Vichy water tycoon Schultz found good health in Green Cove Springs

Mary Jo McTammany
Posted 4/24/19

In the late 1880s, folks living in Clay County marked the beginning of winter not by a sudden change in temperatures but by the invasion of hordes of tourists and invalids fleeing harsh winter …

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Vichy water tycoon Schultz found good health in Green Cove Springs

Posted

In the late 1880s, folks living in Clay County marked the beginning of winter not by a sudden change in temperatures but by the invasion of hordes of tourists and invalids fleeing harsh winter climes.

Most of the seasonal arrivals chose accommodations in resort hotels and smaller boarding houses in Green Cove Springs, but a few very wealthy families bought land and built large homes. One of these successful financial and industrial giants was Carl Rudy Schultz of New York.

The Schultz family moved in the rarified levels of Victorian society and Rudy was heir to the vast internationally distributed Schultz Vichy Water Company founded by his father. Not one to rest on family laurels, he combined presidency of the soda and seltzer water empire with serving as president of New York’s Equitable National Bank.

In the late 1800s, his parents first established a residence in the popular watering hole at Green Cove Springs, but it only took one season visiting them to convince Rudy and his family to join them. His health had been poorly for some time but the respite from the brutal northern winter seemed to bring about an immediate cure even as he worked harder than ever supervising the construction of his own family’s residence.

His fickle peers moved on to the trendier locals in south Florida and Europe but Schultz stayed true. His visits to green Cove Springs became more frequent and lasted longer until 1910 when he retired. The family then traveled to Europe and spent significant time at their home in the family compound outside New York. Every year, he joined friends for a hunting trip to Alaska, but he considered Green Cove Springs his home.

For a decade, until the 1920s, board meetings, his peripheral involvement in the bottling company business, hunting trips and yacht races kept him occupied. Then, in 1927, the lure of business called him back to Green Cove Springs and he launched the Samen Kraft Corporation of Florida.

Through his friendships with local people, Schultz learned of the farming problems caused by a rapid depletion of nutrients in the sandy soil.

As a Yale alumnus with a degree in chemistry this was right up his alley. He answered the siren’s call and was soon back in business. His new factory in Green Cove Springs was equipped with state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment and staffed by chemical engineers recruited worldwide to produce a highly effective fertilizer named “Truck-ine” a “growth developing and parasite preventing” substance in one product.

Schultz died in Jacksonville at age 57. He was truly a unique man of his times – as comfortable in New York City boardrooms, gentlemen’s establishments and yacht clubs as he was hoisting a glass at Green Cove’s Kirkpatrick’s Saloon or spending two days and nights hunting alligators. His wit, infectious enthusiasm and friendship were missed - north and south.

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