My sample book of “Bartel’s History of Princeton, Volume I: From the New World to the New Deal” arrived from the printer last week and we are in the process of making significant changes.
Because I used a page designer who knows only enough about InDesign to be dangerous – me, I need to increase the page margins, especially the inside gutter, before the final printing. The easiest way to do that is to increase the size of the book to 7.5-by-10.5 inches. The page count will also increase to 536.
I have lined up two retail sales outlets: Daiseye at 525 West Water Street and Short Street Market at 427 West Water Street.
I set the book price at $30 (plus 5.5% sales tax, and shipping if you need book mailed to you) to break even. I plan to offer free delivery within 54968 for followers of my blog and the Princeton Facebook pages that I frequent.
The book is available online through daiseye.com (keyword search: Princeton).
I am nervous the book is not what people expect, and I don’t want anyone to feel they were misled.
I am often drawn to this quote from area historian Elaine Reetz, who passed away in 2003: “While dates and times are important in a chronological history of any community or city, it is the nostalgic memories that most people enjoy reading.” (“Come Back in Time, Volume I,” 1981)
My book is the former not the latter. It is a chronological history based on news stories – “dates and times” – from the Princeton Republic from 1867 to 1937, so if you are not interested in facts, this is not the book for you. There are no “nostalgic memories” passed down and embellished from generation to generation – just the original reports from the pioneers themselves.
It also is not a “coffee table” book. Though there are about ninety photos in the book, and they reproduced beautifully, the focus is on the words – the story of Princeton.
Also, I want to be sure people realize the book only covers the history of Princeton through 1939 (“Old Princeton”). A few chapters peek briefly into the 1940s but only one chapter (“The Legend”) includes a 21st century update. In the appendix, a table that shows construction dates of the downtown buildings does include 2020 occupants.
Listen below is an expanded table of contents, which hopefully will give you a feel for the book. I will upload some sample pages in future posts.
The introduction explains goals of the book: commemorate Princeton’s centennial as city, showcase early editors’ writing styles, provide a chronological rather than topical history, give local news a historical perspective, correct major errors of previous history projects.
An excerpt from the journal kept by Father Jacques Marquette’s during his time on the Upper Fox River in 1673 serves as the prologue.
Chapter 1 – The Black Robes
This is a brief look at the arrival of French explorers and missionaries in Wisconsin and especially Allouez’s contact with a Mascouten city and Marquette’s journey to the Mississippi.
Chapter 2 – The Legend
This chapter examines the Legend of the Cross and the disagreements over the location of the Mascouten city. It includes newspaper coverage of 19th century pilgrimages to St. Marie.
Chapter 3 – Indian Lands
This chapter discusses Black Hawk’s war and the treaties that opened the land on both sides of the Fox River to settlement.
Chapter 4 – Treat’s Landing
This chapter details the arrival of Princeton founder Royal Treat and other early settlers such as Nelson Parsons and John Knapp.
Chapter 5 – Shaw’s Landing
This chapter discusses the role of frontiersman Colonel John Shaw in the history of St. Marie, once viewed as a potential rival to Princeton.
Chapter 6 – The Early Settlers
This is my attempt to record how Princeton was developing in the 1850s and stresses the role of New York and New England transplants in Princeton and Wisconsin. Topics include the mill ditch and grist mill, the first businesses on Water Street and the county fair.
Chapter 7 – The English Churches
Short profiles of the early histories of the Congregational, Methodist Episcopal and St. Patrick Catholic churches.
Chapter 8 – The Immigrants
This chapter discusses the arrival of immigrants from Germany and Poland and introduces the reader to a handful of the German immigrants who helped shape Princeton: insurance salesman and grocer Martin Manthey, wagon makers August Thiel and August Swanke, brewer Carl Weist and merchant/travel agent/banker Ferdinand Yahr. Brief mention of the Poles.
Chapter 9 – War
A glimpse of Princeton during the Civil War and some of the local men who served. Colorful anecdote about the homecoming given a soldier who fled to Canada after being drafted.
Chapter 10 – The County Seat
Princeton, for a brief tumultuous time, was the county seat. This chapter examines the politics and shenanigans surrounding the issue, which ultimately was decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Chapter 11 – The Charters
The Wisconsin Legislature in 1865 granted Princeton a special charter to become a village. It had to be repealed and replaced two years later after a judge ruled the village marshal lacked the authority to serve a court order on the village president.
Chapter 12 – The Sixties
Each decade has a “roundup” chapter that covers other issues and aspects of Princeton life not included in the main chapters. For the Sixties, this includes debut of the Princeton Republic, the stone schoolhouse, the hops craze, the foundry, the county fair, development of the monthly Cattle Fair and more.
