If you read last week’s featured post about the building at 630 West Water Street, which is owned by the Princeton Historical Society and will soon be home to its new folklore museum, you already know this post is about whether or not the building was moved to the lot on Water Street from the now defunct village of St. Marie in the 1860s.

You will also know from last week’s blog that the City of Princeton Historical Walking Tour plaque repeats the St. Marie story and claims the building was used as a feed store for about 100 years. We exposed the second statement as myth, or at least major exaggeration, last week.

This week, let’s pretend we had not read the walking tour plaque and had no idea about the historical society’s St. Marie contention. Instead, let’s look at the history of the building, starting with facts that are undeniable and then work our way back in time.

We will again rely on reports from the Princeton Republic, the Sanborn fire insurance maps and property records.

We know based on reports in the newspaper and the Sanborn fire insurance map that in 1914 Erich Mueller was using the building at 630 West Water for his pianos, sewing machines and musical instruments business. Mueller also owned the former Gottlieb Luedtke wagon shop across the street, and was selling farm implements and autos from there.

NOTE: 1914 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map below identifies 630 West Water Street as “pianos, sewing machines, etc.”

We also know that Mueller purchased the building at 630 West Water from Wm. Schroeder in 1913:

Republic, June 19, 1913 – “Erich Mueller, who recently purchased the Wm. Schroeder hardware store, is having the front of same remodeled. We understand that Mr. Mueller will use the building for the storage of pianos, sewing machines, etc.”

We know Wm. Schroeder purchased the business from Herman Warnke in 1893.

Republic, April 6, 1893 – “Wm. Schroeder, having purchased the hardware business of Herman Warnke, takes possession soon.”

Note: The 1892 Sanborn map shows the Warnke operation, which included Lot 3, Block C.

We know Herman Warnke bought out partner August Zauft in 1891:

Republic, March 26, 1891 – “Herman Warnke has bought of Aug. Zauft the latter’s interest in the hardware and lumber business.”

We know Warnke and Zauft bought the business from J.P. Viel in 1888:

Republic, April 12, 1888 – “Warnke & Zauft have purchased of J.P. Viel the lumber yard, business and good will, including real estate.”

We know Viel and his brother purchased the business from Gardner Green and A.P. Carman in 1883:

Republic, April 12, 1883 – “G. Green and A.P. Carman have sold out their lumber yard, hardware and other business to Messrs. J.P. and W.F. Viel.”

We know Gardner Green built a hardware store across from the Luedtke wagon shop in 1876:

Republic, June 17, 1876 – “Green & Carman have their hardware and agricultural rooms about completed. This new business house is situated opposite G. Luedtke’s wagon shop.”

Republic, June 3, 1876 – “Messrs. G. Green and A.P. Carman are building quite a commodious agricultural warehouse to accommodate their increasing trade.”

In addition to knowing Gard Green’s main store was across from the Luedtke wagon shop, we also know it was just east of the Tagatz stone house:

Republic, Feb. 9, 1882 – “C. Hunold has rented family rooms in the stone building of T. Taggartz (sic), just west of Gard Green’s.”

The Tagatz stone house at 632 West Water Street, believed by local historians to have been built in the early 1870s, is owned by the Princeton Historial Society and houses a portion of its diverse collection. A brief history of the house is among the exhibits.

The location of Green’s hardware store as described by the newspaper – across from the wagon shop and just east of the stone house – places it squarely at 630 West Water Street.

Forgive my indulgence, please, but I’d like to extend this discussion – or monologue – one more week.

NEXT WEEK: We’ll look further at the St. Marie-to-Princeton side of the history of 630 West Water Street.

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