We’ve had enough History, so this post is just a little background (With me in the foreground, of course) of where I’ve lived for half a century. Both Kitchener, and Krug Street fit in the
The cheapest way to honor someone, is to name something after them.
So, Henry Hudson, you discovered a gigantic bay at the top of North American. It’s just a big hole in the continent that lets all the cold in. It’s covered with ice and polar bears. It’s not good for anything, and you found it while you were searching for something else for us that you never did locate. I’ve got it – we’ll name it after you. That way, you’ll be forever associated with an expensive, pretentious Canadian department store. Aren’t you honored??
So it is with both Kitchener, and Krug Street.
When the first white explorers came here, over two centuries ago, they called their pitiful little collection of huts, ‘Sand Hills,’ because that’s all that was here – a collection of minor hummocks that would bleed sand if you scraped the thin topsoil off. It first officially became Ebytown, to honor Benjamin Eby, a take-charge (and anything that wasn’t nailed down) early settler.
Later, as more hard-working Germanic, Mennonite and Pennsylvania-Dutch settlers arrived, they renamed the burgeoning, now-prosperous town, ‘Berlin’, to honor the capital of the country that they’d been driven out of. By 1912 it had grown large enough to become a city.
In 1916, in the middle of a World War that the honored country had started, it was felt that a more English name would better show Canadian, and British Empire loyalties….by the now-increasing numbers of English-descended citizens.
By late June, the final shortlist of new names were: Adanac, (Canada, spelled backwards) Brock, Benton, Corona, Keowana and Kitchener. Kitchener was a late addition to the shortlist of possible names, as it was added shortly after the death of Horatio Herbert Kitchener, a difficult and controversial man, who had died June 5, 1916. This is perhaps an understatement. He was an entitled, arrogant, martinet of a man, who had invented the concentration camp during the Boer War. I’m not sure how much ‘honor’ was involved, and he didn’t live to know about it
This is the darling lad that the city was eventually named for, in a recruiting poster for the Boer war. As my American readers may realize, this was the inspiration for the “Uncle Sam needs you!” poster of the first and second World Wars.
While more than 15,000 people lived in the city at the time, 346 people voted for the name “Kitchener” on June 28, 1916, from approximately 5,000 eligible voters.
The Krug (kroog) family has been a moving force in Berlin/Kitchener for many years, both politically, and industrially. In 1887, Hartman Krug established a furniture factory opposite the G.T.R. (Grand Trunk Railway) which he built up into a large institution. He was also a charter member of the Interior Hardwood Company, and subsequently purchased the Doon Twine plant, and brought it into the city. His son Henry was President of this company, and his son Rudolph succeeded him at the H. Krug Furniture Company.
I guess when you bring half a keg of gold coins with you from Pennsylvania, and use them to build a company, expand two more, and provide employment for hundreds of people, the least the frugal burghers could do, is name something after you – and the sewage treatment plant was already taken.
Krug Street forms part of one of Kitchener’s famed 5-point intersections. It approaches the 4-lane feeder road at a 45° angle, while Lancaster Street wanders in at 45° from the opposite direction. After confused and delayed drivers manage to cross at the lights, they/it become(s) Cedar Street.
He decided to build a home about a mile from city center, away from the hoi polloi who toiled in his factories. Soon, the town council, made up of other rich, privileged white men, decided to assume responsibility for the oddly-angled lane that his estate, and now several others, was situated on. They improved the road, and, in thanks for what he’d done for them and their town, named it after him and his family.