A.J. BERRY'S Spot
The Englehardt's (Mr. Englehardt was Frederick; Mrs. Englehardt was Selma, who was Alfred Dolge's sister) came to St. Johnsville about 1898 and first factory was an old wooden house on Bridge St. F. Englehardt and Sons proudced Peerless Pianos which were automatic or player pianos. They were the number one player piano company in world, in that day. The player piano was very popular and are the best known in the world yet today.
As their residence they bought the present Community House on Washington Street. Mr. Englehardt was the former mayor of St. Johnsville. He was a wood craftsmen, and had an appreciation for the craft. He hired many craftsmen and brought them to the village. He was well loved by his workers, he didn't put on airs and took off his coat to help them when an order needed to be done. The wages for his workers was very fair and they were well paid. They produced 12 styles of the piano.
This was the most prosperous time in the village. Many homes were built during this time until 1920. No one really knows what happened. The oldest son Alfred was taking over the business. Alfred went to Chicago (boys Alfred and Walter, daughters Selma and one older) to meet up a Mr. Seeburgh (who manufactured the juke boxes) and got in over his head? No one knows for sure if it was a bad business venture or something else. But Alfred lost the family fortune and his wife went home to her family.
Mr. Joseph Reaney was a director at the local bank and when the residence had foreclosed. He bought it and gave it to the community as a gift.
Source: Anita Smith. She says she plans to write a book on this some day.
Photos from Millie Walrath, her father was the master music maker.