July 4, 1821
January 3, 1885
Andrew Erkenbrecher was a German immigrant who came to America with his parents when he was a child. He was quite industrious and worked in a series of jobs until he founded his own company. Andrew opened a starch factory and grain mill. It was the starch, though, that made his fortune. When Cincinnati was struck by a caterpillar plague in the late 1800s, Erkenbrecher imported birds to combat the caterpillars. He treasured the birds and imported exotics of all kinds which later became a focal point as an exhibit in the Cincinnati Zoo, which he helped found.
Andrew Erkenbrecher’s cast bronze monument in the Spring Grove Cemetery at Cincinnati, Ohio, features a woman leaning back on a pillow while holding a tablet in her right hand. The lines of a poem by the German poet Friedrich Ruckert are inscribed on the tablet which seem to extoll the virtues of death and the prize it brings:
“Though Death ends well all life’s distress. Yet life still shudders at Death’s approach
Life only sees Death’s dusky hand. And not the shinning cup it bears”.