Chapter 13 – The German Churches
Short profiles of the St. John Lutheran, German Evangelical and German Congregational churches.
Chapter 14 – The Polish Churches
Short profiles of St. John and St. Stan Catholic churches.
Chapter 15 – Germans We Are, And Germans We Shall Remain
This chapter looks at how the early settlers from New York and New England coexisted with the newly arrived Germans and Poles. Includes the rise of Turn Verein and Schuetzen Verein, conflicts over temperance and Sunday laws, and birth of a German-language newspaper.
Chapter 16 – The Railroad
This chapter details the development and arrival of the Sheboygan & Fond du Lac Railroad in Princeton, along with the telegraph. We also report on development of the Princeton locks.
Chapter 17 – The Seventies
This chapter covers the construction of several brick buildings that remain the heart of Princeton’s downtown today as well as construction of the lockup, iron bridge, tannery, Turner Hall and Luedtke wagon shop, and arrival of new manufacturers. A fire company forms. Drownings on Green Lake.
Chapter 18 – The Fire Fiend
A fire in 1880 destroys 11 buildings, including the entire south side of the 400 block of Water Street, and another blaze in 1885 destroys the American House hotel at Water and Washington streets.
Chapter 19 – Doom & Gloom
Diphtheria rages through Princeton in the 1880s, claiming dozens and dozens of children’s lives. Bad weather adds to the village’s woes. One couple blames their trouble on a witch, leading to the Princeton Witch Trial.
Chapter 20 – The Lost Boy
Eleven-year-old Harvey Whittemore goes missing after being seen playing by the river. Did he drown? Was he taken by Indians? Finally, his body is found several days later on the bank of the river north of the mill. The boy’s throat had been cut. The investigation leads to the widowed daughter of the local judge.
Chapter 21 – The Eighties
Roundup: The telephone finally comes to Princeton. A tannery and cheese factory open. New buildings downtown include the City Hotel. Roller-skating popular pastime.
Chapter 22 – School Wars
Community is divided as board debates whether to build a new school. It eventually does.
Chapter 23 – The Bennett Law
Princeton’s school debate takes place on the eve of the state debate of the Bennett Law, which stirs up emotional opposition from Germans and Poles.
Chapter 24 – Separation Anxiety
The village charter issued in 1867 stipulated that the territory comprising the village was reannexed to the town “for general municipal purposes.” That led to ongoing differences between town and village over who gets the liquor license revenue. The village and town officially separated in 1897, but a dispute over division of property was not settled until 1902.
Chapter 25 – Pushin’ On
A look at how Princeton fared during the recession of the 1890s, including formation of the Princeton State Bank and another fire. We also look at the hotels of early Princeton. Other improvements include new home for lockup, new buildings on Water Street and establishment of a weather alert system.
Chapter 26 – The Factories
Short profiles of the butter tub factory, pop bottling factory, cigar factories, creamery, ice houses, monument shop, foundry, mill and overall factory at the turn of the century.
Chapter 27 – The Nineties
Roundup. Drought and war. Youngster killed in accidental shooting. Also, bicycles are the rage for area “wheel men” and baseball draws more fans. Big hunting clubs dominating Lake Puckaway.
Chapter 28 – The Mueller Brothers
Short profile of Gustav, Richard and Frank Mueller who came from Germany and found success in the drug store business in Princeton.
Chapter 29 – A Tale of Two Banks
Princeton gets its second bank, First National Bank of Princeton, and its first banking scandal.
Chapter 30 – The Extension
The railroad finally crosses the river. Princeton is no longer the terminus for the C&NW. Other topics include two fatal railroad accidents, the first rural mail route, introduction of cement sidewalks, downtown development and the first telephone exchange.
Chapter 31 – Let There Be Light
Princeton gets electricity and its “White Way.”
Chapter 32 – The High School
Princeton develops its high school, first a three-year course and then a four-year course, with tracks in English, German and Business. Voters approve addition to school. The school does well in declamation.
Chapter 33 – The Aughts
Roundup chapter covers German Day celebration, changes at Turner Hall, bowling, the Princeton Blues baseball team and more.
Chapter 34 – Yahr & Morse
Profiles of Ferdinand Yahr and Elmer Morse, probably Princeton’s two most financially successful residents of the 19th century. One German immigrant; one New Yorker.
Chapter 35 – Pickles, Clammers and Beans, Oh My!
Three popular products in the early 1900s were cucumbers, beans and, to a much lesser extent, clams.
