ROOTS OF OHIO STREET CIVIC ASSOCIATION RUN DEEP
Newspaper story in Oshkosh Daily Northwestern July 25, 1987
A personal View by Mary Martin, Executive Editor
What had thirteen charter members and is still going strong?
You would be half right if you said, "The United States of America."
Another correct answer would be the Ohio Street Civic Association.
The roots of the Ohio Street group go deep, though obviously not as far back as the Revolution. Organized April 13, 1933, to give merchants on the street a boost, the association quickly became a civic minded organization, dedicated to making Oshkosh a better place to live.
Many present day members are sons and daughters and grandchildren of the 13 original founders.
Names of the founding fathers are familiar, with descendents still living on the south side. Charter members included:
Alfred Berger Sr., grocer; Al Beck, grocer; Harold Fischer, garage owner; Frank Granberg, Granberg Press; Gus Jeshke, tavern owner; Ted Spaedtke, tavern owner; Frank Jungwirth, tavern owner; Alois Kinatader and Alois Kinderman, co-operators of Nigl's Grocery; Otto Ilk, Kamm Sausage Co.; Joe Poklasny Sr., Poklasny Funeral Home; Rudolph Novotny, tavern operator; and Frank Sebora, grocer.
Some present day members can trace ties back four generations.
Some even plan their vacations so they are present for the children's parade which has been annual event for the Ohio Street Civic Association for 54 years.
That's the way it is this year for the George Kinderman household.
Terri Kinderman Amann, George and Marian's daughter, participated in the parade as a child. Her grandfather, Alois, was a charter member, and her father marched in the parade for a few years and then became a worker for the event, something he is still doing. Terri grew up and married and has two children, Matthew,8, and Meredith,5. The family lives in Cincinnati but Terri said she decided her children were old enough this year to be a part of the parade this Sunday.
Part of the reason she wanted Matthew and Meredith to participate is because of the great memories she has of family involvement in the Ohio Street Association. She and her sister, Julie, and brothers, Mark and Peter, all marched in the parade at one time or another. Terri remembers spending part of every summer just planning what costume to wear or what float to make.
"It was a big deal when I was a kid and I wanted my children to feel what I remembered," she said.
Each year the parade takes an unofficial theme. This year, the 200th year of the United States Constitution makes a patriotic theme a natural. Parade organizers never know for sure what the theme will be.
(George) Kinderman said," We don't set any rules, but we do give awards for the most beautiful and original float.
Every youngster in the parade also gets a bag of goodies- something that has become a tradition with the association.
The parade will assemble at Sixth Avenue and Idaho street, march east on Fifth Avenue to Ohio Street and then South on Ohio, ending in South Park. The park is a focal point for the Ohio Street people to gather and is also the site of the picnic and games that are a part of the celebration.
Much of the money that the group has raised over the years has been used for improvements to South Park. Last year, the club netted $5000 which was spent upgrading the wading pool in the center of the park. The marble monument at the entrance to the park on Ohio Street was dedicated in 1948 to Oshkosh servicemen and women and was also a gift of the group.
The many benches, playground equipment and shade trees in the park are a result of profits the group makes at the annual celebration.
Officers of the association this year are: Victor Meixensperger, president; James Sarres, vice president; Harold Matsche, treasurer; George Last, recording secretary and Warren Norkofski, financial secretary. Directors include: Don Potter, Henry Hanson, Richard Loos, Gerald Boushele, Robert Horton and Walter Ackerman.
Oh yes, if you see Betsy Ross and Ben Franklin Sunday, you may also see a beaming mother, Terri Kinderman Amann, reliving her days as an Ohio Street parade kid.
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