Christian G. Kuennen

Page 529-530 Ė Christian G. Kuennen, president of the Wilcox-Kuennen Company, engaged in the automobile trade in Grand Rapids, as territorial agents for and distributors of the Chevrolet automobiles, has been for many years engaged successfully in the plumbing and heating business in this city, and it is to the latter enterprise that he gives the major part of his time and attention. Mr. Kuennen was born in Grand Rapids, on the 28th of April, 1869, and is a representative of a family that was founded here in the pioneer days, more than seventy years ago. His parents, the late John and Louise (Buck) Kuennen, were born and reared in Germany, where their marriage was solemnized and whence they came to the United States and established their home in Grand Rapids in the year 1853. Here the father followed his trade, that of tanner, during a period of many years, and he was one of the highly esteemed pioneer citizens of Grand Rapids at the time of his death, bout the year 1877, his widow having survived him by a number of years, and both having been earnest communicants of the Catholic church. Grand Rapids was incorporated as a city in 1850, but was still little more than a village when John Kuennen and his wife here established their home. Most of the surrounding country was still covered with the native timber, and it is to be recalled that in the early days John Kuennen shot three deer near the land that now constitutes the beautiful John Ball Park of Grand Rapids. Christian G. Kuennen attended in his boyhood the parochial school of St. Maryís church, and as he was but nine years of age at the time of his fatherís death he was early thrown largely upon his own resources. He has been distinctly one of the productive workers, and energy and ambition marked his course as a boy and youth. His first work was as a collector for the firm of Shriver, Wealthy & Company, and thereafter he learned the plumberís trade, at which he became a skilled artisan and which followed twelve years as a journeyman. He next gave service as a traveling representative for Fairbanks-Morse & Company, a Chicago concern engaged in the wholesale scale and engine business, and in 1897 he purchased an interest in a plumbing and heating shop on Bridge street, where he thus became a member of the firm Barnett, Richards & Kuennen. Four years later he retired from this partnership and engaged independently in the same line of business, which he has continued in the original quarters, 115 Crescent street, northwest, to the present time. Honorable methods and policies and effective service have gained for him a substantial business that marks him as one of the leading exponents of this important line of enterprise in his native city. In 1922 Mr. Kuennen became associated with Stanford Wilcox in the organization of the Wilcox-Kuennen Company, which has since developed a prosperous business in the handling of the Chevrolet automobiles, but as before stated, Mr. Kuennen continues to give the greater part of his attention to the management of his plumbing and heating business. He is one of the progressive business men of his native city and is held in popular confidence and esteem.

Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 25 November 2002