Only one original building remains on Lot 4 of Block E – the building at 432 West Water Street, today Candi’s Corner and known to my generation as the old library, built in 1880 by Josiah Whittemore.
Lots 1 and 4 of Block E were part of a package of land parcels that went from Henry Treat, who purchased the land in Princeton’s original plat from the federal government in 1849, to Gaines and Louis Lamont, Chapin Hall, Davis Waite and A.G. Hopkins – all in Princeton’s first two years.
According to the deed, Lot 4 already included a one-story office building that was not included in the early land sales. I believe, but am less than certain, that the building became the office of Judge A.H. Myers.
Property lines no longer follow the lot lines of the original plat, so I have taken the liberty of including the Radway building, which straddled portions of two lots – west 25 feet of Lot 4 and east 20 feet of Lot 1, in this report on Lot 4 rather than the previous post on Lot 1.
Radway building (438)
According to the property records at the county register of deeds office, Jepe Radway purchased the west 25 feet of Lot 4 and east 20 feet of Lot 1 for $250 in January 1869 (Deeds, Volume 31, Page 256) from Charles Loomis.
Princeton Republic, Feb. 8, 1869 – “J.B. Radway, our accomplished artist, has bought the lot east of the Jarvis House of Charley Loomis, upon which he will erect a picture gallery the coming summer.”
Princeton Republic, Sept. 11, 1869 – “Radway, the artist, will soon have up a new photograph gallery and paint shop east of the Jarvis House.”
The property where Radway erected the one-story building with skylight for his photography business, which he had purchased from M.S. Holly in 1868, is today mostly a parking lot.
Radway had done painting for August Thiel at his wagon shop and, according to the Republic, was “one of the finest landscape painters in the state.”
The post office moved to Radway’s building in September 1873. The artist sold to Lucy Radway for $300 in April 1876 (Deeds, Volume 37, Page 28).
Princeton Republic, August 8, 1878 – “The post office was removed last Monday to the west room of Jackson’s block (505 West Water). The removal was occasioned by the want of light in Mrs. Radway’s building, which was caused by Mrs. Jones’ restaurant being placed so near the Radway building.”
Radway sold to J.C. Thompson for $600 in January 1882 (Deeds, Volume 41, Page 421).
Thompson had succeeded founder Thomas McConnell as editor of the Princeton Republic in 1870, when he became co-publisher with E. Reeve. Reeve sold his interest in the paper a few months later to John and A.E. Thompson. John also became postmaster, with the post office and newspaper operating out of the building at 438 West Water.
Princeton Republic, March 22, 1883 – “J.C. Thompson, Esq., so many years proprietor of the Republic, has purchased The Ripon Commonwealth. Mr. Thompson taking possession of that paper last Saturday. The change of proprietorship was very flatteringly received by the people of Ripon and vicinity. The reputation of Mr. Thompson as a newspaper man is excellent, and we have no doubt success will crown his latest venture in the newspaper field. The Republic wishes him unmeasured prosperity in the future.”
Thompson sold the property at 438 in June 1885 to Wm. J. Frank for $900 (Deeds, Volume 45, Page 447).
Princeton Republic, June 18, 1885 – “The lightning has struck in Princeton, and Mr. C.P. Rawson steps down and out of the post office and W.J. Frank steps in. The authorities in Washington have so ordained. The postmaster bows submissively to the fiat and marches out with colors flying.”
Princeton Republic, July 23, 1885 – “W.J. Frank, since becoming postmaster, has purchased the property where the post office has been kept, of J.C. Thompson, and will not only let the post office remain where it is but will improve the property and put it in better shape.”
Frank took out the partition that was between the post office and the room occupied by the Republic, “and the result is the room in the post office is enlarged to nearly twice its former dimensions,” the newspaper said.
Princeton Republic, August 20, 1885 – “Postmaster Frank is fixing up a room under the skylight in the rear of the post office for the use of photograph artists.”
Princeton Republic, Aug. 2, 1894 – “(M.V.) Fadner, of Berlin, will open a new photograph gallery in the rear of the post office in Princeton, to be ready by the first day of August.”
Frank Tucker replaced E.T. Frank as postmaster in 1897. The post office moved to the southeast corner of Water and Washington streets about 1902 and then to the American House in 1917.
O.M. Maulick and Emil Klawitter built a brick building north of 438 for a bowling alley in 1902.
