Thanksgiving 1930 | Zehnder's of Frankenmuth

Thanksgiving 1930

For our company and for many others in the U.S., 1930 was a tough year. The stock market crash of 1929 that had occurred just one year earlier marked the beginning of the Great Depression. By 1930, the U.S. economy was in a freefall.

Adding to the misery for many, Prohibition which began in 1920, was still in full effect. As I have written before, my grandfather, William Zehnder and his friend Herman Fischer who ran Fischer’s Hotel across the street (now the Bavarian Inn) were caught serving alcohol in 1930. Their trial resulted in the largest fines handed out during Prohibition, Herman’s $10,000 fine was the largest levied and William received a fine of $5,000. Needless to say they were both stunned.

Well that wasn’t quite it. They could each receive a $1,200 credit against the fine if they agreed to have their beautiful oak bars destroyed. They both agreed. That portion of the sentence was carried out, and both their bars were smashed to bits by federal agents on Saturday November 15th, 1930. Thanksgiving came just twelve days later. Thanksgiving 1930 had to be a tough one. I just wonder what the family discussion was around the table back then. Do we continue? Is this worth it? How do we pay this fine?

We have carried on a bit of a tradition in our family where we go around the table on Thanksgiving and tell each other what we are thankful for. I am thankful that those before us resolved to continue in the face of hardship.

This year our family welcomes Thanksgiving guests for the 85th year in a row. I am thankful for each of you that have supported our company through the years.

If you need a place to gather your family around the table on Thanksgiving, we have one for you. From our family to yours, have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Al Zehnder, CEO of Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth

1 Comment

  1. What a phenomenal story of truth! So glad that you both decided to make the right decision and I know it must have been difficult to destroy what you had worked hard to build; but you must have had faith in God that he would deliver you and make a way much bigger than your eyes could see. Now look at what you have; people from all over the world come and visit Frankenmuth and you keep the traditional look and look where you are now…what a Blessing! Thanks for believing and having Faith in God and after many milestones still welcoming people from all over the world; to Give Thanks to whom Thanks is much Due! We just “love” to come and visit and buy breads/sweets and watch them decorate the beautiful cakes! I adore the cute boutique as well. We have eaten a few times at the restaurant and we stayed overnight at a hotel located next to Bronners for our honeymoon, years ago. My husband and I have drove up on a numerous of occasions just to visit and look around at the various shops by me living rather close, I can do that. My girlfriend and I will be stopping there this up-coming weekend as we visit Birch Run. May God continue to Bless you and your generation of families. What a nice legendary story to pass on for years to come and with such history you can give Thanks at each Thanksgiving.

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