The five Lochmiller brothers were born in Maryland and raised by Amelia, a German widow, in a rowhouse on Abbott Street. William, the eldest, was the first and only brother to fly the coop when he got married, but the other brothers stayed with their mother until they were well into their late thirties.
By 1930, after Amelia had passed away, all five Lochmiller brothers had moved into 2402 Eager Street.
William was listed as the head of the household. He was divorced, and he was employed as a suitcase maker at a leather factory. William’s brother, Louis, was also a suitcase maker at the factory. In fact, William and Louis had always been in the same profession, dating back to 1900 when they were both young harness makers.
Henry, the next oldest brother, was a guard at the penitentiary (a great job for someone with “loch” in their last name), while Samuel was a cook. It’s likely that Henry worked at the Maryland Penitentiary, a mile or so west on Eager Street. The imposing stone structure, with its iconic pyramidal roof, remains a haunting fixture in Baltimore’s roster of architecturally significant buildings.
The youngest Lochmiller brother, Herman, was employed as a sponger at the textile factory. I don’t know what sort of work a “sponger” does, but I do know that the word is used to describe a person who lives at another’s expense, which might well describe the situation for Herman, the baby bro.
The five brothers were still living together in the house when the 1940 census was taken, but there had been a slight shift in the power dynamic. Henry, who was still working as a prison guard, was now listed as the head of the household, while older brother William had dropped a rung. William and Louis were still in the leather business, but Samuel was unemployed and Herman “The Sponger” Lochmiller was now working as a construction laborer.
We came across four different spellings for the brothers’ surname, with Lochmiller being the most commonly used. “Loch” means “hole” in German, which corresponds nicely with the current state of the brothers’ house at 2402 Eager Street: