Who is Otto Schroeder?
Otto Schroeder was born in the small farm town of Elben, Hessen Province, Germany on September 26, 1899 to Jacob and Luise Fischmann Schroeder.
He grew up in his native land, and at age sixteen he served in the German military during World War I, assembling Fokker tri-planes for the Red Baron’s squadron. He served as a non-combatant during the war, because he had two older brothers who were living in the United States.
After that war, he received a degree in mechanical engineering from the Technical University of Ilmenau and began employment in a steel manufacturing plant at Kassel, Germany. He married in 1926 and moved with his wife to San Francisco, where he worked for the Soule Steel Company.
The Schroeders moved to Napa, California in 1941 where Otto worked in the Basalt Rock Company’s Napa Shipyard. While there, Schroeder is credited with having invented a manufacturing process that revolutionized steel pipe production throughout the world.
After World War II, Schroeder worked as an international consultant, supervising the establishment of pipe manufacturing plants in Germany, France, Belgium, Italy and Japan. Otto Schroeder died in Napa at age 92 in 1991.
Mr. Schroeder led a very interesting life, but as far as we know, he never lived or visited in Dane County. So why, you might ask yourself, is the DCHS Records Center named for him? In 2002, when the Society was searching for a permanent home for its archive collection, a fundraising effort was undertaken. The major donor to that fundraising effort was Otto Shroeder’s granddaughter, Amy Gilliand, who donated a large share of the funds that allowed the Society to proceed with the move to our current home in the Lussier Family Heritage Center. At the dedication of the new center, Ms. Gilliland asked that the Archives and Record Center room be named the Otto Schroeder Records Center, after her grandfather. At the dedication of the new Otto Schroeder Records Center, Ms. Gilliland spoke of her grandfather’s love of history and how he instilled that love in her.
Updated November 14, 2010