Jacob Baetz, born December 23, 1851, near Niederaulau, Germany, came to Canada in 1868. Jacob married Catherine Hoelscher at the Preston Lutheran Church. They had 8 children, 6 boys and 2 girls.
He worked for Casper Braun as a stonemason, bricklayer, and plasterer (trades he had learned from his father). He became a building contractor and built the 1907 Berlin Market Building, Victoria Public School, Trinity, St. Andrew's and St. Matthew's churches and many other local buildings.
With R. Boehmer, he founded and operated the Berlin Brick Company on King Street East and in 1907 became owner of the Pommer-Cowan Furniture Company, later Baetz Furniture Co. Ltd. The factory at 264 Victoria Street N was destroyed by fire in 1910 and rebuilt.
Jacob Baetz was treasurer of St. Matthew's Church for many years from the time the church was built. During the 1890's he was a town councilor and was chairman of the Board of Works when the first steam road roller was purchased. Jacob Baetz passed away December 29, 1920.
Jacob H. Baetz, son of Jacob was born in 1885. In 1914 he married Maude Bowman and built their home at 187 Queen Street N. in 1920, only 2 blocks from the factory on Victoria Street N. They had three children: Patsy, John David and Jane. Jacob H. and his brother Walter carried on the family business after their father. Jacob H. died in 1981. It was after his passing that the Skippers became the second owners of 187 Queen Street N.
Jacob H. Baetz was active in the community and the furniture industry for over 65 years. He served as president of the Canadian Furniture Manufacturers Association, was a founding member of the local Rotary Club (where he was granted a Paul Harris Fellowship), was a member of the K-W Hospital Commission, and the K-W Collegiate Board and was a very active member of the Church of St. John the Evangelist in Kitchener.
John David Baetz, son of Jacob H. Baetz left a successful career with the Economical Mutual Life Assurance Company to work in the family business. The Baetz family business expanded to become three separate entities, Baetz Furniture Co. Ltd., Anthes-Baetz Furniture Co. Ltd. (specializing in case goods) and Baetz Specialty Co. Ltd. (manufacturing lamps) all located in or near the original factory.
John David served in the Canadian Armed Forces during WW II and was an avid boater, purchasing Ed Sullivan's thirty-six foot Chris-Craft cruiser to ply the waters in Lake Simcoe and the Trent Canal System. He was an avid member of Canadian Power and Sail, eventually serving as National Commander. As an active member of Rotary International, he, like his father, earned a Paul Harris Fellowship. John David passed away in the year 2000.
During the 1970's the company fell upon hard times. After being sold and re-sold, it finally went out of business in the 1980's.The Victoria Street factory was torn down in the late 1990's and is now the site of an L.A. Fitness center (2006).
David, son of John David Baetz, came to the old homestead with his wife Jane in January 2009. Through their help we have tried to provide details of the Baetz family link to 187 Queen Street N. David and Jane Baetz live in Milton
* Documentation by Brian and Wilma Skipper, second owners of 187 Queen Street N. February 2009