Carl Gustave Adolph Voigt was born on December 5, 1833 in Prussia, the eldest of five children born to Adolph A. and Johanna Voigt. His family immigrated to America in 1847, eventually settling in Michigan City, Indiana.
In 1865, Voigt entered the dry goods business with William G. Herpolsheimer (1841-1920). They operated a store called Voigt and Herpolsheimer. In 1870 they opened a branch store in Grand Rapids, Michigan, called Voigt, Herpolsheimer and Company, which eventually became Herpolsheimer’s Department Store. The partners purchased controlling interests in the Star flour Mill in 1875, which they later bought outright and merged with another mill, Crescent Mill, in 1882. The two mills were operated as Voigt Milling Company, 1881-1897. The partnership dissolved by mutual consent in 1902. (The records of Voigt, Herpolsheimer and Company, 1865-1970, and Voigt Milling Company, 1866-1969, are housed at the Public Museum of Grand Rapids.)
Voigt was a member of the Michigan State Millers Association. He served as the Association’s Michigan representative to its national organizational meetings, 1895-1898. The Association influenced tariff rates on grain and grain products.
In 1856, Voigt married his first wife. She and a daughter died by 1859, while a son lived to be six-years-old. Voigt then married Elizabeth Wurster in 1860. Six of their nine children lived to adulthood. The Voigts moved to Grand Rapids in 1870. In 1895, Voigt built his retirement home, called Voigt House, in the Heritage Hills area of Grand Rapids. Carl G. A. Voigt died September 7, 1908. The Voigt House is now operated as a national historic site and is open to the public. (For further information see the Biographical Materials, which include copies of the Voigt House’s webpages.)