Princeton Republic, June 12, 1902 – “The village trustees will have the first game on the new bowling alley. Maulick & Klawitter’s new alley is almost completed. It is one of the best alleys in the state outside of Milwaukee.”
The bowling alley lasted only a few years, and the brick building was used for storage for a time and torn down by 1927.
William J. Frank passed in 1897. I am uncertain when the former Radway and post office building went from the Frank estate to Elmer Morse, but we know he sold the property to Otto Maulick for $2,200 in 1904 (Deeds, Volume 61, Page 564).
Princeton Republic, March 24, 1904 – “The old post office property was purchased from E.D. Morse by Otto Maulick and J.E. Hennig last Saturday. The old building will be fitted up for the millinery establishment of Mrs. J.E. Hennig.”
Princeton Republic, April 21, 1904 – “J.E. Hennig has commenced remodeling the old post office building, which will be used by Mrs. Hennig as a millinery store. A fine front will be put into the building, which will greatly improve this property and the appearance of our business street.”
Princeton Republic, April 28, 1904 – “Mrs. J.E. Hennig has moved her millinery establishment from the building owned by Mrs. J. Wm Worm into the old post office building recently purchased by Messrs. Hennig and Maulick. The building has been remodeled and now has three large plate glass show windows. It is one of the most elite and complete millinery establishments in this part of the state.”
Augusta Hennig, who was engaged in the millinery business here for over 50 years before retiring in 1925, reminisced about the “old days” for the Princeton Times-Republic in February 1940 at age 83: “In her time those semi-annual trips to Milwaukee to make up pattern hats were big events. Sewn braid over wire frames for summer wear, velvet covered buckram for winter – those were the methods used to get the really stylish effect for milady. Mrs. Hennig recalls that more than one Saturday night she sat up until one or two trimming a hat so that some style setter could astonish her friends at church the next morning.”
Otto Maulick’s heirs sold their share of the property to the Hennigs in November 1927 (Deeds, Volume 81, Page 565). The Hennigs sold the property to Emma Kolleck Sommerfeldt for $1,200 (Deeds, Volume 89, Page 63) in 1927.
Princeton Republic, Dec. 1, 1927 – “A business deal was recently consummated between Mr. J.E. Hennig and Mrs. Gustaf Sommerfeldt whereby the latter took over the ownership of the former’s building occupied for the past number of years as a millinery establishment. Mrs. Sommerfeldt purchased the building for her son, Edward (Tiff) Kolleck, who will in the near future take possession and open a barber shop.”
Princeton Times-Republic, May 28, 1942 – “Ed Manthey, the shoe repair man, has rented the Kolleck barber shop building. Tiff expects to have a defense job.”
Emma Kolleck Sommerfeldt sold the property to Harry and William Hobart, doing business as Hobart & Son, publishers of the Princeton Times-Republic, in May 1944 (Deeds, Volume 108, Page 497).
Princeton, Republic, Aug. 29, 1946 – “The Handcraft building and Dudley’s Beauty Shop are receiving a new dress of paint, the result of which the building occupied by Manthey’s shoe shop stands out ‘like a sore thumb.’ This building is owned by Hobart & Son, and we are in hopes to be able to replace it next year with a modern home for the Times-Republic.”
Manthey and the Princeton Shoe Shop occupied the old building until 1948 when Hobart tore down the building erected by Radway in 1869.
Princeton Times-Republic, May 20, 1948 – “One of Princeton’s old landmarks, the building recently occupied by the Manthey shoe shop, is being razed. Just how old the building is no one seems to know, but it is a pretty sure bet that it is older than most of us here in Princeton. As the work tearing it down progresses, it is easy to see how the building went through a process of evolution in its construction. First built with walls of two-inch pine planks which were decorated with wallpaper, it was later lathed and plastered, finally the walls were covered with matching boards. At one time and another it has housed many different lines of business. Back in 1893 it was occupied by the post office and Ed Beebe used the back room for a print shop – one of the former homes of the old Republic. Back in those days E.T. Frank was the postmaster and Dr. A.G. Giese was his assistant. Later it housed Fadner’s photo studio and some 25 years ago it was a millinery store, first conducted by Mrs. Jule Hennig and later by her daughter, Mrs. Louis Schewe. Maulick’s bowling alleys were attached to the rear of the building for a number of years. … Doubtless there were other enterprises that occupied the hold building which is now giving way to what we hope will be a new home for the Times-Republic if conditions permit.”
