OTTO F. LENZ. Few men are more prominent or more widely known in the enterprising city of Petersburg than Otto Ferdinand Lenz, who has been an important factor in business circles here, being connected with a number of industrial and commercial enterprises which have direct and important bearing upon the commercial activity and consequent progress and prosperity of his city. In his life work he displays many of the sterling characteristics of the German people from whom he came. He was born in Arnswalde, in the province of Brandenburg, Germany, on the 4th of January, 1862. His paternal grandfather, William Lenz, was also a native of that locality and was a carpenter and builder. There he reared his family, including William Lenz, Jr., the father of our subject. He, too, became connected with building operations and was thus engaged throughout the entire period of his business career. He married Henrietta Martin, also a native of the province of Brandenburg.
Otto F. Lenz is indebted to the public school system of Germany for the educational privileges he enjoyed and remained under the parental roof until eighteen years of age, when he resolved to try his fortune in the new world. Accordingly, in 1880, he came to the United States, making his way direct to Petersburg, Illinois, where he has since made his home, and in his business career he has steadily progressed, making his energy and enterprise a commercial possibility, manifest in the successful control of various enterprises. For four years he was engaged in coal mining and in 1885 he began learning the bottling business, with which he has since been connected. In the spring of 1886 he established a plant of his own, developing the business now known as the Petersburg Bottling Works. Here he manufactures and bottles pure and high grade carbonated beverages, using none but distilled water, and the superior quality of the product brings a ready sale on the market. Mr. Lenz is also the proprietor of the Edmunds Mineral and Sulpho Hygeia Springs, the waters of which are famous on account of their medicinal qualities as shown under careful chemical analysis. These springs are located across the river from Petersburg. The bottling business in now very extensive, his plant being fitted up with the latest improved machinery and facilities in that line, and his trade is constantly growing. Mr. Lenz has not limited his efforts, however, to this line of commercial activity, but has been the promoter of other business interests and is now the vice president of the Petersburg Coal Mining Company and a director in the Virginia Canning Company, of Petersburg. He forms his plans readily, is determined in their execution and his keen foresight makes his judgment of value in trade transactions.
On the 26th of April, 1889, Mr. Lenz was united in marriage to Miss Minnie Speulda, of Springfield, Illinois, a daughter of William Speulda, who was for a number of years successfully engaged in the jewelry business in the capital city, where he died during the early girlhood of his daughter Minnie. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Lenz have been born five children, two sons and three daughters: Carl, Hattie, Bertha, Paul and Marie.
For almost a quarter of a century a resident of Menard county, Mr. Lenz has figured in public affairs. He is public-spirited and in connection with the city government has promoted public measures of lasting benefit. He has never had occasion to regret his determination to become an American citizen for in this country, where the road of opportunity is open to all, he has not only developed a profitable business but has also gained many warm and valued friendships.