Reinhard Wilda

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Reinhard W. A. Wilda (born February 1840 in Germany; died April 21, 1904) was the founder of the Birmingham Steam Laundry, land agent for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, and one of the organizers of the Birmingham Mineral Railroad.

Wilda was the son of Wilhelm Eduard, a professor of law at Halle and later at Breslau and Kiel, who became known as the "father of comparative jurisprudence". Reinhard worked for four years in a Hamburg coffee shop before emigrating to the United States in 1860. During the Civil War Wilda enlisted in Company H of the 7th New York Regiment and, after re-enlisting, was attached to the 178th New York Regiment. He was wounded three times, at Fredericksburg, Tupelo and Nashville. At the end of the war he served as clerk to General Charles Wood.

In 1865 Wilda took a job with the post office in Atlanta, Georgia. He married the former Mary Baumer of Mobile in 1866 and had three children. In 1876 he took a job on the staff of the general manager of the Atlanta & Richmond Railroad. From there he was appointed land agent for the Louisville & Nashville Railroad and moved to Birmingham. He opened the Birmingham Steam Laundry on Avenue C and later helped organized the Birmingham Mineral Railroad. As a booster of Birmingham, Wilda compiled the pamphlets "Birmingham Alabama: Facts Worth Knowing" and "Guide to Railroads, Dummy Lines, & Street Cars in the city of Birmingham, Ala.". He was also a partner in the real estate firm of Wilda & Dearborn with offices at 2009 1st Avenue North.

Wilda's first wife died in 1883 and was buried at Oak Hill Cemetery. He married again, to the former Annie Fiquet of Tuscaloosa, who died in 1898. Wilda's residence was located on the southeast corner of 22nd Street and 4th Avenue North.

Wilda died in 1904 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.


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