Wenzel’s Farm: Fresh starts
By Kris Leonhardt
Before moving to Colby to establish the business that would become Wenzel & Wenzel, William K. Wenzel had worked for the Bauer brothers in their Marshfield meat shop. In October 1901, Wenzel returned to the location to set up a business in Marshfield, purchasing the building from the youngest Bauer brother and his business partner.
In Marshfield Wenzel and his uncle Albert Wenzel ran a successful meat business. Albert’s three sons came into the trade as well.
William separated from the partnership in the summer of 1908 to open his own shops in Marshfield and Edgar.
A year later, he purchased a building at 322 S. Central Ave. and established the Palace Meat Market. He would then resume his partnership with Albert, and the two ran the Palace Meat Market and the Star Market in conjunction until 1916.
In 1916 William sold the Palace Market to refocus his attention to the farms he owned. He also moved to Medford for a brief time before returning to Marshfield to set up a meat market with business partner J.J. Regenfuss. William also became a contract turkey buyer for Peter Fox & Sons out of Chicago, covering an area that included Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. He continued dual responsibilities for three years until illness caused him to sell his portion of the meat market business to Regenfuss.
As he regained health, William turned his attention back to the farms while continuing to work for Fox & Sons, and he later entered the cattle buying business for his farm.
In 1934 Fox & Sons looked to expand and convinced William to get into veal. William and his son Harry C. began to purchase calves, which they processed in a small building on their farm located south of Marshfield on East 29th Street. The processed veal was shipped to Fox & Sons in Chicago.
As the business grew, the Wenzels remodeled the 29th Street farm’s dairy barn, adding holding pens, a cooler, and a slaughter house. The calf-buying business soon became William and Harry C.’s primary revenue source.
After fighting a lingering illness, in October 1942 William passed away in his South Vine Street home at the age of 68.
Harry C. then took over the meat business, continuing to specialize in veal processing and shipping.
Next week: Building a year-round business