JOSEPH ALTENBACH, contractor and builder at Sidney, O., the oldest man in his line in this city and well known all over Shelby county, was born October 31, 1839, a son of Joseph and Theresa (Foultz) Altenbach, then residents of Auglaize county, O., but natives of Germany.
Joseph Altenbach remained on the home farm until old enough to learn the carpenter trade and afterward, for many years, was one of the busiest men of Shelby county, coming to Sidney in 1866, and continuing a leader in this line until within very recent years, when his responsibilities, in great measure, were taken over by his son, Frank J. Altenbach. During these years of activity he erected many of the leading business blocks, factory and public buildings, churches, school houses and residences, and has a greater number to his credit than any one else in the same line.
Upon many occasions he has not only contracted for and erected buildings but has also drawn the plans, showing that his talents might have been so developed that he could have also been a leading architect. The following may be mentioned as examples of Mr. Altenbach's fine work: The Shelby County Children's Home, for which he had the entire contract; Holy Angel Catholic church at Sidney; Thediecks Department Store building; Peoples Savings and Loan Association building; Woodward building; Fred Salm's building: Wagner Manufacturing Company's buildings; Buckeye Churn Company buildings; Catholic church at Russia, Shelby county; Lutheran church at Sidney; Catholic church and school house at Piqua and the Lutheran church and school house attached, at Piqua. Many of the most elegant residences of Sidney are the results of his skill and taste. Mr. Altenbach was so closely interested and devoted to his work that he very unwillingly accepted membership on the Board of Review, repeatedly declining to accept other positions tendered him by both the republican and democratic parties, being a member of the latter organization.
In January, 1863, Mr. Altenbach was married in Auglaize county to Miss Susanna Linder, and eight children were born to them: Mary, who belongs to that noble order, the Sisters of Charity; Catherine, who is the wife of Michael Smith; Frank J., who is a leading builder and contractor at Sidney, practically succeeding his father; Edward, who is the municipal architect of Toledo, O., Louise, who is deceased, was the wife of John Madigan; Roman; Harry; and Florence, who is the wife of John Gattes. Mr. Altenbach and family are members of the Roman Catholic church and for thirty years he has belonged to the order of Catholic Knights of America. He enjoys a comfortable home, his residence being located at No. 411 South Main street, Sidney.