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Kaaz family generation is a prime example of “Living The American Dream” and how it is possible for any person to achieve that goal. 

The life story of Julius H. Kaaz, founder and proprietor of the manufacturing concern which bears his name, is account of the achievements of a self-made man who left his native land to seek opportunity and fortune in Atchison Kansas, and found it. During the period of thirty-four years of his life, which had been spent in his adopted city, Mr. Kaaz had succeeded even beyond his expectations and made a place for himself an enviable one in the city. He arrived in Atchison in 1881 without a dollar, but endowed with a willingness to do whatever came to hand, imbued with a desire to succeed where the opportunity awaited him. The Julius Kaaz Manufacturing Company was a monument to his industry and ambition.  This was one of the thriving and important establishments in the city of Atchison, and was widely known as one of the cities leading industries. The extensive plant covered two floors of a building that was 52’x 130’, and from eighteen to twenty men were employed in the mill proper, and from five to thirty-five men were given employment at outside work. The factory was located at 1200-1208 Main Street and was fully equipped with modern machinery to facilitate the manufacture of the high-grade products, which consisted principally of bank, church and store fixtures. Mr. Kaaz shipped his output to Kansas and Nebraska cities and all parts of the United States.

Julius H Kaaz was born March 26, 1854 in Prussia, German Empire, a son of Daniel and Christina (Schroeder) Kaaz, who were the parents of four children: Wilhelmina, Ernest, Christina, and Julius E.  Daniel Kaaz was a carpenter by trade and came to Atchison from Germany with his family in 1881.
Julius attended the schools of his native land and studied architecture. He learned the trade of carpentry under his father, but could not content himself to settle down in his native land and follow in the footsteps of his forebears. When still a young man the germ of ambition called him to other lands, and his goal was America. His desire to better his condition led him to set sail for this country in 1881, arriving in Atchison, where he at once sought employment. His first work was cutting cordwood in the timberland, south of the city, during the winter, and in the spring of the following year he worked on the Missouri river, making and placing riprap. Soon afterward he was given a job working at his trade for $1.50 a day. For one year he worked for wages, and at length decided to embark in business for himself and began taking contracts at a time when he had no capital worth speaking of. It was even necessary for him to borrow a saw and hammer, which he used in his work. In 1885 he formed a partnership with Henry Braun, in the contracting business, which continued until 1909 when they dissolved the partnership. In 1907 Julius erected his first planning mill, which grew into Kaaz Manufacturing Company. He was married to Ida Schmeling in 1883, and to his union have been born nine children, as follows: Emil, Lena, Robert, Lydia, Julius E., Otto, Fred, Arthur, and Martha.

Of the nine children that Julius had, many of them followed in their fathers footsteps, starting their own businesses and building their own dreams. After Julius E. worked under his father Julius H. Kaaz, who was an architect, and building the Christ Lutheran Church in Columbus Nebraska in 1921. Julius E. Kaaz went on to form his own General contracting company in 1927, which today is still known as Julius Kaaz Construction Co. Inc.

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