Lots o’ history – lot 4, Block C (610-624 WEst Water)

This photo, circa 1906, shows the north side of the 600 block of West Water Street. The businesses of that era included, from left, the Frank Moore repair shop, J.H. Manthey dry goods, A.A. Manthey poultry, eggs and feed, Luther Miller saloon, John Roberts barber shop, Martin Bednarek saloon, Fred Giese groceries and Gottfried Schaal hardware.

This post completes my review of the first 100 years of the buildings and businesses lining the north side of the “crooked end” of Water Street, more officially known as the 600 block, or Block C.

The most recent post examined the history of Lot 7. Today we look at Lot 4.

Just as he did with Lot 7, where he built three buildings over two decades, J. Wm. Worm had his hand in two of the buildings that went up on Lot 4.

Lot 4 was among the parcels in Princeton’s original plat sold by Henry Treat to John Knapp in 1849. Lot 4 passed from Knapp to Chauncey Boylan in 1854 and to J. Wm. and H.C. “Carl” Worm in 1871. From the Worms, Lot 4 passed in 1876 to John Witt.

Young building (610)

Gustav Witt sold a parcel 14 feet and eight inches wide beginning at the southeast corner of Lot 4 to E.W. Jung (Wm. Young) for $300 in February 1880 (Deeds, Volume 38, Page 463).

Princeton Republic, May 6, 1880 – “J.W. Worm has workmen laying the foundation for a new building to be erected just west of his merchant tailoring establishment. The lower room will be occupied by Otto Giese with his jewelry stock. A second story will be fitted up in good shape for a photo gallery for Wm. Young and also rooms for a family.”

(Note: The one-story building at 608 West Water Street was not built until 1896.)

The newspaper ran a correction the following week, noting that Young had purchased the lot and that Worm had supervised construction until Young arrived.

Princeton Republic, June 24, 1880 – “New photo gallery will open next Monday. Mrs. C. (Clara) Young is the artist, assisted by her husband, Wm. Young.”

Young tried to sell the property in 1885.

Princeton Republic, June 25, 1885 – “The lot and photograph gallery two doors west of Schaal’s hardware on Water Street for sale. Terms reasonable. Good location for a photographer. Enquire at the premises. Wm. Young, proprietor.”

Princeton Republic, April 16, 1891 – “Mrs. Young has gone out of the photographing business and the building is having a new front put in and other changes are being made. We understand that a saloon will be placed in the building. It seems as though a few more are needed in the village.”

The Youngs sold the property to Joseph Mlodzik for $2,000 in November 1892 (Deeds, Volume 50, Page 453).

Princeton Republic, March 23, 1893 – “The Wm. Young saloon property has passed into the hands of J. Molodzek, the latter a saloon keeper for the last year in Herman Warnke’s building, opposite G. Luedtke’s wagon shop. Young intends going to Plymouth.”

Princeton Republic, May 11, 1893 – “The saloonist, Young, appears to have departed.”

Mlodzik held the property until March 1907 when he sold to Edward Schrank for $2,800 (Deeds, Volume 67, Page 408). Schrank sold for $4,000 to Andrew Checki (Deeds, Volume 67, Page 556), who sold to A.B. Schuchardt for $3900 in March 1908 (Deeds, Volume 69, Page 185).

Princeton Republic, April 1, 1915 – “Village Policeman Ed. Schrank and the state manager of the Heinz Pickle Co. rounded up ten young boys, ranging in age from 12 to 16 years, who had broken into the Heinz Pickle factory and destroyed and carried away several articles and tools belonging to the company. The policeman took the young fellows before the district attorney, where after an explanation of what might come to them as a result of their acts they were, released on probation with the understanding that they pay the damage by the fruits of their own work this summer. … This gang spirit should be checked. Let’s all give the policeman backing in the strict enforcement of the curfew law and see that children are off the streets and in the homes during the evening. It is when boys get together in gangs in dark places in the evening that they hatch up schemes that lead them to do rash acts. It is doing things like these boys did that has started many a boy on the road to state prison.”

