Stertzbach Studio

Another Charlotte photography mystery lies in the identity of the owner of the Stertzbach Studio on West Fifth Street. There is no mention of this person in any Charlotte City directory. Two Stertzbachs are listed in the United States 1920 census and as luck would have it, both were photographers, Calvin Stertzbach (1881-1956), who lived in Cass County Ohio and William Stertzbach (1877-?), who lived in Portsmouth, Virginia. It is likely that the two were brothers because both are from Ohio, and they provided the same parental information on the 1920 census. Nevertheless, a Stertzbach was in Charlotte long enough to take this picture that dates to around 1897 or 1898, but he apparently did not stay very long. William Stertzbach is listed in the Virginia Business Directory and Gazetteer for 1906, 1911, and 1917. At the time, he was the only photographer listed in Portsmouth. Stertzbach also appears in the Norfolk/Portsmouth City Directoriesfor 1924 and 1928.
Although the photographer is a mystery, we know that Syndenham Alexander is on the far left, and that this portrait dates prior to his marriage to Mary Robertson in 1898.
From the Mary Brevard Alexander Howell Papers