By Earl and Charmaine Kneevers
During the late 19th and early 20th century, there was a relatively strong Socialist movement in the United States. Sheboygan, Wisconsin was one of those cities that had an active Socialist Party. The movement believed in public ownership and democratic management of the basic means of production and distribution. It had strong ties to the organized labor movement of the time. A strong leader of the Sheboygan movement was Fred Kneevers, whose history as a struggling worker with a family to support and with Socialist beliefs, brought him into the hotel and restaurant business to support his family when known Socialists were not welcomed in privately run businesses. The Kneevers' Hotel was a successful meeting place of the Socialists.