TV comes to Princeton

The television won by Mrs. Steve Krystofiak is displayed in the Princeton Historical Society’s Stone House.

Did you ever wonder when television arrived in Princeton? The answer is 1949. Here are three clippings from the Princeton Times-Republic describing what appear to be the first television in Princeton, the first television purchased here and the first residential television installed here.

Princeton Times-Republic, March 3, 1949 – “Television has come to Princeton. An Admiral receiving set at Hotmar’s Hardware has been bringing in some very good programs, including basketball games and other features which are giving us a taste of the possibilities of this new form of home entertainment.”

Hotmar’s occupied the building now home to Twister, 602 West Water Street.

Princeton Republic, July 21, 1949 – “The Place Tavern on the West Side has installed an Admiral television and is getting very good reception. The set was installed by the Hotmar Hardware Company.”

I do not know for sure, but I believe Verne Ruhl and Norbert Wielgosh owned The Place Tavern, northwest corner of Main and Second streets, at the time.

Princeton Times-Republic, July 28, 1949 – “Mrs. Steve Krystofiak is the winner of the Crossley television set as the result of acting as hostess at Stanley parties. A tower is being built in preparation for the installation of the set by Millerd Mosolf, local Crossley dealer.”

The Steve Krystofiak home was located on the Montello road south of the mill ditch.

Princeton Times-Republic, Feb. 23, 1950 – “Maybe you’ve noticed the big new tower on top of the Princeton Hardware store this past week – television has returned to Princeton. Jack Dutton and Steve Paradowski put up a 70-foot antenna on Tuesday to use with a television receiver recently purchased at the hardware show.”

It took several years for the TV to catch on here. When the Wisconsin Badgers lost the Rose Bowl game (the school’s first bowl game) 7-0 to Southern Cal on Jan. 1, 1953, the Princeton Times-Republic editor, J.P. Norman, reported many local residents had watched the game on television.

“We were surprised at the number of people who saw the game on television,” he noted. “Many local sets reported good reception and many local people went out of town to see it. If we were making predictions this early in the year we would be prone to say that the television market in slowly but surely coming to Princeton. With approximately 10 sets in the area now, but next New Year’s Day we’d be willing to bet there would be close to 50 sets in Princeton!”

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