Saturday, June 03, 2017

Edward Leopold Steuk, Pioneer Grape Grower and Winemaker

Edward Leopold Steuk was born in the Village of Doneuvitz, Province of Podolia, Russia, to William Edward Steuk and his wife, the former Johanna Straese. The Steuk family was of Prussian heritage, and both William Edward Steuk and his father Johann Steuk worked as cloth manufacturers. When just a youngster, Edward came with his family to the United States. For a time, William E. Steuk was involved in the clothing business, while his wife ran a grocery store on Market Street in Sandusky. Eventually he bought some land on Venice Road, and he began to raise grapes and manufacture native wine. 

Edward L. Steuk worked with his father in the wine business. In the 1870s the Steuk winery was at the corner of Market and Decatur Streets. In 1881, Edward L. Steuk married Julia Harms, the daughter of pioneer grape grower from Put in Bay.

Pictured below are Edward L. Steuk, his wife Julia, and their first two children, William Ludwig Steuk and Elmer Carl Steuk. Later  they had another son named Edward Frederick Steuk.

Edward L. Steuk carried on the family wine business after his father’s death. This advertisement appeared in the 1912 Sandusky City Directory: 

Hewson L. Peeke wrote about Mr. Steuk in his book A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio (Lewis Publishing Co., 1916): “Among the energetic and enterprising Erie County men who have met with assured success in the culture of grapes is Edward Leopold Steuk, of Sandusky, who has established an extensive and remunerative business in that line of industry.” This picture, taken not long before Mr. Steuk's death, shows a happy and healthy gentleman who found success in his adopted homeland of America.

Later generations carried on the family wine business for several years. During Prohibition, the Steuk family concentrated on selling fruit from its orchards. After Prohibition ended, the family went back to making wine as well as running Steuk’s Market at the intersection of Routes 2 and 6 on the west side of Erie County. After the construction of the Route 2 Bypass, travelers on the highway could see the big red apple from Steuk’s Market. Steuk’s closed in 1997, but hundreds of local residents and tourists have wonderful memories of this longtime local business.

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