Schrank bought the property back from Schuchardt in June 1908 and sold it to Frank Yahr for $2,700 in April 1913 (Deeds, Volume 73, Page 301). Yahr sold to O.M. Maulick in February 1914 (Deeds, Volume 75, Page 389).

Princeton Republic, Feb. 26, 1914 – “O.M. Maulick purchased the saloon of F.J. Yahr, formerly owned by Edw. Shrank, consideration private. We are informed that Mr. Maulick intends to rent the place.”

Princeton Republic, March 5, 1914 – “A.R. Henderson, former manager of the Wisconsin Telephone Co. office of this city, has resigned his position and gone into the saloon business. He is located in the old stand being formerly owned by Edw. Schrank.”

The saloon went through a series of short-term owners over the next couple of years: from Maulick to Frank Brooks in May 1914, Brooks to Herman Warnke in July 1915, Warnke to Joseph Brooks in September 1915, and Joseph Brooks Sr. to Frank Brooks in April 1916.

Louis Miller paid $2,250 when he bought the lot from Frank Brooks in 1916 (Deeds, Volume 76, Page 341).

Princeton Republic, May 4, 1916 – “Last Monday Louis Miller took over the ownership of the saloon building formerly owned by Frank Brooks on lower Water Street. Mr. Miller will occupy the building on July 1st and continue in the saloon business.”

This photo, circa 1916, shows the Louis Miller saloon, at about 610 West Water Street, at left.
This photo from the Herman E. Megow collection shows the saloon at 610 West Water Street in the early 1900s, with Louis Miller behind the bar.

Miller passed in 1934, and his wife, Mary, sold the property in 1935 to Elsie Evenson.

Princeton Republic, March 7, 1935 – “P.H. Evenson and family have come to Princeton with the intentions of making this their permanent home. They will be located in the place formerly known as Louis Miller’s. They will engage in various enterprises. It will not be a retail store, but rather a sales distributing center for the various counties in central Wisconsin.”

Princeton Republic, Oct. 15, 1936 – “Theo. Dreblow is remodeling the Miller building east of the A.A. Manthey Produce store and will occupy the same in the near future.”

Princeton Times, Nov. 5, 1936 – “Dreblow decorating company is now located in the Miller building across the street from their former location.”

Evenson sold the property in February 1940 to Herman Schroeder, longtime dray line operator, for $750 (Deeds, Volume 103, Page 314).

Schroeder sold the property in April 1949 to Sylvester and Elizabeth Bartol, who operated a grocery store there for about five years. They sold in March 1954 to William Schwister.

Princeton Times-Republic, Jan. 3, 1952 – “Mr. and Mrs. Bill Schwister of Beaver Dam have purchased the Bartol Grocery from Herke Bartol. They took possession January 1. … Having been in the grocery business for 26 years, the Schwisters are experienced in giving the best possible service to customers. They have moved into the apartment above the Art Dreblow building.”

The Schwisters hung onto the property until selling to George H. Ostrander for $5,000 (Deeds, Volume 134, Page 175). Ostrander occupied the store for his television repair business for several years.

That’s as far as my research can take us for now. I do not know when the building was torn down. If you can fill in any of the gaps, please let me know.

Buschke building (614-616)

John Buschke built the frame building at 614-616 West Water Street in 1886. Martin Manthey & Sons moved in two years later. Ador Manthey remained in business there until his death in 1936.

The building at 614-616, today Big John’s Appliances store, was built in 1886.

Property documents describe this section of Lot 4 as commencing 14 feet, 8 inches west of the southeast corner of the lot, then running west 25 feet.

This part of Lot 4 passed from the Worms through John Witt, Gustav Witt, Herman Warnke and John Schwochert to Gottlieb Krueger, who paid $675 in January 1883 (Deeds, Volume 44, Page 332).

Krueger sold the property to John Buschke for $725 in May 1884 (Deeds, Volume 45, Page 76). Buschke had sold his feed store a few months earlier to Martin Manthey and planned to try the saloon business. He built the frame building at 614-616 West Water Street in 1886.

Princeton Republic, April 5, 1886 – “John Buschke has less than a score of carpenters at work erecting a new building a few doors west of Schaal’s hardware.”

