This is the oldest photo I’ve been able to find online of early Princeton. It was taken in the early 1870s, probably 1873-74. We can date the photo because we know Gottlieb Luedtke built the two-story stone building at the top center of the photo for his wagon shop in 1873 following a fire and A.W. Pettibone (right) closed his store in Princeton in 1875.

The south side of the street includes several notable buildings, but of special interest, in my humble opinion, are the buildings third from left (right of the shack), which shows the first store built in Princeton (1849, F. Durand, proprietor) and later site of the Princeton State Bank building (527 West Water Street), and the building to its right (left of the three-story stone building built in 1859), which was then – and is now – known as the Buckhorn.

It might be my imagination, but when I zoom in on the photo I think I see antlers over the doorway.

The two buildings at the far left gave way to William Yahr’s furniture and undertaking business (521 West Water), built in 1901, and F.T. Yahr’s hardware store and bank, built in 1875. (The building at far left was one of those moved to Princeton from St. Marie. It burned in 1897.)

A copy of this photo was displayed in the office of the cashier of the Princeton State Bank in 1905 as well as the Warnke lumber yard office years later.

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