Smiths expand businessesSixth generation joins family in new service areas
OZAUKEE PRESS THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 1994
There is life after the restaurant and fish market business as fifth generation of the Wisconsin branch of the Smith family discovered after those operations were sold in 1988.
Lloyd owns and operates the recently expanded Harborside Motor Inn. Members of the Smith family built the original Best Western motel in 1974. After the sale of the restaurant, Lloyd bought out other family members and sold his interest in Smith Bros. Food Service Corp. to his cousins.
Lloyd and his wife, Toni, planned the expansion which opened in 1993. He said the addition was a challenge, something he wanted to undertake.
"I have always been concerned with downtown Port Washington, and saw the expansion of the business as something that the community needed, he said.
Raised in the restaurant business by his father, Lester, and mother, Florence, he returned to it when he graduated from college in the 1950s. His brother, Alan, was also part of the management team, operating one of the Smith-family owned restaurants in California. He is now retired and living in Sedona, Ariz.
His cousins, children of the late Oliver Smith, also spent their business lives managing family-owned endeavors.
Virginia Smith Haack, managed the other California restaurant. She has also retired and lives in the Los Angeles area.
Lincoln was president of the firm when the sale took place in 1988. Although officially retired, he remains in the food provision business through his apple orchard work. He renews acquaintances when he sells his cider and other orchard products at the weekly Farmers' Market in Port Washington. Lincoln, who makes his home in Port Washington, is also a shareholder in Smith Bros. Food Service and is a member of the board of directors.
Lincoln's brother, Dan, formerly headed the retail operations. Dan and his wife, Mary, moved to Punto Gorda, Fla. following their retirement.
Bert now lives in Cedar Grove. He still works part time for Smith Bros. Food Service. However, he relinquished his jobs of president and chief executive officer of this corporation to Ned Huwatschek, the only child of Hope Smith Huwatschek to work for the family. Ned oversaw the construction of the new food service headquarters in Port Washington's industrial park.
Now it is time for the sixth generation to place its stamp on the operations.
Bert's sons, Jeff and Grant are involved in the food service operation as is Lincoln's son, Dana. All are shareholders in the firm.
New York origin
The Smith family Wisconsin history dates back to the middle 1800s, when William Smith and his son, Gilbert, left Oswego County, N. Y. and set up their fishery near an Indian village east of Cedar Grove on Lake Michigan.
The men had one seine that they would drop from a row boat, then drag the catch to the beach.
Gilbert married a widow, Minerva Oliver. The couple had nine children, three of whom became commercial fishermen, Herbert, Delos and Roy.
William died in 1848. By 1850, Gilbert had purchased two lots on the lake shore, which he platted as the Village of Amsterdam in 1852. A large pier was built into the lake so that vessels could load and unload.
The younger Smiths married between 1880 and 1890 and moved away from the homestead. Herbert and Delos started their fishing operations on land that is now ForŽest Beach, north of Port Washington.
Delos married Delta Wassink in 1889. Their first child, Lester, was bom while they lived in the Forest Beach area. Later they moved to Sucker Brook, where EveŽlyn was bom. The next move was to Port Washington in 1899. Delos wanted the adŽvantages Oliver and Hope were bom after that move.
When his brother, Herbert, retired in 1915, Delos founded D. H. Smith and Sons.
While the men of the family were the fishermen, Delta became the first packer of domestic caviar. The first cannery for the whitefish roe was her kitchen with the children involved in the operation. The caviar canning continued, in updated and enlarged quarters until the business was sold as part of the restaurant sale in 1988.
The family's commercial fishing operaŽtion had already become a victim of the lamprey eel and declining fish population. At its height, the fishery had eight boats operating in five ports on the Great Lakes.
When Delos retired in 1930, his son, Lester became president of the company, a post he held until his death in 1938. Oliver, who had been manager of the fisheries took over as president while Evelyn was in charge of the restaurants. Hope, who was also active in the restaurant management, married Earl Huwatschek.
THE VERY MODEL of a Port Washington fisherman, bringing home his catch after a successful trip to the lake became the forerunner of the logo that has served Smith Bros, for many years. This fisherman also became the model for the neon sign that has become a Port Washington landmark. The identity of the fisherman is not known, but the photo is very old, taken when the city's sidewalks were wooden planks.