Frank Gottschalt - Village patrolman for 56 Years

10119 Foster Avenue
Frank Gottschalt 1908
Frank Gottschalt 1908

Frank’s father, Christian Gottschalt, was a Bratenahl councilman when the mayor, Liberty Holden, suggested that Frank become a patrolman.

April 15, 1908, marked the start of a police career for Patrolman Frank Henry Gottschalt that would last for 56 years. His first night was a little disturbing, for he was "pounding" his beat in the rain. At first, he planned to stay for only a week, but then the weather warmed up, and things were not so bad. The job became less lonely when friends joined him "pounding" his beat.

He started off walking, then rode a bicycle, all the while dodging horses and buggies. He stated that in the beginning, the police were pretty much guardians of the big estates. Often, they escorted the house-maids home at night.

Frank H. Gottschalt was born in 1886. In 1909, he married Martha Decker, who was born in 1889. They had two children: Winifred (Danielson) born on May 7, 1919, and David Franklin born on August 5, 1923.

Martha was a descendant of Lorenzo Carter, who built the first home in Cleveland in 1797. She was a former member of the Cleveland Council of Church Women and had been superintendent of the primary department of the Sunday school of the Glenville Baptist Church and later of the Lyndhurst Baptist Church.

Frank retired in 1964 after serving for fifty-six years without ever having fired his service revolver in the line of duty. He stated that he had never been on any significant cases but did manage to save a couple of people from committing suicide. Gottschalt once captured an armed burglar while unarmed. He left the station so fast that he forgot his gun.

The Gottschalts had a 48-acre farm near Meadville, Pennsylvania, where they planned to retire and raise Christmas trees.

Frank died in 1974, and Martha died a year later.