Conrad Poppenhusen – A Hamburger in America

Whalebone merchant, kindergarten founder, railroad executive, man with funnest name to say on the east coast.

These are just some of the wonderful qualities that define Conrad Poppenhusen, now notable for having founded the United States’ first free kindergarten, among other things.

Poppenhusen was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1818, which I believe qualifies him as a born Hamburger. It was no surprise then that Americans met him with great enthusiasm when he arrived to these shores in the early 1840s. We can only be happy he wasn’t instantly devoured with a giant pickle and a drowning of mayo.

Mr. Poppenhusen, taking a moment to pose for a photo in between achieving everything humanly possible.

Mr. Poppenhusen, taking a moment to pose for a photo in between achieving everything humanly possible.

In Germany, Mr. Poppenhusen was employed, naturally, as a whalebone purchaser. His skills in this booming field were clearly in demand in the New World, and he founded his own whalebone processing company in Brooklyn when he immigrated. Whalebone was at the time used to make important items that keep societies running, such as backscratchers, collar stiffeners, and buggy whips. I think we all have a few of those around.

Eventually Poppenhusen shifted his factory towards manufacturing rubber goods, and moved it to rural Queens. There he ended up merging the two neighborhoods of Flammersburg and Strattonport together to form the town of College Point. It’s a shame he wasn’t more of an egotist, as Poppenhusenville has a nice ring to it.

Gladly, his name does still adorn street signs, libraries, and train station plaques around Queens.

A likeness of Mr. Poppenhusen upon arrival in America.

A likeness of Mr. Poppenhusen upon arrival in America.

The now wealthy industrialist, not content with rubber products and town founding, quickly created the Poppenhusen Institute. This contained within it the free to attend kindergarten that he’s still known for. He also later led a railroad, built a church, and founded the National Football League.

OK, just pulling your leg on the last one. He didn’t create the NFL. But I think we can all see his influence in the league today. Perhaps in the shape of Berliner linebacker Bjoern Werner.

Unfortunately, Conrad’s three children squandered most of his fortune after his retirement, proving once and for all that them darn kids just can’t be trusted.

What you can trust is a man named Conrad Poppenhusen being a guarantee for greatness.



About Arto

Co-founder of the Funny Names Blog, Hawaiian shirt enthusiast, and holder of a funny name himself with too many vowels for any sensible person. Currently residing in San Diego, California, scouring through obscure documents on a hunt for more funny names.
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29 Responses to Conrad Poppenhusen – A Hamburger in America

  1. ksbeth says:

    yes! poppenhusen is the perfect name for a kindergarten founder.

  2. It makes one ponder, where’s the beef?

  3. kerbey says:

    Actually, where IS the beef? That hamburger has no meat! Is that a tofu burger? Is it a passive aggressive vegan move? Is it mozzarella? I am very bothered by this. You’re cruisin’ for a poppenhusen bruisin’. Aside from the meatless mayhem, I do wonder if this Conrad (not to be confused with the one from “Bye Bye, Birdie”) is responsible for my whalebone corset that I wore at my wedding. If it wasn’t whalebone, it felt like it. I didn’t realize buggy whips were made of BONE. It’s still not a justifiable reason to slaughter all those sea beasts. Poor whales. Now you have made me sad.

  4. wdydfae says:

    “. . . another Poppen fresh post from Arto! Two thumbs up! . . .”

    “. . . Arto proves yet again that you Conrad your Hamburger and eat it too . . .”

    “. . .All I really need to know I learned in Poppenhusenville . . .”

    “. . . as JFK famously said, ‘Ich bin eine Poppenhusenviller’ . . .”

    • Dave says:

      Wow, the blurb generator is running smoothly today! Now I have to go rad a Hamburger. That sounds like tons of fun, even if I don’t know what it means

      • wdydfae says:

        Well, OK, I was reaching with “Conrad your Hamburger”. It was supposed to work 2 ways, but since each way was about 3/5 it doesn’t really work any way at all.

        It’s not surprising that you have a whalebone to pick on that one!

    • Dave says:

      Sorry, I meant to say…

      “. . . clever . . .”
      ” . . . one whale of a wit! . . . ”
      “. . . smart as a buggy whip . . .”
      “. . . more trustworthy than those darn kids! . . .”

      The blurb generator is in tip-top shape today!

    • Arto says:

      That is some exquisite blurbage. I can see JFK saying that and inspiring a whole nation. Not sure which one though. Maybe Tonga.

  5. Dave says:

    Mayo?!? Gross!

  6. Dave says:

    I hope it was organic whalebones. I only buy my backscratchers, buggy whips, and collar stiffeners from organic whalebone vendors.

  7. Dave says:

    Re-reading this post, I enjoy it even more. So many good little morsels of wit!

  8. Dave says:

    I like mine with lettuce and tomato, Heinz 57 and French fried potatoes, a big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer, well good God almighty which way do I steer for my… Hamburger in Paradise!

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