Industrialist, machinist made lasting impact

Alva D. Wenrick was a talented industrialist and machinist, who for a short time was involved in automobile construction, a Brethren minister, and a developer of a local golf course. He was born in Shelby County to Andrew and Sarah Fahanstock Wenrick on Aug. 17, 1880, the middle son of the three children born to the couple. His father had fought in the Civil War.

When he was 12 years old, Wenrick’s mother died. He was placed in the Ohio State Soldiers and Sailors Orphans Home at Xenia that same year. At the Home, he was trained in the blacksmith and machinist trades. Four years later Wenrick was released from the Home as a resident and hired to run the blacksmith and machine shop.

Around 1897 Wenrick moved to Sidney and became a foreman of a machine shop there. A short time later, he became a journeyman machinist and traveled all over the country. During this time, he worked in over 100 railway shops.

Wenrick returned to the Dayton area in 1902 and married Carrie C. Coy of Beavercreek Twp. on Dec. 17, 1902. They had five children: one daughter and four sons.

Soon after coming to Dayton, Wenrick and Harry Stutz worked together and made an automobile, one of the first constructed in Dayton. Stutz had founded the Stutz Manufacturing Company in 1899 to make gasoline engines.

Wenrick was employed by the National Cash Register Company, worked in their plant during the day and studied at night. He graduated from Taylor College of Upland, Ind.

In 1906, Wenrick became a minister in the Brethren church. He was active in missionary work and in preaching.

Wenrick purchased a farm in Beavercreek township a few miles east of Dayton and built a house on the property. He also owned real estate in the city of Dayton as well as properties in Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma.

In 1928, Wenrick, along with E. T. Larsh started the Walnut Grove Country Club on 150 acres of the Wenrick farm. The piece of land selected for the club and course straddles the Greene and Montgomery county line. The Walnut Grove Country Club web site describes the course as “a true test of golf” and adds “Walnut Grove’s signature hole is the 444 yard, 11th hole, consistently ranked as ‘the toughest par four hole’ in the Dayton region.”

Wenrick served as a member of the local school board and held several other political offices.

He died on June 17, 1964, and was buried at Woodland Cemetery in Dayton.

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