by Lois Jones - December 2002
The Zenz family must have experienced quite a culture shock when they came to Los Angeles. They left a village of about 300 people and arrived in Los Angeles when it was undergoing tremendous growth. In 1869 the transcontinental railroad connecting San Francisco to the east was completed. Seven year later in 1876, Los Angeles and San Francisco were joined by rail via the San Joaquin Valley. In 1885 a second route from Los Angeles to the east was completed by the Santa Fe Railroad via the southern United States.
According to Maxwell's 1895 Los Angeles City Directory by Los Angeles Directory Co.: "The population of the city has been in 1860, 3000; in 1870, 5000; in 1880, 11,000; in 1890, 50,200; in 1895, 80,202." At the start of the 20th Century the Los Angeles population totaled more than 100,000. This rapid growth was due to several factors. One of the most important factors was the railroad made it easier to get to Los Angeles.
Articles extolling the beauty of Los Angeles also helped spur the growth of the city. The 1886/87 Los Angeles City and County Directory by A. A. Byron had the following to say about Pasadena, one of the many suburbs of Los Angeles: "An Eastern gentlemen of culture recently took the early morning train from Los Angeles for Pasadena, and upon his return in the evening was asked by the writer what he thought of the place. He replied that he thought it by far the most beautiful spot he had ever seen. And, said he, 'I have traveled throughout Italy, France, England and most of Europe, but there is nothing like this Paradise anywhere. Here is February and the air is loaded with most delicious fragrance from the orange groves, and the profusion of rare flowers and blossoming shrubbery that fill every garden, and spring spontaneously from every field and vacant lot. They seem to transport the beholder to some land where the curse put upon the race in Eden had not even been heard of.'"
The first listing in a Los Angeles Directory for Joseph Cochems appeared in 1888. Anna was first listed in the 1890 Los Angeles Directory by W. H. L. Corran when the following was printed:
"Zenz Anna Mrs., bath attendant Frank Ey, res. 338 Center".Another directory entry for Frank Ey indicated he was a barber at 235-237 North Main and lived in Anaheim. In 1890 both Joseph and Anna were living at the 338 Center residence.
Maxwell's 1895 Directory reported that electric lighting was introduced in Los Angeles in 1882. The Directory also noted that: "Los Angeles has had two real estate booms of considerable magnitude....the second boom... in 1885-7....was one of the greatest speculations ever witnessed." Anna Zenz and her family apparently weathered the economic ups and downs quite well. The 1895 Directory lists Anna and her family as follows:
"Zenz Anna (widow Frank), r. 828 CenterIn 1895 Anna and her family had their own home and were no longer sharing a home with Joseph Cochems. Anton Zenz was working as a baker. John Zenz was apprenticed to Joseph Stich who according to another Directory entry was the proprietor of the Big Tree Carriage Works which made carriages and wagons.
The 1900 Census reported that Annie Zenz was a 60 year old widow born January 1840. She was the head of the household and her occupation was lodging house keeper. Her three sons and three male borders were enumerated with her at the 828 Center Street address. She could read and write and speak English and owned her home free of mortgage. Anthony Zenz, 26 and single, was working as a machine operator in a pump factory. Frank Zenz, 24 and single, was a wagon blacksmith. John Zenz, 21 and single, was also a wagon blacksmith. All three sons could read and write and speak English.
The 828 Center Street home was located near Keller Street and Macy Street (later renamed Cesar Chavez Ave.) east of the railroad yards and north of the 101 Freeway. At the end of the Twentieth Century the area was occupied by Piper Technical Center.
According to the 1915 Los Angeles City Directory: "...we estimate the population of the city of Los Angeles at this time to be 528,817....Including the newly annexed territory of Palms and parts of the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles now contains 284.81 square miles.
The following are extracted family names from the 1915 Los Angeles Directory.
Cochems Ella dom 1109 So HooverAnna Cochems Zenz died of lobar pneumonia at 10:00 p.m. on September 29, 1920 in the home of her daughter Anna Diemer, 1522 E. 55th St., Los Angeles. She is buried in Calvary Cemetery.
Anna Zenz Diemer (Anna III) was Franz and Anna Zenz' second child. Anna III married August Diemer about 1889. August was a recent immigrant from Wurttemberg, Germany. He travelled from Bremen on the ship Donau and arrived in New York, May 30, 1881. August first appeared in the Los Angeles Directory in 1888 when he was listed as a baker working for American Bakery. August left his young family for a short time in the late 1890's to go to the gold fields in the Klondike. He worked as a baker in the Klondike and brought back gold which was made into brooches for his wife and two daughters.
Anna and August had three children, Emma Louise (1890-1950), August E. (1892-1978), and Anna (1893-1966). According to the 1900 Census, the family lived at 917 Hawthorne Street, Los Angeles. The house was owned free of mortgage and both Anna and August could read and write and speak English. August died at the age of 67 at 3:15 a.m., Nov. 5, 1930, of heart disease. Anna III died of cancer on Nov. 20, 1936 at 11:36 p.m. She was 66 years old and was buried in Calvary Cemetery.
