Stonecutter gives 55 years of experience: Memorial highway is beautified
Minneapolis Morning Tribune, Tuesday, December 16, 1941. For 65 years John J. Schulte, 80, 1806 LaSalle Avenue, has been actively engaged as stone cutter and draftsman and now, in the twilight of a long career, his skill and experience has made vital contributions to decorative projects already complete or under construction on the Belt Line and Floyd Olsen Memorial highways.
His complete knowledge of the craft to which he has devoted his life is responsible in no small degree for the stone tables, benches and outdoor fireplaces and open grills at each of seven picnic spots along the Belt Line.
Using plans prepared by state highway engineers, Schulte, as chief project stone cutter and draftsman for this WPA project, prepares working drawings for stone cutters and setting plans for stone masons.
With the exception of grates and doors of the stoves, which are of iron, stone is the prime material used in building equipment at each of the grounds. So artistically perfect is work already done that praise of it has come from engineers near and far. Several states have asked for copies of plans used in construction.
“It’s work he loves and in which he excels,“ is the way Maurice Ring, foreman of the stone yard which Schulte works, put it. Start “take him away from it and to say the least he would be extremely unhappy.
“Schulte, despite his 80 years, is rarely absent from work although about a year ago he was seriously ill with pneumonia. His chief concern at that time seemed to be in getting back to his work. It wasn’t until after he was allowed to return that he picked up strength and weight – and you’d be surprised how quickly.“
Schulte was born in Dubuque, Iowa, and at 15 he has started his apprenticeship in the business conducted by his father. Later he became a member of the firm, known as B. Schulte and Sons.
As subcontractors, the Schulte firm supplied stone for many important jobs, including the post office and courtyard house at Dakota, Iowa, and courthouse is at Pittsfield, Illinois and Manchester, Iowa.
Schulte has been a Minneapolis resident since 1911.
“He is a especially valuable to us since experts in his craft are no longer numerous,” Ring said. “Introduction of the air hammer and other machinery, together with much wider use of cement, reduced the demand for stonecutters and we’ve got to depend on old timers in work such as this.
“His work requires great skill. For every stone in the stoves he has made a wooden pattern. So devoted is he to the work that frequently he takes plans home and goes over them at night or during time off.“
Ring’s experience in this field is by no means limited, either. His father had quarries on the Kettle River, in Pine County, and at Mankato many years ago. He got out the stone for the Stone Arch railroad bridge over the Mississippi River, just above St. Anthony Falls, built more than 60 years ago.