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Tony Zender: Band Leader, Music Store, Cigar Factory ~ Collecting Lima Ohio ~ Vintage Photos, History

Lima's pioneer musician and band leader, Anthony Peter (Tony) Zender, 1865-1950
  • An accomplished musician, Mr. Zender played the cornet and violin. He lived in Kenton for a number of years where he taught music, owned a music store and organized the Second Regiment band.
  • At the solicitation of the Lima Progressive Association (the body that became the Chamber of Commerce in 1914), Mr. Zender established a cigar factory in Lima, known as Tony Zender Cigar Co., in order to provide local employment for musicians whose services were needed in the Lima Merchants band. The factory was located at Wayne and Main streets. [Map]
According to the History of Allen County [source], "Tony Zender came to Lima in 1906, established the "Tony Zender Cigar Factory" on North Main Street, and managed it until 1914."

Tony sold the cigar factory in 1912, (perhaps continuing to manage the factory until 1914), as per this from The Lima News / March 13, 1912:


The Tony Zender cigar factory situated In the building at the southeast corner of Main and Wayne Streets, in the property formerly occupied by the wholesale grocery of Sealts Bros.[article about Sealts, and here], has been sold to Messrs. Hoershman, Leonard, a partnership which has been formed for the purchase of the.factory and the business of the Zender company. 

Possession of the property will be assumed at once and the business of the firm will Immediately be persecuted with, vigor and enterprise by the new owners. Mr. Leonard [bio], one of the members of the new partnership, is a well known Lima citizen who has been a traveling salesman for the William Tigner's Son Company [1866 William Tigner, cigar maker and wholesaler opens in Lima, OH] and more recently has been on the road for the Zender factory and is well acquainted with the cigar trade in this part of the country. His partner is a former citizen of Mishawaka, lnd., and pnor to his residence in the Hoosier state, was an Ohio man.

Zender's popular cigar brands were: Castalia Club, Zeadora, El Manton and Cuban Babies. [Read about Castalia, Ohio here.]

Zender Music Store mid-1950's ad on a bus.
  • According to Allen County History [Available as a free ebook], Tony Zender bought the Starr Piano Company store in 1907:
  • Coming from there to Lima in 1906, Mr. Zender established the "Tony Zender Cigar Factory" on North Main Street, and managed it until 1914, when he sold it. 
  • He had previously organized the Lima City Band, and in 1907 had bought the Starr Piano Company's store on West High Street. Succeeding well in the management of his affairs, Mr. Zender found that his business required more commodious quarters, and in 1910 moved to North Market Street, and in 1916 assumed possession of his present place of business on North Main Street, where he has the largest store of the kind in the city. Mr. Zender, who holds a distinguished position among the leading musicians of Allen County

  • Tony Zender retired in 1947, and moved to Scarsdale, NY, as per his 1950 obituary (see below).
  • His music store was in the Masonic Building, and later on N. Main St. 
  • [In 1947], he sold Zender's Music Store to Henry [Hank] Armentrout, 636 W. Grand Ave., but the store kept Zender's name, and moved to E. High St.


Zender-Kahn Music Store sign

Zender's obituary from find-a-grave

Birth: Feb. 10, 1865
Seneca County
Ohio, USA
Death: Jan. 29, 1950
Westchester County
New York, USA

A. P. (Tony) Zender Dies Of Heart Attack Sunday

Lima's pioneer musician and band leader, Anthony Peter (Tony) Zender, 84, died of a heart attack at 11:15 a.m. Sunday in Scarsdale, N.Y. He was walking to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic church when he suffered the attack.

Owner and manager of Zender's Music store here for 40 years, he retired three years ago and moved to Scarsdale where he and his wife, the former Margaret Sullivan, lived with their daughter, Mrs. O. O. Bottorff.

Mr. Zender organized and conducted the famous Second Regiment band, with headquarters in Hardin-co. He organized and conducted the Lima Merchants and City band in the early 1900's.

Mr. Zender's life kept pace with the musical development of Lima and area.

He was born on a farm in Big Springs-tp, Seneca-co, Feb. 10, 1865, the youngest of 11 children of Mr. and Mrs. Minert Zender of Swiss and German ancestry.