I could find only a few records for Peter Zenz, Frank and Anna's Zenz' third child. He was born March 13, 1872 and died July 23, 1949 at the age of 77 in Los Angeles County. Peter never married and had no children. He was not listed in the 1895 Los Angeles Directory with his mother and his brothers. I could find Peter in only one census, the 1900 California Census. In that year Peter was listed as a baker and living at 248 Second Street in Pomona. The story would have ended there were it not for my friend Peter Apanel who 100 years later in the year 2000 lived next door to the building at 248 Second Street and whose employer was restoring the building formerly occupied by Peter Zenz. Peter Apanel provided the following information.
Although there are Pomona Directories for 1898, 1903, 1905 and 1909, Peter Zenz is only listed in the 1903 directory as follows:
Zenz, Peter, baker Am. Bkry. & Rest., r. room 19 Oxarart Block
Another entry in the directory indicates a man named John McCain also a baker at American Bakery shared Room 19 with Peter Zenz.
A 1984 Pomona Historical Survey relates "Oxarart Block...248 - 266 W. Second Street ...A row of twelve arched windows along the front of the second floor mark this building as a very fine example of an 1880's commercial building. The original two-over-two double-hung windows are an indication of the pre-1890 age of this brick structure. The first Sanborn map (1885) shows the western half of the building already in place. Although it is marked as a saloon on the map, an old picture shows that it served as an all-purpose lodging, saloon, and restaurant...In 1889, the eastern half of the building was built."
In the original building, the upstairs contained a parlor and six or seven rooms, each with a small sink. In 1889 the building was expanded to include 13 additional rooms each with sinks. The most striking change was that four toilets with baths were installed in the new addition. One room had a semi-private toilet and bath and a suite of rooms had a private toilet and bath. However most tenants used the two toilets and baths located at the rear of the building. Most rooms did not have windows facing the street but instead had a window opening out onto a hallway and a single small skylight in the ceiling.
When Peter Zenz lived at the Oxarart in the early 20th Century, the American Bakery and Restaurant was located on the ground floor. Peter's Room 19 was at the top of the stairway to the left and had two windows overlooking Second Street. To the right of the stairs was the parlor. Room 19 was 14' x 14' and shared by Peter Zenz and John McCain. Room 19 had a private entrance to the bathroom which was semi-private because when the outer doorway to the hall was unlocked the bathroom could be used by other tenants. Other than the suite of rooms, Room 19 was the nicest rental room in the building.
After many years of nonuse, at the beginning of the 21st Century the upstairs hotel has been converted to rental lofts. On the ground floor the area once occupied by American Bakery is rented to two art businesses. The owners of both businesses live in the rear of their spaces. It is nice to know that 100 years after Peter Zenz lived at the Oxarart, people are again living and working on the premises.
In 1920 Anton Zenz the fourth child of Franz and Anna Cochems Zenz lived in Upland, California with his family. According to the 1920 Census, Anton and his wife Minnie had four children, Leonel (age 16), Emil (age 12), Harold (age 9) and Harriet (age 1 yr.10 mos.). They lived at 137 Second Avenue, in the City of Upland. There were three boarders living with the family and Minnie was listed as a Lodginghouse Keeper. Anton was employed as a garage machinist. The family owned the home which was mortgaged. Minnie died on March 15, 1953. Anton died on June 17, 1963 at the age of 89 in San Bernardino Co. Son Leonel died in 1957 at the age of 53 in Los Angeles Co. Son Harold graduated from the University of Southern California and was the Chief Administrative Officer for the County of San Bernardino. Harold died June 19, 2001 in Upland, CA from a brain aneurysm.
According to the 1920 Census John Zenz, youngest child of Anna Cochems Zenz, lived in Los Angeles with his wife Birdie and daughter Helen. They owned their home free of mortgage at 465 East Avenue 28. John owned a business described as an auto body building shop.
The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner printed an article on January 30, 1966, titled "He Built Chariots" by Anne Thompson Smith. According to the article "John and his brother Frank, made carriages in Los Angeles from 1898 to 1934....The Zenz Bros. carriage shop was located on the northeast corner of Second and San Pedro Streets. They employed from 12 to 23 workers. They made surreys, wagons, carts, buggies, personal carriages, business wagons, pony carriages and chariots....Yes, chariots. These were for the chariot races which were held after the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena and preceded the football game of today....The Zenz Bros. also made the chariots for the movie 'Ben Hur'".
Birdie died on November 15, 1950. John died at the age of 90 on January 5, 1970.
East 55th Street. In 1920 Frank Zenz, fifth child of Anna Cochems Zenz, was living in Los Angeles on East 55th Street. Per the U.S. Census he and his wife Nina lived at 1532 East 55th St. with their two sons Frank (age 15) and Virgil (age 13). Frank Sr. was employed as a blacksmith and owned his home free of mortgage. He died on August 8, 1954 at the age of 79 in Los Angeles Co. Frank, Jr. died in 1993 (age 86) in San Bernardino Co.
Frank's niece Emma Diemer Hetz lived next door to him in 1920. According to the Census Charles and Emma Hetz lived at 1540 East 55th Street with their two children Emma Therese and Edward. The Hetz' also owned their home free of mortgage. There were two homes on the property and the Hetz' lived in the back house and rented out the front house.
As stated previously Anna Cochems Zenz died at 1522 East 55th Street
in the home of her daughter Anna Zenz Diemer. Annie Diemer Roach also lived
on East 55th Street for a time.