Conditions never were right for the Hobarts, who sold the paper (to Philip Norman) and property at 438 West Water (to Luke Buchen, Deeds, Volume 123, Page 341) and moved to California in 1950.
The Buchens sold it to the Handcraft Company in the 1960s.
Jones building (436)
The Radway photo gallery built in 1869 got a new neighbor in 1878 when Malila Jones moved her two-story restaurant building from the middle of the 500 block to about 436 West Water Street. The building would remain a blend of restaurant, ice cream parlor and grocery store for more than 60 years.
Princeton Republic, July 25, 1878 – “Mrs. Jones’ restaurant now stands on its own foundation, in other words on the lot she lately purchased east of, and adjoining, Mrs. M.J. Radway’s. It there fills a want long felt.”
Princeton Republic, August 8, 1878 – “The post office was removed last Monday to the west room of Jackson’s block. The removal was occasioned by the want of light in Mrs. Radway’s building, which was caused by Mrs. Jones’ restaurant being placed so near the Radway building.”
The Jones frame building, replaced in 1973, twice escaped large downtown fires. The fire of 1880, which destroyed 11 buildings on the south side of Water and Short streets, scalded the paint on the front of Mrs. Jones’ building, and good fortune and new firefighting equipment helped save the building when the American House, 444 West Water, burned in 1885.
Mrs. Jones parted, temporarily, for Marquette in 1881.
Princeton Republic, Nov. 10, 1881 – “Norm Lowe has bought Mrs. Jones’ property, stock of groceries, good will, etc.”
Princeton Republic, May 3, 1883 – “Chris Piper has purchased the building and stock of groceries of Norm. Lowe. Just what Norm proposes to do, we know not, but hope he will not leave Princeton. Chris will carry a big stock of mirth-provoking stories and groceries.”
Until he purchased the building at 436 West Water, Piper, who lost most of his belongings when a house and barn he rented burned in the fire of 1880, was known mostly for his work as street commissioner and district pathfinder (area road development):
Princeton Republic, June 20, 1867 – “Water Street has been graded from the corner of the square to the river, in a superb style, while the city fathers authorized the construction of gutters on both sides, making it as fine a street as there is in the county. Princeton is looking up. The time is not far distant when we shall be in a position to attract the energy and capital of men from abroad. Chris Piper is ‘chief cook and bottle washer’ in repairing the streets. He makes a tip top street commissioner.”
Princeton Republic, June 12, 1875 – “Chris Piper has been making a very fine piece of road east of Princeton toward Dartford. There has always been a sturdy piece of road and it’s now clayed over the worst of it.”
Princeton Republic, June 9, 1877 – “Street commissioner Piper has built the best walk along the west side of Short Street that has ever been put down in the town. It is of inch and a half plank, eight inches wide, laid lengthwise. The bearers are only about two feet apart, and the walk is as smooth as an ordinary floor. The object, as we understand, is to test the laying planks lengthwise to the street, to see if they will keep their place better than the short plank laid crosswise of the walk.”
Princeton Republic, May 19, 1881 – “Piper complains that the youngsters, both male and female, appear to take pleasure in tearing up and mutilating the foot bridge west of the large bridge across the river. … If they must go there and play their pranks, it is hoped they will leave enough bridge in their enthusiastic desire to do something so that sober people can at least tell where the old bridge was located.”
Piper purchased the vacant lot (Lot 6) back of his restaurant and the Republic office in May 1883 from the Hopkins estate and moved a barn there. He installed a new awning on the grocery/restaurant in May, and the newspaper in September noted that Piper had put in several hundred dollars’ worth of improvements since buying the Lowe property.
Princeton Republic, Aug. 3, 1893 – “Piper has had his buildings reshingled and repainted and will have nothing to interfere with his spinning yarns and enjoying his cozy shade.”
Meanwhile, Piper’s health began to wane, and the Republic took notice, reporting in June 1891 that he had lost the use of one arm, “perhaps from paralysis,” and in February 1896 that he suffered “neuralgic pains in the head.” He committed suicide in June 1896.
Princeton Republic, July 2, 1896 – “Last Sunday evening, a little while before the shades of light began to fail, the residents of this place were electrified by the startling news, which spread like wildfire, that Mr. C. Piper, one of the old settlers of the town and a man known and loved by everybody, had shot himself. … Mr. Piper has been around as usual during the day and nothing strange was noticed in his conduct, only that he looked tired and complained of a severe pain to a few who were sitting with him in front of his store … He had been in poor health for the past year and had feared a stroke of paralysis which he thought might leave him helpless and a burden on others. … Everyone who had lived here during that time, knew and appreciated his never-failing good humor and kind-heartedness.”
