Page 44 - March2017

Basic HTML Version

War but later relocated to Chicago and established a
photography business there. He eventually moved to St.
Louis and then to Belleville, Illinois where he became an
American citizen and married Elise Kreppelt in 1882.
In the late 1880s the couple moved to Galveston, where
Justus went into business with established photographer
Philip H. Rose. His charming daughters Elise and Ida
were favorite subjects of their photographer father,
who posed them in a variety of costumes and settings
through the next few years.
Zahn bought out his partner in 1888 for $1,400 and
opened his own studio at 418 Tremont Street. For the
next fourteen years, Justus Zahn was considered the
foremost society photographer on the island with a
clientele that included major families such as the Browns
and Rosenbergs. Early in their careers,
photographers Paul Naschke and Joseph
Maurer both apprenticed under Zahn
before becoming successful in their own
In 1894, Zahn’s work garnered national
acclaim, winning multiple awards
at the St. Louis Photo Convention.
Professionally respected, financially
secure, and enjoying a wide circle of
friends, Zahn could not foresee the
tragedy that would visit his adopted
island home at the turn of the century.
Unfortunately, the 1900 Storm had a
devastating impact on Zahn’s life and
business. Although his family survived,
their home on Avenue I and business
on Tremont were devastated. He rebuilt
both, but he and Elise decided not to
chance enduring such an experience
again. After selling his studio to his
former assistant Joseph Maurer in 1902,
he moved his wife and two daughters
back to St. Louis where he reopened
a photography studio. In 1909, he
relocated to Bowling Green, Montana,
and continued to live there until his death
in 1918.
In 2013, Rosenberg Library featured an
exhibit of some of Zahn’s personal items,
donated by Ethel B. Buckley, including his
distinctive pince-nez eyeglasses, an antique
stereo-graphoscope, and an engraved cane
head from the Edelweiss Club.
Last month’s article that shared the
story of the Blessing Brothers, pioneer
photographers in mid to late 1800s
Galveston, can be found online at and on our
Facebook page.
Undated photo of Philip H. Rose by
Justus Zahn
Cabinet Card photo of unnamed
man by Rose and Zahn
Photo of Carrie Will Howell by Justus Zane
Corner of mechanic and 24th Street
by Philip H. Rose, circa late 1880s
Charles James Sweeney at age three
taken by Justus Zahn, February 1891
Images courtesy of
Past & PresenT |
Galveston history
44 |
MARCH 2017