GUSTAV ADOLPH STERNENBERG, native of Houston, and for many years prominently identified with the business life here, took an important part in developing the lumber industry in this section. Mr. Sternenberg was interested in lumber in an extensive way, operating a large saw mill, and controlling a large acreage of forest lands. He had a talent for affairs, a keen judgment and skill in handling men, and in the accomplishment of large affairs, combined with a deep insight into all phases of the lumber industry, that contributed to his success in this line.
Mr. Sternenberg was born in Houston the twentysixth of August, 1869, at the old Sternenberg home at the corner of Dallas and Crawford Street. His father, J. A. Sternenberg, came to Houston from his native country of Germany in the early fifties. For a time after coming to Houston he worked as a furniture repairer, later becoming a millwright. He built many mills in this section, and gradually became interested in the saw mill business. He had a mill at Spring, Texas, and a steam mill at Beaumont. The firm name under which he operated was Olive & Sternenberg, later the Olive-Sternenberg Company, and still later the Olive-Sternenberg Lumber Company. Mr. Sternenberg owned much land in Hardin County, and was one of the veteran lumbermen and saw mill owners of the Lone Star State. His associations with this field of activity are recalled by the old-timers, who hold him in high esteem for his many practical and beneficial contributions to the industry. During the Civil War Mr. Sternenberg served as bandman throughout the conflict, returning to his home in Houston at the close of the war. His death occurred in Houston the second day of May, 1914. His wife, Mrs. Emilie Vogel Sternenberg, and the mother of Gustav Adolph Sternenberg, the subject of this sketch, was also a native of Germany, coming to the United States at an early age. She met Mr. Sternenberg in this state, and here they were married and spent the many happy years of their married life. She died June 18, 1923, at the age of eighty-one years.
Gustav Adolph Sternenberg was educated in the public schools of Houston, later attending college, after which he began his active business career. He first went to work for the railroad in Houston, after going to Chicago for a short time, during which he was also connected with railroad work. A little later he returned to his native city and began in the lumber business, where by close application to detail he had soon mastered all the intricacies of the industry. He located at Olive, Texas, where he began the operation of a saw mill.
Mr. Sternenberg gradually expanded his lumber activities and had interests in all its branches. In 1907 he returned to Houston to make his home, and expecting to retire. However, he continued very active, looking after his extensive properties in this city, and built the Sternenberg, a family hotel at 808 Walker Avenue, in 1908. This was his last business venture, his death occurring in April, 1908, just a few months prior to the completion of the hotel.
Mr. Sternenberg was married the ninth of June, 1897, to Miss Emma B. Sens, who, like Mr. Sternenberg, was born in Houston, and has always resided here with the exception of ten years at Olive. She was the daughter of Andrew Sens, who came from his native home in Germany to the United States, at the age of nineteen years, and located at Houston, where he spent the rest of his life. Her mother, before her marriage was Miss Anna Bente, who came with her father to the United States at the age of thirteen and was reared in Houston.
Mr. Sternenberg was an honored member of the Masonic and Woodmen of the World orders, and a citizen of the highest type. His connection with the lumber industry in Texas was that of a pioneer, and he was instrumental in contributing to its advancement along progressive lines. He is regarded by lumbermen as one of the most distinguished of its members, and his death, which occurred the nineteenth of April, 1908, was a distinct loss to the community. As a citizen Mr. Sternenberg took a great interest in the welfare and progress of his city, contributing generously that Houston might develop every possible resource. He was benevolent, kindly toward all, and took a deep interest in his f ellowmen, often lending the helping hand that made for success. He took a large part in shaping public opinion of his time, and his life stood for the highest achievement in his line of endeavor.