Buschke, who married Martin Manthey’s daughter Sophia in 1883, died in December 1886. The property remained in Sophie’s hands for several years, and she kept rooms on the second floor for much of that time.

Princeton Republic, April 26, 1888 – “M. Manthey & Son will soon move into Mrs. Buschke’s building opposite where they are now.”

Princeton Republic, May 15, 1890 – “There has recently been a material change in the firm of Manthey & Sons. Martin Manthey, the father, has started a boot and shoe store in the front room of Warnke & Zauft’s store house, and Ador has taken charge of the buying and selling deal at the old grocery stand, while J.H. Manthey has opened a new dry goods establishment in Gard Green’s building recently vacated by Taback & Jacobson. May they all flourish.”

Ador A. Manthey’s poultry, egg and produce business at 614-616 West Water would last more than 40 years.

Ador A. Manthey operated his poultry, egg and feed business at 614-616 from about 1890 until his death in 1936.

Princeton Republic, Feb. 8. 1900 – “A.A. Manthey is still doing extensive business in his poultry line. He has shipped about 4,000 pounds of chickens and turkeys this week.”

Princeton Republic, Dec. 24, 1903 – “A.A. Manthey, the poultry dealer, has shipped about 75,000 pounds of poultry the past week, principally to points in northern Michigan. Much of the poultry is bot by Mr. Manthey from dealers in surrounding towns.”

Princeton Republic, April 13, 1911 – “Our live hustling produce dealer, A.A. Manthey, had a shipment of spring chicks to Milwaukee last Tuesday. This is hard to beat for being on right up-to-date. There are very few dealers in the state that can furnish spring chickens at this season of the year. Mr. Manthey is always hustling and alive to the good and new things that are going.”

Manthey, who had been in business since 1882, died in November 1936. He was found on the steps of the Princeton Republic office overcome by a heart ailment.

Princeton Republic, Nov. 19, 1936 – “In a deal consummated last Tuesday between Mrs. A. A. Manthey and Edmund Piasecke, the latter takes over the produce business of the late A. A. Manthey. Possession was immediately given. Edmund has been in the employ of Mr. Manthey for the past eight years.”

Princeton Republic, Feb. 18, 1937 – “A new sign adorns the front of the E. L. Piasecke store. The work was done by the Dreblow Decorating Co.”

Princeton Times-Republic, March 10, 1938 – “E.L. Piasecke has installed a new counter at his produce store which is a distinct innovation in convenience for displaying many bulk products in poultry feeds and so on. Small compartments in the front contain samples of each line and connect with bins each with a capacity for a hundred pounds or more and easily accessible from the rear of the counter. The counter was designed by Mr. Piasecke and built by Art Bierman.”

Clarence Oelke worked with Piasecke and when elected city clerk, Oelke set up his office in the Buschke building.

Piasecke left for the Army in January 1943 and made arrangements with Lichtenberg Bros. to take over his poultry, egg and feed business while he was gone. When he returned in 1944, Piasecke resumed his business, but at the former Lichtenberg store at 630 West Water Street, which he purchased in 1946.

The Buschke estate held the property at 614-616 until February 1955 when Millerd and Lillian Mosolf purchased it for $3,000 (Deeds, Volume 136, Page 531).

Princeton Times-Republic, Feb. 17, 1955 – “Millerd Mosolf, the new owner of the former Buschke building, which for many years housed the Manthey feed business and has been empty now for some time, has started remodeling the building into a store for his refrigeration and television business. He also will have with him his brother, Les, with his radio and TV repair shop in the remodeled building. The refrigeration repair shop will be in the rear of the building. New windows will be put in front and the bottom bricked up, plumbing will be added to the building and eventually the upstairs apartment will be modernized and rented.”

Princeton Republic, March 24, 1955 – “Millerd, Lillian and Les Mosolf will open their completely new refrigeration and TV store on Saturday. They have completely remodeled the Buschke building.”

The Mosolf store opened at 614-616 West Water Street in 1955.

Worm building (620)

The building at 620 West Water Street that in 2020 was home to Dover Street Gallery and Hannabarger Photo was built in 1878 by the indefatigable J. Wm. Worm.

