Monday, April 19, 2010

Charles Baetz, Bandmaster

Charles Baetz was born in Renghausen, Germany on November 27, 1836. A musician by training, he learned to play the violin, and later, the cornet. He came to the United States in 1854. According to the U.S. Civil War Soldiers database, Baetz was the principal musician for Company A of the 128th Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. He directed the military band at the federal prison at Johnson’s Island during the Civil War.

In 1862, Charles Baetz married Mary Graul. They had a family of four children: Sophia, Eugene, Meta, and Gertrude. The first Mrs. Charles Baetz died in 1894. By 1900, Charles Baetz had remarried. The second Mrs. Charles Baetz was Dorothy Matern, the daughter of a local stove merchant. (Dorothy’s sister Emma Matern Weaver was a talented artist.)

When the Cedar Point Pleasure Resort Company was formed in 1887, the partnership consisted of Charles Baetz, Louis Adolph, Adam Stoll, Jacob Kuebeler and Benjamin Dwelle. The group chose Baetz to be the General Manager of Cedar Point for the 1888 season. Mr. Baetz continued to be connected with Cedar Point until 1897.
In 1867, Charles Baetz had founded the Great Western Band. The Great Western Band played for concerts and dances at Cedar Point. This band became well known, and won several competitions. Baetz had also been involved in the insurance business in Sandusky, and for a time was the manager of the Biemiller's Opera House.

Charles Baetz died in Battle Creek Michigan, on September 26, 1907. His funeral was held at the family residence on Washington Street. He was buried in Sandusky’s Oakland Cemetery. A lovely tribute to Mr. Baetz appeared in the October 11, 1907 issue of the Sandusky Star Journal. The article read in part, “A story of the life of Charles Baetz must necessarily embrace much of the history of band music and entertainment in Sandusky….”

To read more about the history of the Great Western Band and Cedar Point, check out the book Cedar Point: The Queen of American Watering Places, by David W. and Diane Demali Francis, available at the Sandusky Library.

1 comment:

Walton E. Stevens said...

Charles Baetz was my great grandfather. Thru Sophie Baetz who married David McCullough Stevens in 1890 in Sandusky Their second child Walton b. in NYC in 1896 was my father. Walton E. Stevens b.1923 in Brooklyn NY