Chapter 36 – Down on the Farm
We look at how the Progressive Republicans’ efforts helped improve agriculture in the Princeton area. Cheese factory replaces creamery. Three chick hatcheries in Princeton. School fair becomes Community Fair.
Chapter 37 – The Automobile
Father J.S. Wozny, pastor of St. John the Baptist Church, was the first person in Princeton to own a car. The first auto garage went up in 1909 and was soon followed by others as well as a handful of filling stations. Road improvements were not far behind.
Chapter 38 – The Great War
Princeton’s young men and one female nurse march off to war. Letters home were sometimes comforting, sometimes frightening. Then came the telegrams. Finally, the bodies.
Chapter 39 – The Home Front
People at home made many sacrifices for the boys overseas. The Loyalty Legion sometimes went too far in its efforts to bolster the war effort. Formation of veterans’ organizations.
Chapter 40 – The Tens
Roundup: Spanish flu, moving pictures, rural mail delivery, fatal barn fire and more.
Chapter 41 – City of Princeton
Princeton incorporates as a city and finally provides 24-hour electricity, buys a fire truck, builds a bridge and more in the 1920s. Short profile of Nickodem Bros. and mention of sawmills.
Chapter 42 – The Great Ice Storm
Sleet storm ravages Central Wisconsin in February 1922. Severe snowstorms also pose problems in the 1920s, and railroad accident claims one life.
Chapter 43 – The City Park
Development of the City Park and zoo.
Chapter 44 – The Community Hall
Development of the Community Hall, which fills a need for high school sports facility auditorium and meeting space for area clubs.
Chapter 45 – The Twenties
Roundup of the Roaring Twenties covers local entertainment highlights, opening of Pleasant Valley pavilion, rise of radio, update on the iconic Cattle Fair, formation of Rod and Gun Club and more. Edward Boguski – one of Princeton’s all-time best athletes.
Chapter 46 – The Airport
Development of the city airport, which includes federal funding from New Deal legislation. Fatal crash in Princeton becomes state’s first manslaughter case involving airplane accident.
Chapter 47 – Prohibition
Chapter looks at how Princeton residents dealt with prohibition, use of brewery, rise of bootlegging and concludes with a suspect being shot and killed during a sting operation.
Chapter 48 – Tiger Brew
The beer that became a Princeton legend was first brewed in the 1930s and lasted only a few years. By decade’s end, dairy equipment filled the former brewery.
Chapter 49 – The School Band
A profile of the Band Mother’s Club and its efforts on behalf of the school band, which became a source of great pride for the community for the next several years. Also, PHS wins its first state title – in shorthand.
Chapter 50 – The Clubs
Chapter examines the impact of clubs, especially the Princeton Woman’s Club, which led an unsuccessful campaign to start a kindergarten that went to the state Supreme Court and a successful campaign to start the city library. We also look at the Women’s Progressive Club, home makers clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Camp Fire Girls.
Chapter 51 – And Then There Was One
Chapter looks at how Depression and scandal led to a merger of the two local banks. Also flashes back to 1924 when First National Bank closed and was reorganized as Farmers-Merchants National Bank.
Chapter 52 – The Great Depression
A look at life in Princeton during the Depression and how the alphabet soup of federal programs helped area residents.
Chapter 53 – Sewer & Water
The most significant development of the 1930s in Princeton was the long overdue installation of sewer and water system. It was considered the last step needed for Princeton to become a modern city.
Chapter 54 – The Thirties
Roundup chapter – Entertainment update. Sports highlights include first softball league and the city baseball team’s first pennant. Service stations and a new garage dominate new construction.
Chapter 55 – The Titans: George V. Kelley
Profile of Kelley and his impact on Princeton.
Chapter 56 – The Titans: Philip Lehner Sr.
Profile of Lehner and his impact on Princeton.
Chapter 57 – Clash of the Titans: Lehner v Kelley
This chapter discusses the Kelley-Lehner feud and ultimately a libel suit against the Princeton Republic.
Chapter 58 – The Fall of the Republic
The libel suit was the beginning of the end of Princeton’s first newspaper. It was a time of change throughout the community, the end of an era for Old Princeton, and the beginning of a new era and new world for Princeton and beyond.
- Time line of Old Princeton
- Map of downtown Water Street buildings
- Historic buildings table (construction date, original owner, 2020 occupant, notes)
- Vacant lots table (construction date, original owner, notes)
- Corrections (National Historic Registry, City of Princeton Historic Walking Tour, Princeton quasquicentennial booklet, “Come Back in Time, Volumes I and II.”
- Primary Sources