come true.

Hiking in the Spring – Part I

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Taite Creek Trail

Today I start with a recreational theme on hiking. There are many wonderful hiking trails in and around Fauquier that are waiting to be discovered. Also there is no better time to explore the awakening of spring than by a walk through the woods along the rushing waters of a creek. Even if one was blind and could not see the beauty, the fresh aromatic air swirling about one’s face and the melt waters thundering at a distance would be enough to make you feel in tune with Mother Nature.

View onto the Lake at Taite Creek Campground

View onto the Lake at Taite Creek Campground

This afternoon after a heavy rain during the night the sun was shining brightly. So Biene (Gertrud) and I felt like driving down on Applegrove Road to our favorite spot at Taite Creek. We were lucky. We had the lake, the beach, and the campground all to ourselves. After our customary game of boccia and some home-made cake and coffee, which I brewed on our camp stove, I went for a hike, while Biene enjoyed the peace and quiet in the warm sun to do some knitting.

A Tree half uprooted by a Storm forms a beautiful Arch

A Tree half uprooted by a Storm forms a beautiful Arch

More than ten years ago a sports-minded father created with axe and chainsaw a challenging dirt bike trail for his teenage son. We discovered it by chance and since it had been abandoned by father and son it turned out to be one of our favorite hiking trails.

IMG_5512

Last Look at the Lake before Turning Left

For the first 500 m it runs parallel to the lake until it reaches the mouth of Taite Creek. Then turning left it follows the creek for about one km before it moves away into dense forest. Old overgrown logging roads crisscross the area creating a veritable maze where you could get easily lost. Luckily the boy’s father had carefully marked the path by tying yellow ribbons onto tree branches. Near the end the trail changes direction and crosses an old growth forest area, where in the fall I find some of the choicest mushrooms for our dinner table.

Wild Wilderness at its Best

Wild Wilderness at its Best

Everything except for the trail is wild around here. This is perfect wilderness and nature at its best. One must often climb over a tree trunk that a violent storm had blown over across the path. Canada geese nest near the lake. The air is filled with the high-pitched voices of the osprey. And if you are lucky, you might see the king among the birds of prey, the bald eagle, soaring high above in the sky.

Trees Stretching to the Light

Trees Stretching to the Light

The trail ends at the bridge on Applegrove Road. If you are ambitious and don’t want to return to camp by the same route, you can extend your beautiful walk a little by turning it into a full circle tour. From the bridge you walk a few hundred meters in the direction of Fauquier, until you see the campground access road, which will lead you back where you started. There will be more posts on hiking trails in the near future on this blog.

IMG_5513

Chapter IX The P. and G. Klopp Story – Part IV

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 Succulent Peaches and Playful Friendship with a French Girl

The yard around the house at Maria-Theresia-Str. 4 was beautiful indeed. A hedge completely surrounded the property except for the iron wrought gate near the main entrance of the house. Various fruit trees decorated a good part of the yard, and the peaches were reaching full maturity. There was nobody who expressly told me not to eat them. I ate them, because they were there and because they tasted delicious. With each new bite the juice was squirting into my face and running down on each side of my mouth. My taste buds were so delighted that I overindulged in the pleasure of eating the succulent fruits, until my stomach began to grumble and was sending warning messages, which I chose to ignore. Too late! At first I barely made it up the two flights of stairs to get to the bathroom on time. Then the visceral revolt became too strong, I ran behind a bush to relieve myself. A woman from a next-door balcony watched in horror the revolting sight and rushed over to complain to my aunt, “This boy did not have the decency to go to the washroom and he disgusted himself on the lawn.” This was the way she described it in her excessive sensibility regarding bodily functions with that the rare German expression ‘Er hat sich verekelt.’

 

House, where Aunt Meta lived - Photo Credit: Google Earth

House, where Aunt Meta lived – Photo Credit: Google Earth

On the ground floor lived a high-ranking officer of the French occupation forces with his wife and a daughter, who was about my age. She often came out on the yard to play with me. There was no language barrier. We played all the simple games we had learned in school that required no or very little equipment, such as hopscotch, throwing pebbles into a circle, hide-and-go-seek, etc. Prejudices of our two different nationalities did not exist in our young hearts. The extent of my French vocabulary after three months of instruction was still under one hundred. However, under the tutelage of this vivacious little girl bubbling over with words and gestures my stock of words grew by leaps and bounds. When I made my first attempt to use some of the new phrases I had learned from her, she giggled goodnaturedly over my enthusiastic effort to communicate in her mother tongue. I have very fond memories of my summer holidays in Freiburg, and they will remain as one of the pleasant highlights of my childhood years in Southern Germany.

