H. Richter was Herman Richter (1834-1902) who at the time of the 1870 U. S. Census lived at 409 Broome St., Manhattan. 409 Broome St. was also his place of business, and he was listed in New York city directories at this address from 1868 to 1876. In 1877 the business moved to 190 Elm St., where they remained past the life of the name Elm St. itself, which was re-named Lafayette St. approximately 1907.
In 1900 the U. S. Census recorded Herman Richter living at 190 Elm St. He was 65 years old, born Germany, 3 Oct. 1834, immigrated 1860. His occupation was recorded as "Machinist." Living with him, along with his wife, Teresa, age 63, born Germany, 4 Feb. 1837, immigrated 1862, were his three machinist sons, Albert G., age 31, Herman Jr., age 28, and Frederick, age 23. Presumably all three sons worked in the family business, although the "Son" in the business name was consistently recorded in the singular from 1891 to 1923.
H. Richter & Son was also called the Centennial Iron Works and was listed under this name from approximately 1902 to 1922.
Herman Richter died 31 August 1902, and H. Richter & Son was then taken over by his son, Albert G. Richter (1869-1945). The following account, from William S. Pelletreau, Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Family History of New York, New York, 1907, describes Albert G. Richter as sole owner of the business, "Albert G. Richter, owner and operator of the Centennial Iron Works, located at 190 Elm street, New York, is a native of New York city, born April 2, 1868. His father, Herman Richter, the founder of the business above mentioned, was born in Zwicken, kingdom of Saxony, Germany, November 5, 1837. His boyhood days were spent in his native land and he was there educated and learned the trade of machinist. He came to America, hoping that by so doing he would improve his financial affairs, and for many years was in Roach's shipyard, Mr. Roach being one of the largest shipbuilders in this country. In 1867 Mr. Richter engaged in business on his own account at No. 409 Broome street, in the manufacture of all kinds of iron work for buildings, and conducted business there until 1875, a period of eight years, In 1876 he removed his business to the present site, No. 190 Elm street, and there continued until his death, in August, 1902. He enlisted in Company B, First United States Artillery, was wounded at the battle of Williamsburg, Virginia, March 4, 1862, and was discharged on account of disability. He was a member of Koltes Post, No. 32, Grand Army of the Republic. He was married to Theresa Koch, a native of Saxony, a daughter of George and Herminie Koch, and their children were: Ludwig, born August 15, 1864, in New York, married Matilda Ludiman, has two living children: Stephen and Eleanor. Ernest, died in childhood. Albert G., whose name heads this sketch. Ernest died in childhood. Herman. Theresa, wife of August Bohl, two children: William and Herman. Frederick W. Albert G. Richter was educated in the public schools, and St. Matthew's Lutheran Church school. After completing his studies he learned the machinist's trade with his father, subsequently becoming a partner in the business, and after the death of his father purchased his interest in the estate and is now sole owner. In addition to the manufacture of all kinds of iron work for buildings, special attention is given to alterations and repairs, and in all the transactions conducted since the establishment of the business the utmost integrity has been observed."
In this account the birth dates for Herman Richter and Albert Richter differ from those recorded in the 1900 U. S. Census, which were 3 October 1934 for Herman Richter and 2 April 1869 for Albert Richter.
Approximately 1907 Elm Street was extended north from Houston St. to join Lafayette Place to form Lafayette St. The H. Richter foundry then assumed the address 204 Lafayette St. Then in 1910 H. Richter & Son (aka Centennial Iron Works) moved to 316 Ave. A, while the foundry on Lafayette St. became F. W. Richter & Co. F. W. Richter was another of Herman Richter's sons, Frederick William Richter (1877-?). F. W. Richter & Co. only lasted until around 1915, while H. Richter & Son continued until Albert Richter's death in 1945.
In its later days the business was known as A. G. Richter Inc. In 1920 Iron Age, 10 June 1920, p. 1701, reported, "The A. G. Richter Iron Works, New York, specializing in structural steel and ornamental iron work, has removed its plant from 316 Avenue A to 409-15 East Twenty-second Street, where increased operating facilities are provided." In 1924 the same publication noted, "A G Richter, Inc., 411 East Twenty-second Street, New York, has been incorporated with $25000 capital stock to operate a structural iron works, continuing a business established for nearly 40 years in the manufacture of structural and ornamental iron. Incorporators are A. G. and K. E. Richter." K. E. Richter was Albert Richter's wife, Katherine Richter.
Copyright (c) 2012 Walter Grutchfield