Water Lot 28, today home to the Pastimes and Teak & Soxy shops, is home to historic downtown Princeton’s oldest building, its first brick building and one of its narrowest buildings.
This was one of the more challenging lots to survey while recording the first 100 years of historic Water Street, primarily because the Hennig name is associated with each of the properties at one time or another and the lot descriptions changed over time as new buildings were erected. I found it much more confusing than previous properties, but below is the path I followed, from the oldest building (513) to the newest (521). Please let me know if you think I took a wrong turn somewhere!
The trail of property transactions begins with Henry Treat, who purchased the land in Princeton’s original plat from the U.S. government in 1849, selling in January 1850 to Benjamin and August Bradbury (Deeds, Volume C, Page 21), who sold to Salem Wright in September 1854 for $50 (Deeds, Volume H, Page 499).
Wright, who had operated a general store, on the north side of Water Street, decided in 1859 to erect a two-story building on Water Lot 28, now home to Pastimes, 513 West Water Street.
513-519 West Water
The oldest building in Princeton’s downtown today houses the Pastimes antiques shop. The brick block – sometimes termed a “double building” – at 513-519 West Water Street was built by Salem Wright in 1859-1860.
The “Bird’s-Eye View of the History of Early Princeton,” first published in 1869 by the Princeton Republic, describes Wright’s building as “the thirteenth building in the direct line of trade in the expanding village. … This was the first substantial building put up in Princeton, being three stories high.”
It was also Princeton’s first brick building, with some of the brick burned in a kiln at the junction of the Fox River and the creek about a mile south of downtown. The stone came from a quarry owned in 1869 by F. Bandt about two miles southeast of town.
The building was built in two phases, with the east room completed in 1859 and the west room put up in 1860. The Wright building was commonly known as the “Brick Block” or “Brick Hall.”
The west room of the building was altered so significantly by remodeling over the years, however, that when properties were surveyed for the National Historic Registry in 1987, 515-519 was deemed a “non-contributing” property while 513 was included.
Wright sold a variety of goods from the store before trading his property to John Demell for land near Peoria, Illinois, in 1860, according to the Princeton Republic. Records at the county register of deeds office indicate Wright sold the lot and property in Shields Township to Demell for $8,000 in September 1860 (Deeds, Volume S, Page 269).
Green Lake Spectator, Feb. 24, 1863 – “That Bell Party at Princeton has passed off as predicted, irrespective of politics or creeds. It amassed itself together in perfect harmony, at the Brick Hall, and the objects were all carried out to wit: First the good time, and what it consisted of; but perhaps we are not as well qualified to give a perfect description of the proceedings as some of our friends or visitors, who had more opportunities of witnessing the various performances than ourselves; we, being obliged to sit in the corner, not to suck our c’aws, but to keep them performing the delicate task entrusted to me, of giving a pass to all who came, greeting us with a smile and from one to five dollars. But we will mention some of the main features of the programme. Donation on the east side of the Brick Hall, and supper on the West side, presided over by some of the most amiable and prettiest married ladies in the county, where all were served in the best manner with tea, coffee, pies, cakes, boiled hams, fowls of all kinds, except goose. And why not goose? Because the Courant was expected to be represented. The thing leaked out and nary a goose could be bought, found or stolen at any price, and those interested in the safe keeping of that species of fowl were not seen during the evening or the next day – that is until after a certain visitor had left town – and the geese were not seen or heard of until the day after that. But notwithstanding the goose deficiency, the party passed off in fine style, and to the general joy and satisfaction of all engaged. The dancing part of the programme opened with seventy numbers. Music – German Brass Band and the Princeton Band (one in all). The room was trimmed by the ladies, with evergreens, and everything put in order so far as circumstances would permit, and the room was well managed by P.M. Esq. The donations were from one to five dollars; the amount raised $131.00. … Keno”
(The Spectator and Courant, by the way, were both based in Berlin and bitter rivals.)
Green & Carman stocked both first-floor rooms with dry goods following Wright’s departure and were joined by the Princeton Republic after it debuted in February 1867.
When lightning hit the building in March 1868, the occupants were Green & Carman, the Republic, the offices and residences of Dr. S.R. Holly and Demell, and the Masonic Hall.
Princeton Republic, March 19, 1868: “On Monday evening our village was visited by a severe thunderstorm. Demell’s block, in which is our office, the Masonic Hall, Green & Carman’s store, the families of Mr. Demell and Dr. (S.R.) Holly, had a visitation in the shape of a bolt of lightning, but as the roof was tin, and was covered with water, and the sides of the building were brick and stone, and also thoroughly wet, the discharge of electricity was so diffused that no very serious damage was done. A current passed down each chimney and into the stoves of the building. …. David Messing, who was reclining against the iron safe near the stove, was most shockingly astonished, while Doc. Whiting was really waked up, and Dwight Barnard was unceremoniously rolled under the counter, but Johnny (Demell), sitting upon the counter, was not affected except with an earnest desire to close the stove.”