Dora Piper, whose specialty was fresh candy, kept the business going for several more years, remodeled the store in spring 1904 and then sold to T.J. and Katie Paull in May 1907 for $2,800 (Deeds, Volume 67, Page 502).
Princeton Republic, June 10, 1909 – “Burglars entered Paull’s grocery Saturday night. There were not seeking silver or gold but instead some of Mrs. Polfus’ good baking.”
An ad for Paull’s delicatessen in March 1913 offered this glimpse of the eclectic store’s offerings: the best cigars and tobacco, groceries, McLaughlin’s coffees, full line of Heinz goods, including plenty of the sweet and dill pickles, Mansfield ice cream sold in bulk or brick, oysters, elegant Munses and Merrill candy, and lunches and meals “at all hours.”
Paull billed his business as “The Store of Good Eats” in February 1915 and gave away five gallons of free ice cream in April.
The Paulls sold the property to Andrew Schultz for $3,000 in April 1916 (Deeds. Volume 76, Page 335).
Princeton Republic, April 13, 1916 – “A deal was completed between T.J. Paull and Andrew Schultz whereby the former took over the ownership of the latter’s residence on Farmer Street while the latter assumed the ownership of Mr. Paull’s store on Water Street opposite Turner Hall. … Mr. Schultz’s son Arthur will run a candy store and soda water fountain.”
Princeton Republic, May 25, 1916 – “Next Saturday the Princeton Ice Cream Parlor will be opened to the trade. The building known as the T.J. Paull building, which Mr. Schultz recently became the proprietor of, has been remodeled and placed in up-to-date condition and presents a neat and clean appearance. A carnation will be given to each customer.”
Mrs. Carl Dumdey purchased the grocery and ice cream parlor in the building from Victor F. Yahr in May 1917. Clarence Schrank opened a grocery store in the Schultz stand formerly occupied by Mrs. Dumdey in December 1918.
Princeton Republic, Dec. 9, 1920 – “Mrs. Lee J. Whittemore, of late a resident of Fond du Lac, will return and conduct a restaurant in the A. Schultz building, two doors east of the post office. The rooms are being placed in condition and in a few days will be opened to the public.”
Lee Whittemore operated a jewelry store in the space in November 1921. Whittemore was known for smoking a beautifully colored meerschaum pipe that was over 75 years old. It was made in Germany and brought to the U.S. in the 1800s, the newspaper said.
Princeton Republic, Sept. 28, 1922 – “Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Schewe and family returned here last Saturday to again make this city their future home. They have taken up quarters in the A. Schultz building recently vacated by Mrs. Clara Whittemore. Mrs. Schewe will conduct a restaurant and ice cream parlor.”
The Schewes were gone by March 1926 when Schultz, who indicated as early as 1920 that he wanted to sell his property and retire, advertised his building was available and ideal for a restaurant, bakery or some other nature of business and included a dwelling on the second floor.
Princeton Republic, July 22, 1926 – “Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Cooper, of Chicago, relatives of Mr. and Mrs. Norbert Klawitter, came here last week and have decided to make this city their future home. They have gained possession of the Andrew Schultz building, opposite the Opera House, and will conduct a restaurant and ice cream parlor. … The Radio Inn restaurant and ice cream parlor, opposite the Opera House, will have their opening on Wednesday of next week.”
The Coopers pulled the plug on the Radio Inn in September 1927.
Princeton Republic, Oct. 13, 1927. – “Mr. and Mrs. Charles Marquardt and family have recently occupied the Andrew Schultz building vacated by Mrs. Wm. Cooper. Mrs. Marquardt contemplates conducting a restaurant and the sale of home bakery in the very near future.”
Princeton Republic, Nov. 17, 1927 – “The Marquardt restaurant is now ready and fully equipped to serve you. Home bakery will be on sale every day special orders for bakery will be taken care of, and meals will be served. The name of the restaurant has been changed from Radio Inn to Lunchette.”
The Marquardts’ restaurant advertised large homemade pies for 40 cents each, fruit cake and Christmas cookies in December 1929. In 1930 an ad proclaimed, “Crème loaf bread is like home made. Try a loaf. You’ll like it. Marquardt Restaurant.”
