Schoenstein’s Visit Ancestral Home
Villingen, an historic and charming walled city near Baden-Baden in Germany’s beautiful Black Forest, was the home of the original Schoenstein firm where Felix F. Schoenstein learned the trade from his family before emigrating to America to establish Schoenstein & Co.. Ed Schoenstein, grandson of Felix, and his wife Patricia visited Villingen to meet family members and search city records for official information on the family and the firm.
The Uberburgermeister of Villingen, Dr. Rupert Kubon, received them at the Rathaus on September 22, 2017. The Schoensteins presented the Mayor a letter from company President Jack Bethards stating in part “We owe our founding and our success to the brilliance of German craftsmanship. In fact, the whole organ business in America owes much to the many German craftsmen who came here to establish organ building in the new world . . . Still today we maintain close relationships with our German organ building colleagues as members of the International Society of Organbuilders. Many of the parts used in our organs are made by German suppliers.”
Mr. & Mrs. Schoenstein arranged the donation of a portrait of Karl Schoenstein, Felix’s brother, to the Franciskaner Museum. They also visited the Villingen city archives to see an official document dated 1557 with the seal of Johannes Schoenstein, first documented member of the family.