Fred Kuehne*

Fred Kuehne*

donor plaque

The late Fred J. Kuehne was born October 19, 1889 in Topeka, the son of Otto and Dora (Crauel) Kuehne. He attended Topeka schools and Topeka High School, where he participated in track, baseball, and football. He attended Strickler's Business College. His father, a native of Germany, moved to Topeka in 1878 and was a tinner and coppersmith for Santa Fe Railway until 1890, when he founded Otto Kuehne Preserving Co. Mr. Kuehne worked for his father from 1908 to1917 and he was a military bandsman in 1917 at Fort Riley. He married Julia C. Schmidt June 5, 1917. She died October 20, 1975.
He and his brother Otto founded the Kuehne Brothers Wholesale Grocery Co. in 1917 which was sold in 1947. In 1922 the Kuehnes founded the Kansas Sand Co. which operated the first ready-mix concrete trucks in Topeka and supplied concrete for the Municipal Auditorium, built in 1939 and reopened in 1991 as Topeka Performing Arts Center. Other Kuehne companies included Kansas Transfer and Storage, organized in 1932; Kansas Van and Storage Warehouse, which was organized in 1947 and joined Mayflower Warehouse in 1950, and Kansas Freight Lines, which began hauling between Topeka and St. Louis in 1938 and was sold in 1942. Kuehne was a charter member in 1945 of City Homes Savings and Loan, which was later purchased by Imperial Corp. He remained on the board and was elected president of the American Savings Association, then was chairman of the board until he retired after 20 years or service. The Kuehnes donated money for construction of the Fred and Julia Kuehne Family Center at the North Topeka YMCA, which was dedicated November 3, 1974. Mr. Kuehne later made several additional gifts that enabled the YMCA branch to establish gymnastics programs and fitness and health projects. He passed away June 18, 1987.