The restaurant’s ad in the May 11, 1933, edition of the Republic noted, “Beginning next Sunday, Mother’s Day, we will serve chicken dinner every Sunday. Price 40 cents. Marquardt’s Buffet.”
The Marquardts hosted the Princeton High School prom dinner in May 1933. The menu included a chicken pie plate for 25 cents, Virginia baked ham sandwich for 15 cents and cheese on rye sandwich for 10 cents. The prom was held at the auditorium (Community Hall), where the grand march was led by prom chairman Lloyd Marquardt and Eleanor Kidman.
Princeton Republic, Nov. 16, 1933 – “Mr. and Mrs. Charles Marquardt, in the restaurant business for the past number of years, have discontinued and have taken up their home in the Herman Westfield residence, Water Street. Rumor has it that Mr. and Mrs. Frank Jeske will take over the restaurant.”
Princeton Republic, Nov. 23, 1933 – “The opening of a new restaurant in this city, scheduled for last Friday evening, was indefinitely delayed at 1 o’clock that afternoon when a gasoline stove exploded, blew out the front of the building and broke all windows on the ground floor. There persons were badly burned: Frank Jeske, burns to both hands and arms above the wrists, severe burn to the right leg; Mrs. Jeske, burns on both legs to the knees, burns on both arms to the elbows; Mrs. Mary Sharapata, burns to one leg. The parties were treated by physicians of the city. After several days of preparation, Mr. and Mrs. Jeske were ready for the opening of their new restaurant, located in the Andrew Schultz building on Water Street and recently vacated by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Marquardt. Mr. Jeske was assisting that afternoon in the finishing touches. He was engaged in cleaning the gasoline stove in the kitchen located in the extreme corner of the building. Ten feet away stood an oil heater. His wife and Mrs. Sharapata were in the room with him. As Mr. Jeske drained the stove’s tank of gasoline, the flames in the heater ignited the fume-filled kitchen. The explosion was heard for blocks. Under the circumstances, it was held that the trio escaped luckily. The two women will recover speedily, but it will require time for Mr. Jeske to have his hands and arms restored to normal. Considerable damage was done to the kitchen by smoke and fire. The local fire department was called, and the fire was extinguished with chemicals.”
Princeton Republic, Jan. 4, 1934 – “Mr. and Mrs. Frank Jeske have recently opened their restaurant in the Andrew Schultz building.”
Thieves gained entrance to the restaurant in July 1936. They carried a slot machine to the front sidewalk before Mrs. Jeske, awakened by a noise, began to shout for help. The thieves dropped the machine into their car and fled.
Princeton Republic, Nov. 5, 1936 – “Mr. and Mrs. Frank Jeske, who conducted a restaurant in the Andrew Schultz building for the past three years, moved into the home of his mother (Mrs. Joe Jeske) recently vacated by Mr. and Mrs. Harry Warnke. Mrs. Paul Ladwig will conduct the restaurant.”
Princeton Republic, Oct. 19, 1939 – “Mrs. Mary Hoffman, formerly of Harrisville, announces the opening of a new restaurant, the City Restaurant, in the Schultz building formerly occupied by Mrs. Paul Ladwig.”
The City Restaurant operated into the 1940s and was followed by the George Ladwig paint and wallpaper store.
Princeton Times-Republic, July 30, 1953 – “E. T. or as he prefers to be known, ‘Gene,’ Hartough is rapidly finishing up his arrangements for a photo studio in the former George Ladwig paint store. From what Gene tells us he will offer a line of amateur camera supplies for the dyed in the wool camera fan along with his portrait work. We are certain he will make a fine addition to our group of Princeton business men and we know he will be a boon to us at the Times-Republic because in the past we have had no facilities for speedy developing and printing of news pictures. Now we can get even faster results with our news camera.”
Gene Hartough retired in 1959.
Princeton Times-Republic, May 21, 1959 – “I am retiring from the photographic business and wish to sell the entire equipment and furniture in one lot. – Gene Hartough”
Hartough was followed by the Ladwig paint and wallpaper store. The building fell into disrepair before being purchased by attorney L.V. Kaminski in 1966.
Princeton Times-Republic, July 21, 1966: “Attorney L.V. Kaminski has purchased the Mary Ladwig building and lot located on Water Street downtown, next to the Public Library. Kaminski stated that his plans were to have it torn down as soon as possible and then eventually build a new law office there.”
