Otto Edward Monnig
Otto Edward Monnig was born December 1, 1911 in Sepulpa, Oklahoma but the family moved to Los Angeles when he was thirteen.
His “Monnig’s” department was a family business that opened at the corner of Fifth and Washington Avenue in 1932. It was founded by his father and uncle and Otto moved to Waco from California that same year to help get the business going. One year later, he moved back to California and may have never returned to Waco except for his wife who insisted that they move back home. He quickly became the driving force behind “Monnig’s.” They sold men and women’s clothing, groceries, and other dry goods. Monnig’s relocated to 606 Austin Avenue in 1936 where they held a grand re-opening after remodeling what used to be known as the Horne Building. The grocery department of the store remained at their old location.
Brother Monnig was champion fisherman and spent most of his spare time at Lake Waco. He was an active member of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church. He became a Master Mason at Waco Lodge on December 19, 1944.
Though his store building mostly escaped damage from the 1953 Waco tornado(thanks to wise designs by architect Milton Scott), one of Monnig’s employees did suffer injuries when he was ripped from the store by winds. As his son, Randy Todd, would later recall:
“My Dad was in the receiving area located at the rear of the store and facing the alley behind Monnig’s that faced Austin Ave. He was unaware of the extreme weather taking place. He heard a loud noise/roar outside in the alley way. He opened the door that went outside into the alley way and was literally vacuumed outside and drug down the alley way for a short distance. He suffered some small cuts and bruises but no serious injury. He returned to his work place, saw what had happened and got his camera and struck out to photograph the carnage and help in the recovery effort in any capacity he could.”
Otto Monnig died on January 21, 1978. Today, a Clearview data center now uses the old Monnig’s building as their home because Brother Scott’s careful and sufficient designs made it extremely secure. Of course, he had weather and time in mind but the solid infrastructure’s thick walls and impressive basement now make for great security for technology needs.