August Kalb was born in Hesse, Germany, circa 1860 to Johann Kalb and Katharina Helfer. Not much is known of his life before immigrating to America. He left Germany at the age of 18, departing on the “Frisia” from Hamburg, Germany, arriving into the port of New York on June 27, 1877. According to the New York State Census of 1892, there is a Sophia Kalb, living with him and his family, aged 23, listed as a servant. The relationship of Sophia to August is unknown, perhaps it was a sister or cousin.
August married Catherine Kreischer on September 5, 1882, at St. Boniface RC Church in Fosters Meadow, which corresponds with present day Elmont. Catherine was the daughter of Nicklaus Kreischer and Gertrud Becker, both born in Börrstadt in the Pfalz region of southwest Germany. Nicklaus Kreischer farmed in Franklin Square, his wife having mothered twelve children with many of them marrying into other Fosters Meadow families.
August Kalb settled his family in Franklin Square and by 1892 was operating his namesake hotel, the well-known, “Kalb Hotel” which was situated on the northeast corner of modern day New Hyde Park Road and Hempstead Turnpike. The Kalb Hotel was a landmark of early Franklin Square and a staple of the early community social life. The inside of the hotel consisted of a saloon, dining room, accommodations for overnight stays, a dance hall and a bowling alley. Outside, picnic tables were set up in a similar fashion to a biergarten. A barn was situated next to the Kalb Meat Market, owned by Edward Herbert Kalb Sr., the son of August. Sheds on the land surrounding the hotel helped to care for patrons’ horses and carriages. Photos of the interior and exterior of the Kalb Hotel can be viewed under the gallery of the website.
In addition to operating the Kalb Hotel, August Kalb, had farm acreage located along present-day Arlington Avenue off of Franklin Avenue as noted in the E. Belcher-Hyde 1906 map. There’s no information regarding the date of the initial land purchase. The family later sold it and subdivided the land into housing plots.
Seen as one of the four founding fathers of Franklin Square, August Kalb played an important role in the community of Franklin Square. In 1908, with the help of Wiliam Farrell, pastor of Our Lady of Loretto in Hempstead, August Kalb was one of four Franklin Square men who appealed to Rt. Rev. Charles E. McDonnell, Bishop of Brooklyn, for a mission chapel to be built. The appeal was granted to these four men on July 5, 1908, the new parish was founded under the patronage of St. Catherine of Siena. The naming of St. Catherine of Sienna RC Church in Franklin Square was in part influenced by August as his wife’s name was Catherine. In 1925, the Kalb family had donated $750 to St. Catherine of Sienna RC Church for a stained glass window to be placed in honor of the Kalb family.
Many important events within the German farming community were held at the Kalb Hotel. The Hempstead Farmer’s Light Guard held various annual grand masquerade balls in the hall of the Kalb Hotel. One notable event held at the Kalb Hotel was the first anniversary of The Hempstead Liederkranz. The event consisted of a summer nights festival in the picnic area in the back of Kalb’s Hotel, similar to a traditional biergarten. Prized bowling matches were also held at the bowling alley of the Kalb Hotel. The Kalb Hotel saloon, referred to as “The Farmer’s Old Spot” was frequented by the locals during the evenings.
With the death of August Kalb on September 16, 1918, his wife, Catherine, took over the hotel operations. That lasted for only about a year as the business became too much for her and she sold the hotel and one acre of land to local farmer, Jacob Hoffman for $20,000 in 1921. On December 1, 1930, Catherine passed away. As requested in her will, she left $1000 to St. Catherine of Sienna RC Church.
August Kalb and his wife, Catherine are interred at St. John’s Cemetery in Middle Village.
The Kalb family married into other established Fosters Meadow families such as: Kreischer, Buck, Kiefer, and Gunther.
Members of the Kalb family still reside in modern-day Franklin Square and are active members in the Franklin Square Historical Society.
August and Catherine had 4 children:
1: August Kalb Jr. (1885-1929) married Elizabeth Dittrich (1889-1969) on May 11, 1910. They had one child: Elvira L. (1914-1995). August Kalb Jr. had worked as a farmhand on his father’s farm up until the death of his father and eventual sale of the land. He then resided in Richmond Hill, with his wife and daughter, where he worked as a painter. Both are interred at St. John’s Cemetery in Middle Village.
2. Edward Herbert Kalb Sr. (1886-1948) married Theresa Buck (1890-1986) on February 22, 1909. They had one child: Edward Herbert (1910-2003). Theresa Buck was the daughter of Joseph Buck (1852-1946) and Magdalena Gunther (1855-1942), her family were well-established in the Fosters Meadow community. Her father had farmed in New Hyde Park. Edward Herbert Kalb Sr. worked as a butcher, owning Kalb Meat Market, which was situated on New Hyde Park Road near the Kalb Hotel horse barn. In 1914, Max Thomala bought the business and took over. Beginning in 1929, Edward Herbert Kalb Jr. was assistant post master in Franklin Square. He continued into the 1960s. Edward Herbert Kalb Sr. is interred at St. John’s Cemetery in Middle Village, while Theresa Buck is interred at St. Boniface RC Church.
3. Cecelia Kalb (1890-1969) had married twice. Her first husband was Christoph Peter Kiefer (1889-1948) whom she had two children with: Dolores K. (1912-1988) and Dorothy A. (1918-2001). Cecelia had later remarried to Daniel W. Thomas on August 15, 1934. No further information has been obtained.
4. Gertrude Kalb (1894-1957) married Charles F. Bedell Jr. (1889-1961) on April 12, 1915. They had one child: Audrey Gertrude (1917-1988). Charles F. Bedell Jr. was a mechanic and operated his own car garage. Both are interred at the Cemetery of the Holy Rood in Westbury.
Submitted by: Jeffrey Jones Jr.
(Grandson of Doris Felten-Jones)
With contributions from: Barbara Kalb, Paul Hoffman, and Dr. Paul van Wie
Date Submitted: June 2020