Wednesday, March 2, 2016

stiles service

Photo of unnamed painting in Reinhold Marxhausen Estate file, above.

I have an old painting done by your father while he was in Valparaiso, IN. Apparently he lived in the basement of my mother's sorority house or some such thing. The painting is an oil of the "bullpen", a brick horseshoe shaped "discussion area" which no longer exists there. I know the bullpen was a favourite place of my father's, as he loved to debate many topics. It was where I understand many lengthy and spirited philosophical debates (perhaps fueled by beer and pipe tobacco) took place. That site has been long gone, but is preserved in Marx's painting.       Nancy Koschmann Seemann

Bullpen by Reinhold Pieper Marxhausen, signed by artist. It measures 27.5 by 20.75 inches in the frame.  Double click image to see signature. (iPhone photo courtesy of Nancy Koschmann Seemann, Nov 28, 2010)

The Alpha Phi Delta sorority gave Reinhold a 1st floor space as a studio, a workshop space. This was when he was at Stiles, which was kitty-corner to the sorority. Before that he lived on Lincolnway across from the twitching pig.     Lou Zeile (Feb 8, 2016)

Stiles Hall on corner of Union and South Greenwich street (courtesy of Steve Shook,, accessed February 24, 2016)

Karl Marxhausen (KM): So, you can tell me why the Nash had a tricycle tied to the front and to the back.
Lou Zeile (LZ): We did it for the Homecoming Parade. Stiles Hall had families and young profs living on the first and second floors. We lived on the third floor. The corridors were cluttered with tricycles. We borrowed them and had them on our car to represent Stiles Hall.
KM: I take it you returned the tricycles afterwards.
LZ: Yes, we did.    (Feb. 8, 2016)

LZ: We bought a car we found during a walk. It was a 1926 Nash. It needed repairs. Marxhausen had the talent. He found the parts and he did the work. Remarkable. The rest of us didn’t know anything. Later, we traded the Nash in for the 1925 Chyrsler. Parts came from Chicago. We called to see if they had a rear axle for the Chrysler. They said they had, and told them to hold it for us. Marx took the train in to the city to get it, and he installed it (when he got back).
LZ: We used to take tours on campus. Us guys with gals, driving on the sidewalks.  

Lou Zeile (LZ):There was a small group of us at Stiles Hall. A residential hall for students and young professors. It was antiquated.

KM: It did have electric lights, didn’t it?

LZ: yes.

KM: You didn’t have to fetch your own water, did you?

LZ: No. But it was a fire trap. Partenfelder got a rope from home to hang outside his window as a fire escape. We told him to tie it around the radiator.    (from interview, Aug 26, 2015)

KM: I saw the photo with four guys. I saw Reinhold and you, Lou. Who were the other two?
LZ: Ken Partenfelder and Kretz (Norm Kretzman).

Rein Marxhausen

Lou Zeile
Below, senior class man Louis E. Zeile (courtesy of 1950 Beacon yearbook, page 62,, accessed  May 13, 2015)

Ken Partenfelder
Below, senior class man, page 59 (courtesy of 1950 Beacon yearbook,,
accessed Feb 8, 2016)

Norm Kretzman
Norman Kretzman was a roommate. We called him “Kretz.” His father was A.R. Kretzman, who bought Marx his first suit for his interview in Seward. Norm took 23 credits and was pulling straight A’s.  O.P Kretzman was A.R’s brother, and the president of the college at Valpo. Brilliant minds. Norm got his PhD from John Hopkins when he was 22 or 23 yrs.
Lou Zeile (from interview, Feb. 8, 2016)
The Stiles group, our group, was a competitive organization. There was a certain color of blazers for the fraternities. Our group decided to wear denim jackets and put special pins on them. Marx engraved an “S” for Stiles. We made a big thing about how we were going to join the frats, much lip service to it, but we had no intention of joining.
Lou Zeile (from interview, Feb. 8, 2016)

He told this story in class. At Valpo he lived in a house with other guys. They were always broke. So, he set his roommates together and asked them, “What skills do we have?” They wrote a list down. They took out an ad in the newspaper. It became a well known phone number. People still call that number. It was known as the "handy man house."    Milt Heinrich (email Nov 24, 2014)

We called ourselves “Stiles Services.” We advertised that we could do odd jobs, cleaned basements, and such. We even got together to paint a prof’s house. We did it alone at $2800.
Kretz had no experience painting, how thrilled he was with what he accomplished. Time between classes we would paint for an hour or two. At the end the prof asked to renegotiate the term: "seeing how you are making more than I am." Norm wanted to sue the prof for breaking contract, but he didn’t.   Lou Zeile (Feb 8, 2016)

It was good knowing him. Marx and I were the best of friends.  Lou Zeile  (Feb 8, 2016) 

Interviews and conversations are property of Karl Marxhausen 2016.

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