Princeton Times-Republic, May 11, 1967 – “Recently Mr. Kaminski replaced broken windows and boarded up the doors and windows in his building (the former Ladwig building) to reduce the fire hazard. The next day, the doors were standing open again, and now windows are broken, too. We all know the building is a eye sore and should be torn down, but this isn’t helping a bit, really, kids!”
Princeton Times-Republic, Nov. 2, 1967 – “One of Princeton’s business landmarks, known of late as the Ladwig paint and wallpaper store, and dwelling are being razed. By Sunday afternoon the second story was down. Rains in the evening and Monday halted the work being done by Roger Kanneman and his brothers. Many older citizens still remember Miss Dora Piper’s candy store, and also as a delicatessen or ice-cream parlor by several other owners.“
Kaminski built the unqiue building with the lava stone front at 436 in 1972-73 and occupied it as a law office. He passed in 1998.
Princeton Times-Republic, Aug. 3, 1972 – “Ambrose Wick has begun excavation for the basement foundation of Atty. Kaminski’s new office to be built between the Princeton Public Library and the Hiestand Apartments building parking lot on Water Street.”
Princeton Times-Republic, Jan. 18, 1973 – “Progress is being made on Atty. L.V. Kaminski’s new law office constructed adjacent to the west wall of the Princeton Public Library on Water Street. No similarity in the design of this new building and the frame 2-story building located there in past years.”
I will update as my research extends beyond the 1970s.
According to the Water Street Chronicle, the building housed Johnny Crow Antiques in 2004.
In 2008 it housed Personal Best Spa & Fitness, according to the City of Princeton Historical Walking Tour.
It is home to Massage by Erin in 2021.
Whittemore building (432)
Josiah Whittemore added another building, today home to Candi’s Corner and known to my generation as the old library, 432 West Water Street, to Lot 4 in 1880. It is the only original building remaining on the 600 block.
Princeton Republic, August 5, 1880 – “Josiah Whittemore has commenced the foundation for a small building on the lot next west of A.H. Myers’ office. A new jewelry shop, we understand, for his son William.”
Princeton Republic, Oct 14, 1880 – “William M. Whittemore is ready to repair watches, clocks, jewelry, etc. Fine line of new jewelry for sale. New building opposite Turner Hall.”
Solon Dudley operated a photo gallery in the building after Whittemore moved his store elsewhere. He was replaced in March 1886 by Malila Jones, who had moved to Marquette after selling her building at 436 West Water in 1881 and returned to Princeton in 1886 with a stock of groceries in the Whittemore building.
Jones moved again a few months later and was replaced by N. McIntyre with a stock of organs and pianos. Dr. Holly had an office in the building in 1887. The next tenant was Dr. E.D. Williams in December 1887. Peter Preis and family occupied the building in 1890.
The Whittemores (Washington and Emily) sold the east half of the east 57.5 feet of the lot to attorney Frank E. Clark in January 1891 for $800 (Deeds, Volume 49, Page 193).
Princeton Republic, Feb. 12, 1891 – “Attorney Frank Clark, having purchased the Whittemore property just east of C. Piper’s, will occupy the part of it as a law office in a short time. … . F.E. Clark is fixing over and painting and papering his rooms just east of Piper’s restaurant that will soon serve as dwelling in addition to the part now occupied as his law office.”
Princeton Republic, April 23, 1891 – “Attorney Frank Clark has moved his law office from Harmon’s block into his own building first door east of Piper’s restaurant.”
Clark, who worked his way through college and was part owner of the Princeton Star for a time, moved into the pleasant rooms of the First National Bank building at 501 West Water in 1901.
John Wesley Shew, meanwhile, moved his grocery from 539 West Water to 432 West Water. According to a profile published in the Princeton Times-Republic in August 1935, Shew was 7 years old when he arrived in Princeton from Ohio with his family in 1864. Their household goods were shipped by rail to Berlin and hauled here by team.
Shew, who helped plaster the walls of the new brick school on the triangle in 1894, was in the grocery business by 1898 when he moved from Garland Green’s building in the 600 block into Herman Megow’s building in the 500 block. He moved again three years later.
Princeton Republic, April 4, 1901 – “J.W. Shew has purchased the building occupied by Mr. and Mrs. F.E. Clark as a residence and will move his grocery store in next Monday, the purchasing price being $1,500.”
Princeton Republic, June 16, 1904 – “John Shew, the grocer, is building an addition to his store. He will put in a new glass front.”