St. Martin Church Messkirch - Photo Credit: wikipedia.org

St. Martin Church Messkirch – Photo Credit: wikipedia.org

Upon my return to Messkirch things were looking up for awhile. My homeroom teacher Fräulein Welte was quite pleased with my sudden interest in French and with the general improvement in the other subjects as well. My more positive attitude was in part prompted by the so-called ‘blue’ letter. It was sent home to inform parents about their child’s poor performance in school. Now I was no longer in danger of failing the grade. Also there was a more pleasant atmosphere at the Stoll family. They must have enjoyed the break from having to deal with me during the summer holidays. The focus was now on the upcoming joyful event. For the baby was due in less than two weeks.

The P. and G. Klopp Story – Chapter IX Part III

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Stress Free Summer Holidays in Freiburg

 

The summer holidays came as a relief from the mounting anxieties that I felt in school and at the Stoll’s. My parents put me on the train to Freiburg, where Aunt Meta lived at Maria-Theresia-Str. 4.

Freiburg - Photo Credit: newline-magazine.com

Freiburg – Photo Credit: newline-magazine.com

The city has now a population of 200,000 people. Historically, Freiburg has acted as the hub of the Breisgau region on the western edge of the Black Forest in the Upper Rhine Plain. One of the famous old German university towns, archiepiscopal seat, the city was incorporated in the early 12th century and developed into a major commercial, intellectual and ecclesiastical center of the region. Freiburg is located in the heart of a major wine-growing area and serves as the primary tourist entry point to the scenic beauty of the Black Forest.

When I arrived at my aunt’s apartment, I immediately felt that a great burden had been taken off my shoulders. Aunt Meta, Father’s youngest sister, cheerfully received me into her pleasant home and the love, which I had been so sorely missing for the last three months, she lavished upon the youngest child of her youngest brother Ernst. Her husband, Professor Vincenz Mülbert, had been suffering from a lengthy illness and was in the hospital during my entire stay. Meta Emma Klopp made me feel right away at home, and even though she had no children of her own, she was like a mother to me. And when I needed correcting for something in my conduct that she strongly disapproved of, her kind words flowing from a warm and understanding heart accomplished much more than the harsh treatment that I had endured at the carpenter’s house in Messkirch.

Aunt Meta

Aunt Meta

In the spacious living room stood a grand piano. Tante Meta allowed me to play on it, even though I had never received any lessons. What attracted me were not its sheer size and unusual shape and the looks of the mysterious white and black keys. Rather I was fascinated by the discovery that by simply pressing the keys of the piano I entered a world hitherto unknown to me, the amazing world of musical sounds. Each individual note or sequence of notes created a pleasant sensation, which made me search for other notes to reinforce it. I once sang Kindergarten songs to seek comfort from the fear of darkness, I played a kazoo to express the joy of being part of a group, but the notes I played on the piano had a more profound impact. They provided a first glimpse into the power of music to open the doors to my inner being, the very gateway to my soul. However, for someone else, especially for Aunt Meta my musical explorations on the keyboard must have been horrible to listen to. Her patience and understanding were truly admirable.

Freiburg Cathedral - Photo Credit: wikipedia.org

Freiburg Cathedral – Photo Credit: wikipedia.org

On Sundays Aunt Meta took me to the church service in the famous Münster of Freiburg. Everything in the cathedral, the towering stone columns, the stained glass windows, the altar, indeed the entire building itself inside and outside point heavenward towards God. You stand there in awe of the splendor created to the glory of God by generations of craftsmen. The priest delivered a sermon whose content I have long forgotten. It must have been a very simple homily. For almost every sentence emphasized the need to pray and the need to be thankful. And that was I guess the essence of what the priest conveyed to his flock in church.

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