A long time restauranteur and inn-keeper, Alexius F. (A.F.) Voigt, plied his trade in Hawley and later the Honesdale area. One of his sons became a well-known Hawley physician.
HAWLEY - A long time restauranteur and inn-keeper, Alexius F. (A.F.) Voigt, plied his trade in Hawley and later the Honesdale area. One of his sons became a well-known Hawley physician.
When he died in 1923, the Wayne County Herald said on page 1 that the county had lost one of its pioneer residents, who did much for the growth of the community.
Voigt was a native of Germany, having been born August 4, 1847 in the kingdom of Saxony to August and Caroline (Raetzer) Voigt.
His Voigt grandparents and some of the children sailed for America in 1847, planning to settle in Texas. His grandfather, however, died on board ship during the voyage.
The remainder of the family arrived safely at the town of Industry, Texas.
August Voigt conducted a window shade business in New York, but later went to Texas and farmed. His son Alexius moved to Honesdale, and August joined him in 1885.
Alexius’ siblings were August E.; Constatine; Max; Ottilia, and Cecelia, who died as a child. In 1865, their father August Voigt brought the family to America and for five years resided in New York City.
A.F. Voigt was schooled in Germany. He became foreman of a window shade company in New York. After coming to Honesdale, he resettled down the road in Hawley, where he took charge of the Eddy Hotel.
He ran this landmark business from 1870 to 1873. Today we know it as Cora’s 1850 Bistro, at the corner of Welwood and Church.
Afterward he operated a general store in Hawley until 1879 when he moved back to Honesdale. For the next five years he ran the National Hotel, another landmark to this day, now known as Vangorder’s Furniture store. This substantial building is on Church Street, at the corner with 6th.
A murder trial was underway in Honesdale in 1880, with the jury sequestered at the courthouse. Voigt’s hotel catered, delivering meals to the jury.
In August 1884,Voigt sold the hotel and started a restaurant in Honesdale, which was rated as one of the best. He operated Voigt’s House and Restaurant for 26 years.
The restaurant was on the “Commercial Block” at 811 Main Street. The Voigts’ residence was on at the same address, very likely on an upper floor.
The law firm of Attorney Louis A. Fine and Honesdale Dance Studio occupy this address in 2018.
Voigt had taken over the restaurant business of a Mr. List.
Announcing the transition, The Herald editor commented,“It is needless to say that Mr. Voigt will be the right man in the right place when in charge of an eating house, as he has already demonstrated his knowledge of the art of furnishing a good table at live and let-live prices.”
It was also a hotel. A story in The Herald, c. 1900, noted that the D&H railroad office was right across the street (the present Wayne County Historical Society). The article stated that Voigt’s sleeping rooms were “nicely and comfortably furbished” with all the “modern conveniences.” Good meals, comfortable and clean beds were a hallmark.
There was a “well stocked bar” and full meals, compete with hot and cold lunches served at any hour. Liquors, wines, beers and cigars were sold.
The 1906-1907 Honesdale street directory indicates a change in business name. He called it, “Voigt’s Maple City House” and was located at 811 Main Street. His standard room rate was $1.50 a day.
For years Voigt’s was a sort of headquarters for jurors and court attendants, who received a discount.
After selling the restaurant he became a travel agent.
In 1869 Voigt married Emilia Ott, who was born Sept. 10, 1848 in Bavaria. she had 10 children: one who died as an infant; Otto C., who lived in Texas; Arno C. and George E., both who became physicians; a second child that died as a baby; Alma O., who wed Harry Gretter; Inka C., who died as an child; Cora; Florence and Martha.
Mrs. Voigt died April 5, 1889.
A.F. Voigt’s father, August, died at age 84 on April 21,1902 at A.F.’s home in Honesdale.
A.F.’s son, Dr. George Voigt was elected Wayne County Coroner in 1907. He practiced medicine in Honesdale. He died at only the age of 29 from Bright’s disease, on Nov. 29, 1909. His brother Arno was a physician in Hawley for decades (a more complete story on Dr. Arno C. Voigt is forthcoming).
A 1900 biography hailed their father, A.F. Voigt as a “gentleman of culture and agreeable manner” who was sociable, a worthy friend and a good conversationalist.
He served as Honesdale tax collector. He ran unsuccessfully for Wayne County Treasurer in 1894 and 1911. He was a democrat.
For 20 years he was a member of the Honesdale Liederkranz, a social club and singing society for men who emigrated from Germany or were of German descent. He served as president several times. On various occasions the club was entertained or dined at Voigt’s hotel and restaurant.
He also belonged to the Hawley Maenerchor, also a German club.
Other fraternities that listed Voigt in their ranks were the Red Men and American Legion of Honor, at Honesdale; Lackawanna Lodge and the Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) at Hawley. A 1910 news brief listed him as a member of the Honesdale Skat Club. Skat is a three player, trick taking card game that is popular among Germans, according to the German-American Society.
Moved back to Hawley
In 1915, Voigt retired and moved back to Hawley. In 1917, however, Voigt started a new vocation, engaging in the wholesale liquor business at West New York, NJ. When Prohibition took effect, Voigt gave that up and came back to Hawley, where he lived with his son, Dr. Arno Voigt and wife Eleanor, at 309 Keystone St., Hawley. The 1922 directory listed A. F.Voigt’s occupation as a clerk.
He died at the home of his son, Dr. Voigt, Sunday, October 28, 1923.
Vintage newspaper resources, etc., at the Wayne County Historical Society; Wallenpaupack Historical Society and Fultonhistory.com.
Editor’s Note: A story is planned on the late Hawley physician, Dr. Arno C. Voigt. anyone with memories to share about him, as well as pictures, is asked to contact Peter Becker at 570-226-4547 or email@example.com.