Princeton Republic, May 16, 1878 – “J. William Worm is putting up a building that when completed will be occupied as a tailor shop. It is situated just east of Mrs. Crane’s dressmaking and millinery rooms (McIntyre’s Agency).”

Carl Worm sold the property, 21 feet, 10 inches wide, for $2,000 to Ludwig Becker in March 1878 (Deeds, Volume 40, Page 6).

Princeton Republic, May 10, 1888 – “Ludwig Becker, village treasurer, has turned his shoe shop into a saloon.”

Becker sold to August Luther for $2,200 in July 1894 (Deeds, Volume 52, Page 202).

This section of the 1892 illustrated map of Princeton shows the 600 block of West Water Street. The numbered items on the north side of the street are (13) Ludwig Becker’s saloon and (18) Frank Mueller’s drug store.

Princeton Republic, July 27, 1899 – “T.J. Paull is raising up Luther’s saloon and will move it back from the street.”

Luther sold to J.H. Manthey in 1907.

The building erected by J. Wm. Worm in 1878 stands in the left corner of this photo, circa 1908, taken on a Cattle Fair day. The J.H. Manthey building is just to the right of the Worm building.

Princeton Republic, Sept. 5, 1907 – “J.H. Manthey has been moving his general merchandise into the building recently purchased located at the lower end of Water street. He has a nicely arranged store.”

Princeton Republic, Sept. 5, 1907 – “We have moved our goods to our new location one door west of A.A. Manthey’s egg and poultry business. J.H. Manthey”

Manthey operated the dry goods store at 620 for more than 30 years, selling the property in August 1939 to Arthur Dreblow (Deeds, Volume 103, Page 238).

Rich building (624)

The first building in Lot 4 was built in 1873 by August Rich and torn down in 1998. It was home to the F.W. Ponto & Co. harness shop for several years in the 1890s.

The first building on Lot 4 was erected by August Rich (Reich), who paid H.C. Worm $250 for the west half of the lot in 1873 (Deeds, Volume 34, Page 272).

Princeton Republic, June 28, 1873 – “Mr. Rich has the frame of his new building up, and it will soon be enclosed.”

Princeton Republic, July 12, 1873 – “The new house of Mr. Rich, on Water Street, is fast approaching completion.”

Princeton Republic, Jan. 27, 1877 – “N. McIntyre & Son have opened up rooms in the Worm (Rich) block, next door east to Green & Carman’s lumber yard, where they show a fine assortment of sewing machines and organs.”

A few months later the McIntyres, who called their diverse business the McIntyre Agency, advertised receiving “200 buffalo robes direct from the Texas border, which we will dispose of at wholesale prices.”

Rich sold the west 21 feet of Lots 4 and 5 to August Ponto for $1,200 in October 1891 (Deeds, Volume 49, Page 517). Ponto sold to F. William Ponto for $1,100 in April 1893 (Deeds, Volume 50, Page 429).

Princeton Republic, April 27, 1893 – “The building that has been recently occupied by F.W. Ponto & Co. as a harness shop (formerly the Rich building) is being thoroughly overhauled and enlarged and otherwise improved. The Ponto boys are now occupying one of the Green buildings on the opposite side of the street until their building is completed when they will move back and have one of the finest harness shops in the country.”

Princeton Republic, Sept. 10, 1896 – “F. Wm. Ponto has moved his harness shop and stock across the street into his own building, where he has more commodious and better quarters.”

“Mr. Ponto is a native of the village; so is known to one and all. Here he grew to manhood and began his business career some years ago in which he has been well recognized by the public. He deals in the various goods which form the stock of a complete harness shop, and as a manufacturer of these goods there is none better anywhere. The business usually gives employment to three persons. Mr. Ponto is one of the best businessmen here and is a genial companionable gentleman who stands well with everyone.” (“Industrial Review of Princeton, Wisconsin,” published by A.I. Lord, December 1897)

Princeton Republic, Aug. 21, 1902 – “Wm. Ponto has sold his saloon building to Rudolph Prischke of town Marquette. Consideration $3,300.” (Deeds, Volume 60, Page 595)

Albert Dodge paid $4,000 when he purchased the property in June 1903 (Deeds, Volume 61, Page 265).

