Adam Schantz, Sr.

If you’ve gone through the main gates at Woodland Cemetery, you’ve seen the life size bronze statue of a man sitting in a chair, watching you as you enter.

But who is he?


Adam Schantz was a Dayton businessman who operated a butcher shop, a brewery, and a water purification system.

Coming to the USA from Germany at age 15, Adam worked at a flour mill operated by his Uncle Michael. After a year, he came to Dayton to work at a butcher shop before moving on to New Orleans.

In New Orleans, Adam worked in a packing house that supplied meat for ocean-bound ships. He persuaded the captain of one to let him work his way to London. From London, he traveled to Germany to visit family, and then returned to London. By the time he arrived, all his money was gone, and he slept outside until he was able to find a job and rent a room.

When he returned to Dayton, he opened a butcher shop on 5th Street near Brown Street. In less than a year, he bought a house and married Salome Latin. After everything going well, disaster struck. His home and shop were destroyed by fire. With no insurance to pay, Adam had to rely on his honest reputation to ask suppliers to extend him credit to rebuild his shop. It worked, and Adam was soon back in business.

Later, he traded his home for property near the river and opened a brewery. One day, lightning struck the plant, burning it completely to the ground. As fate would have it, the insurance policy for the brewery expired at noon that very day. Adam again found himself with no money, and no business. Relying on his reputation once again, Adam struck a deal with friends to build an even larger plant in its place, promising to repay them every cent they spent.

Adam was back on top, becoming a partner in at least ten breweries in the city. His success in this industry led him to another enterprise: purified water. Breweries need pure water to brew, but the drinking water available to Dayton (Holly Water) was simply not pure enough. Adam created a water purification system and patented it. He named is Lily Water, after the Calla Lily, the Schantz family flower.

Lily Water took off. It was sold to other breweries, sold in water coolers in office buildings in Downtown Dayton and manufacturing plants, and even delivered to homes.

Adam was also an active member of the community, investing in many Dayton properties, and buying many more. Many of the brick homes on Schantz Avenue were built for and occupied by Schantz family members. Nearby Volusia and Sorrento Avenues were named by Schantz, after streets in Dayton Beach, Florida, where he had a winter home.

Other contributions to the community from Adam Schantz Sr.:

  • Built a horse race track between his home on Schantz and Irving Avenue
  • Replaced the 260 trees cut down for the race track by planting 2,600 trees along Spring Grove, Sorrento, and Volusia Avenues.
  • Councilman for the city
  • Finance Chairman for the City Government

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