Mr. Zender was educated at St. Vincent college, Latrobe, Pa., and was a classmate of the late Cardinal George Mundelin of Chicago.

An accomplished musician, Mr. Zender played the cornet and violin. He lived in Kenton for a number of years where he taught music, owned a music store and organized the Second Regiment band.

His band captured prizes in contests held in Philadelphia and New York. Last year Lacey Stevenson in the New York Times and Cleveland Plain Dealer newspapers complimented Mr. Zender on the merits of his band in those early years.

At the solicitation of the Lima Progressive-assn, Mr. Zender established a cigar factory in Lima, known as Tony Zender Cigar Co., in order to provide local employment for musicians whose services were needed in the Lima Merchants band. The factory was located at Wayne and Main-sts.

His music store was in the Masonic-bldg and later on N. Main-st. Three years ago, he sold Zender's Music store to Henry Armentrout, 636 W. Grand-av, but the store still bears his name and now is located on E. High-st.

Mr. Zender served as choir director at St. Rose Catholic church and was a member of the Elks lodge.

His daughter, Mrs. Bottorff, was a former Broadway actress, and his son-in-law is president of the Civic Concert Service, Inc., the booking agency from which the Northwest Civic Music-assn secures its programs.

Several nieces and nephews survive in addition to his widow and daughter.

The body will arrive in Lima Tuesday morning and be removed to Cantwell mortuary. Requiem high mass will be sung at 9 a.m. Wednesday in St. Rose church. Msgr. James Elder will be celebrant, and burial will be in the family lot in St. Marys' cemetery, Kenton.

Elks lodge will hold memorial services at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Cantwell's.

(published in The Lima News, Monday, January 30, 1950) 

Bonus facts:

Marguerite Zender was first married in 1926 to another man, Emmanuel Sinclair Margulies, a real estate dealer. Sadly, he died in a plane crash in 1930. 

Marguerite lived in New York, worked as an actress. During the Depression, after her husband's death, she worked with the WPA's Federal Theatre in New York, where she headed the first venture, which was a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, and which "played to large houses in and around Manhattan". [Her IBDB page[Read more on findagrave/M. Zender]

In 1936 she married BOTTORFF, ORVILLE 0.: 

Executive Vice-president and General Manager, Civic Concert Service, Inc, subsidiary of the National Broadcasting C0., [NBC] New York City. Born in Courtland, Incl, Jan. 15, 1896; son of Ella Whitted and Miles F.Bottorff; attended Seymour (Ind.) pub-lic schools, and Northwestern University [BS degree); married Marguerite Zender Bottorff, former musical comedy and light opera star, June 30, 1936. 

"Perhaps the most unique theatrical development of the 1930s was the Federal Theatre Project.  Although it lasted only four years (1935-39) the Federal Theatre Project was significant particularly in that it marked the only time in history during which the U.S. government was an active producer of theatre.   
As part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration, the Federal Theatre Project was created with the express aim of reemploying out-of-work theatre professionals.   
The work of the Federal Theatre Project was vast and various.  Within a year, its operations spanned thirty-one states and employed twelve thousand theatre professionals.  
In New York City alone, various units of the Federal Theatre Project produced 1) original plays by new authors; 2) experimental works focused on new production techniques; 3) Negro theatre; 4) risky productions on behalf of commercial managers; 5) the Living Newspaper, which dramatized current events and topical issues with massive casts and various innovative theatrical forms; and 6) miscellaneous works such as Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, vaudeville, minstrel shows, and circuses.   
Thus the Federal Theatre Project did much more than provide theatre workers with employment opportunities.  It allowed for experimentation; it served as a proving ground for new production techniques; it helped to launch the careers of such luminaries as Arthur Miller and Orson Welles; and, as it offered most of its productions at little or no cost to audience members, it welcomed a broad spectrum of society into its theatres." 

Note: These items are part of my ''Collecting Lima Virtual Museum''. They are not for sale.

If/when I find more information on these items, I will add it to the post.

Read the Introduction to Collecting Lima Virtual Museum Project ~ My Lima Ohio Bottles, Advertising, Antiques

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