Princeton Republic, June 25, 1903 – “Adolph Priske’s saloon changed hands last week. He will take the farm of Albert Dodge in the town of Crystal Lake and Mr. Dodge the saloon here.”

Dodge was found dead in his room on Oct. 14, 1903. Dr. A.L. Travis examined the body and testified at an inquest with Edward Harroune, Esq., presiding, that death was due to rupture of a blood vessel of the brain, brought on by excessive use of liquor.

Mrs. Dodge offered the property for sale in 1910. Erich Mueller’s high bid of $950 got him the property at a foreclosure sale in April 1910 (Deeds, Volume 71, Page 143). Mueller sold for $3,700 to Henry Bruesch (Deeds, Volume 76, Page 179), who sold to F.C. Horn, who sold to Frank Wheeler.

The property was again sold at auction in July 1921, with Mueller again claiming the lot for $1,000 (Deeds, Volume 84, Page 46).

Princeton Republic, March 30, 1922 – “A bake sale will be given by the ladies of the St. John’s Lutheran congregation and the Frauen Verein on Wednesday, April 5, at the Erich Mueller building adjoining the A.J. Manthey store.”

The Rich building, left, built in 1873, housed Frank Moore’s “Gen. Repair Shop” from about 1925-1934, when it became a Gamble store. The store closed during World War II and later became the Henry Grams farm equipment store.

Frank Moore opened a repair shop in the building in February 1925. He offered to repair and upholster furniture, frame pictures, repair phonographs and more, including handling glass of all sizes and filing saws.

Princeton Republic, Nov. 22, 1934 – “Gamble Store is now open for business. Specials on car oil and alcohol, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 23 and 24. I will also continue my old line of business as before. F. H. Moore, Princeton.”

Princeton Times-Republic, Sept. 19, 1940 – “George Byington, of Wonewoc, has purchased the Gamble store operated here by Frank Moore for several years. Mr. Byington plans to remodel the entire store, enlarging the showroom to make space for a much larger stock.”

The business changed hands within about a year as C.J. Artman took over. He announced in the May 28, 1942, edition of the local newspaper that he was closing the Gamble store for the duration “due to war conditions and the difficulty of securing merchandise in our lines.” Artman accepted a defense job in Janesville.

Princeton Times Republic, May 28, 1942: “Just before he left, Mr. Artman learned that his father, Richard Artman, was engaged in the hardware business here about 30 years ago. He had sought to locate his father for over 30 years, making trips to various sections of the northwest and it was only through casual conversation that he learned that his father had been a resident of Princeton. The senior Artman came here with Charles Marquardt from Lakefield, Minnesota, and bought a hardware store located in the building now occupied by Hoffman’s tavern . They later bought the Yahr stock and moved into the store now occupied by Mel Gerlach. The business was finally sold to G.J. Knaack. Mr. Artman had pictures of his father that Mr. Marquardt easily identified. The senior Artman moved to Appleton, where he died about four years ago.”

Mueller sold the building to Henry Grams in July 1944 (Deeds, Volume 108, Page 547). Grams used the building primarily for his farm implement and supplies sales.

Princeton Times-Republic, Aug. 29, 1946 – “Tony May and Ken Fandrich are making preparations to open their radio shop in the Grams Farm Implement building on the west end of Water Street. They are both World War veterans and have recently completed schooling in radio work. Surely these young men deserve a full measure of success.”

That is far as my newspaper research extends, but property records tell us Grams sold the west 21 feet of Lots 4 and 5 and east 31.5 feet of Lots 2 and 3 to Henrietta Clark, his daughter, for $5,000 in January 1964 (Deeds, Volume 108, Page 547).

The building was torn down in 1998, according to comments on local Facebook pages, and replaced with what is today the Tabitha Pierce American Family Insurance building.

Only two of the four original buildings remain on Lot 4 of Block C in 2021: the Worm building built in 1878, left, at 620 and the Buschke building built in 1886 at 614-616 West Water.

Leave a Reply