Princeton Republic, November 9, 1905 – “J.W. Shew captured a live tarantula on a bunch of bananas and since its capture the tarantula has hatched out young ones. He has the curiosities on exhibition at his grocery store.”
Princeton Republic, Sept. 26, 1929 – “Mrs. Paul Hunt is employed at the grocery store of John Shew Sr.”
I believe, though am less than certain, that the Shew grocery store closed in the 1930s and that family members operated a millinery there for a time.
In 1935, according to the local newspaper, Shew – who recalled when ox teams outnumbered horses in Princeton – enjoyed driving his own car on the less-than-three-hour trips to Milwaukee to visit his daughters.
“He spends much of his time at his summer home on Lake Puckaway,” the Times-Republic said. “He enjoys listening to his radio and sitting on the porch in front of his store on warm days.”
Shew died in December 1942 at age 85. “John Shew was the last of the old-timers whose memory could span Princeton’s growth almost from the beginning,” the newspaper noted in his obituary.
Shaw’s wife, Evaline, passed in March 1943, with the estate going to two daughters, Mrs. Joseph (Jennie) Beaver and Mrs. James (Jessie) Mulhern (Mulheren).
Princeton Times-Republic, April 22, 1943 – “Mr. and Mrs. James Mulhern of Milwaukee closed the deal Tuesday for the purchase of the Shew grocery store building and stock from the Shew estate. They took immediate possession. Mr. and Mrs. Mulhern are coming back to their old hometown and have many friends here who will be pleased that they have decided to again locate in Princeton. … They operated the old Riverside Hotel, known recently as the Dizzy, for five years and later operated the American House for seven years. Mr. Mulhern was chief of police here for eight years. They plan to completely remodel the store, add new lines and to serve the public with the very best in provisions.”
The building, then owned by Emma Stern, became the Princeton Public Library in 1947 after the library outgrew the second-floor of the flatiron building across the street at 427 West Water/201 Short Street.
The library moved in March, and the Princeton Common Council voted on May 6, 1947, to give the library board an additional $100 to “defray expenses created by moving the library to its new location.”
This concludes my research into the first 100 years of 432 Water Street (1848-1948). I will provide updates as my research progresses.
After Emma Stern passed in 1952 the property passed to her nephew, Princeton jeweler Hugo Stern, and his wife, Adeline.
Princeton Times-Republic, July 1959 – “Because of the crowded conditions at the Princeton Library, which now has over 5,000 books, a large room at the rear of the library has been rented from Mr. Hugo Stern for additional space. Shelves have been constructed and a reading table and chairs have been added.”
Dorothea Huenerberg, in her “What I See, Hear, Read” column, reported a new library sign went up in 1963.
Princeton Times-Republic, July 4, 1963 – “SEE an improvement to the Princeton Public Library building, a new nameplate, PUBLIC LIBRARY, across the front. The green painted letters on the white background caught my eye Saturday afternoon. HEAR that Legionnaire John Hotmar built the sign after the suggestion to have such a sign made by the Legion Auxiliary. Jim Siddall erected the very appropriate name-sign Saturday.”
Hugo Stern passed in 1962. Adeline Stern donated the library building and property at 432 West Water Street to the city in 1965.
Princeton Times-Republic, Sept. 16, 1965 – “The City of Princeton is the recipient of a piece of property on West Water Street, a gift from Mrs. Adeline Stern to the city. The property includes the east half of the 57.5 feet in Lot 4, Block E of the original plat of the City of Princeton, and the building located on the lot. This gift of property from Mrs. Stern is given as a memorial, in memory of her husband, Hugo H. Stern, a jeweler, and late of the City of Princeton, and herself. Senior citizens will remember the building as being a grocery store and residence (rear) of the late Mr. and Mrs. John Shew Sr. The transaction took place Monday, September 13, 1965. The Princeton Public Library, organized in 1933, has occupied the Stern building since March 1948 (1947) when it was owned by Miss Emma Stern, aunt of Hugo H. Stern. Only the front portion, which included a main room and a children’s room, was used. Six years ago, in July 1959, another room arranged for non-fiction and reference, and a washroom, were rented from Mr. and Mrs. Hugo Stern.”
Interior improvements followed: new ceiling, wood paneling and new lighting fixtures.
I will provide more details as my research progresses into the 1980s, when the library moves into a new building one door east and new occupants arrive at 432 West Water street.
Thanks for reading and caring about local history.