Louis Kuehnle, Sr. received the training of a first-class chef in Germany before he emigrated to the United States in 1849. He obtained employment in top hotels in New York City and Washington, DC, where he presided as the chef in the hotel where President Buchanan boarded.
He married Katherine Werdann, another German immigrant, in 1852, probably in New York City, where their first and second sons George W. and Louis, Jr. were born. Egg Harbor City, New Jersey was organized by a group of German immigrants wishing to be free of the prejudice and discrimination against Germans experienced on account of the "Know Nothing" party that arose about that time. The Kuehnle family had moved to Egg Harbor by 1858, where their third son, Henry was born and where Louis, Sr. opened the New York Hotel facing the very convenient railroad station on Atlantic Avenue on the corner of Liverpool Avenue, which had been designed as the city's premiere street.
Louis was heavily immersed in the Egg Harbor City community where he served on the school board, on the city council, and was elected mayor for several terms. In January of 1875, he expanded the hostelry operations to Atlantic City, where he opened Kuehnle's Hotel, also advantageous placed across from the railroad station there.
The Atlantic City hotel was placed under the management of his son, Louis,Jr. Louis Sr. remained affiliated with the Egg Harbor hotel until his death, after which time the hotel there was converted into a home for his third son Henry and his family.
The 1880 census shows Louis Sr. and Katherine living with his son George and his wife Bertha. In addition, Katherine's niece Caroline Werdrann, aged 15 lived with them at that time. In the approximate year 2002, I was contacted by the great-granddaughter of Caroline Werdrann. She told me that her ancestor had married a man in Egg Harbor City and had given her daughter the middle name "Kuehnle" -- we both assumed this action was taken to honor the kindness shown to her in taking her into their home. On this census form, Caroline's birth place is shown as New York City, so we assume that Katherine and her brother both immigrated to New York from Germany. Unfortunately, 1870 information for Caroline's father cannot be located.
On the 1880 census form, George gives his profession as "civil engineer." The census taker on that form (which can be found in the Appendix) is George W. Kuehnle himself.
Louis, Sr. died in Egg Harbor in 1885. A photo of his tombstone is below:
George and Bertha relocated away from Egg Harbor City. On the Federal 1910 census, we find them in Albany, New York, where George was a civil engineer with the U.S. government. At this time, they had three children living with them: Bertha, Edwin, and Gertrude. The same census also tells us that Bertha had six children, five of whom were living in 1910. The Kuehnle plot at the Egg Harbor City cemetery has a tombstone marked "Baby" with no name or date. I suspect this may be Bertha's child who died.
Unfortunately, the 1900 census of the family, which would tell us the names of their other two children, cannot be found.
On the 1920 Census, George and Bertha with their daughter Gertrude, were in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York, where George was still employed as a civil engineer with the U.S. Government. Their daughter Gertrude was employed at the time as a "private secretary."
There is currently no other information available about George and Bertha or their children.
Henry married Emma Christina Schemm, and together they had six children, all of whom settled in the vicinity of Egg Harbor City. Daughters Emma, Kate, and Florence lived in homes on Liverpool Avenue bought for them by Henry and Emma, and for awhile their son Louis and his wife Esther Bozarth Kuehnle with their daughters Gertrude and Helen lived on the same street.
Louis' and Katherine's son Louis Jr. acquired some fame as the first "boss" of Atlantic City. A summary of his life can be found in the obituary of his death in 1934. He was featured in the book The Social Anxieties of Progressive Reform: Atlantic City, 1854-1920 written by Martin Paulsson and published in 1994.
The book Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson and Terence Winter was published in the early 2000's and adapted to the screen by producer Martin Scorcese. Our "Uncle Lou" (shown on the right) is adapted into an easier-to-pronounce "Commodore Kaestner" in the HBO series and is played by the actor Dabney Coleman. The latter book and the HBO series largely features the men who came after him. My mother Jean Henderson Wiegand knew her Great Uncle Lou well, and spoke of him very fondly. He died when she was a young teenager. Her favorite gift from him was a parrot which only she in her family was able to handle. (Left - Coleman as Uncle Lou).