The upstairs hall served as the community’s primary gathering space for large meetings and celebrations from 1859 until August Thiel’s hall opened at 508-512 West Water in 1870.
The hall hosted all types of gatherings:
- In February 1939, the Princeton Times-Republic ran an article about Mrs. Frank (Ellen) Merrill, at 92 Princeton’s oldest resident. Her reminiscences included Demell Hall: “Mrs. Merrill was a young girl of fifteen when the Civil War broke out and well remembers those stirring days. The soldiers from Princeton went by wagon to Berlin to join the troops and Mrs. Merrill said that she was one of the group of girls and women who accompanied them on foot as far as they could walk to say ‘goodbye.’ During the war, the women and girls met in the Demell Hall, which was the third floor of the building now occupied by the Frank Posiesek barber shop to scrape line from linen cloth for bandages for the soldiers. When the war was over, Frank Merrill, who had run away to enlist, as he was not old enough to enter the army, returned home and on December 17, 1865, he and Miss Merrill (then Ellen Griffith) were married.”
- Princeton Republic, May 8, 1869 – “A small band of yo ‘noble red men of the forest,’ encamped upon the bank of the river some four miles from town, gave an entertainment in the shape of their wild and uncouth dances last Sunday. They drew so largely from the village that their leader determined to give all our villagers a chance to witness the pranks of his band in the ‘fantastic toe’ exercise, accordingly he hired Demell’s Hall and was largely patronized. We learn since the entertainment that ‘White Wolf’ proposes to travel.”
- Princeton Republic, Sept. 18, 1869 – “At a meeting at Demell’s Hall last Saturday evening to organize a Cattle Fair, F.T. Yahr was chosen chairman and A.H. Myers secretary. Motion carried for the appointment of a committee of three to select a place for holding the fair. R.C. Treat, August Thiel and Fred W. Cooke were appointed. Motion carried that the first fair be held on the first Wednesday of October next. F.T. Yahr was elected treasurer and market master, R.C. Treat was elected president and A.H. Myers secretary.”
- In the mid-1870s, Grangers met every Saturday at the hall.
Meanwhile, various businesses came and went in the first-floor stores. Lafayette Fisher, formerly Fisher & Bro., moved his stock of millinery goods into the west room in September 1869. He was followed by John Demell’s meat market.
A profile of Water Street businesses in the local newspaper in March 1870 provides this glimpse of the building’s early days.
Princeton Republic, March 19, 1870 – “W.J. Frank, in the east room of Demell’s block, sells everything one may want, either in dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes, or in the Yankee notion line – has been in trade about six years. Ed Frank is always found in the store ready, in the most affable and gentlemanly manner, to wait upon customers. L. Fisher, formerly of the firm of Fisher & Bro., of this place, will be found next door west of Franks, where in addition to a general stock of goods, will be found the best and largest assortment of millinery and fancy goods in the town, which is presided over by his better half.”
Jay Bentley opened a restaurant there in 1873. He lasted about a year before H.H. Harmon moved his furniture shop into the space. When Harmon moved to the 400 block in 1881, he was replaced in the brick block briefly by Silas Eggleston and then Chittenden & Morse.
C. Henning & Bro. opened their meat market at 511 West Water in 1876 next to the room formerly occupied by Dantz & Andrews in Demell’s block.
The Republicans used one of the Demell rooms as campaign headquarters in 1884.
Princeton Republic, April 3, 1884 – “Chittenden & Morse have opened a flour and feed store in Demell’s block (east). It is hinted they will keep Minneapolis flour.”
Princeton Republic, May 28, 1885 – “The line of telephone was completed between this village and Dartford last Saturday evening. The telephone office is at Chittenden & Morse’s office, Demell’s block. We can now ‘hullo’ to the rest of mankind and put on telephone airs with the best of them.”
The block was already showing signs of aging in summer 1877 when a new tin roof was installed, but the west room seemed always in need of repair. David and John Demell announced in 1882 that they were looking to sell and go west.
David Demell sold a portion of the property to Charles Demell for $1,500 in December 1884 (Deeds, Volume 48, Page 341) and another to Sovina Montgomery for $1,500 in September 1885 (Deeds, Volume 48, Page 342).
C.M. Montgomery opened a barber shop in the west room.
Princeton Republic, Sept. 23, 1886 – “Improvements have been inaugurated in the west rooms of Demell’s block. We hope they will not cease until a new front goes into the veteran brick block of the village.”
Princeton Republic, May 5, 1887 – “Wisconsin was visited by a windstorm Monday of unusual force. In this locality the wind commenced its five-mile gait about ten o’clock in the forenoon and the dust moved in, smothering clouds permeating every nook and corner. The most damage done in the village was the unroofing of the west half of the Demell block, the wind rolling the tin roofing upon the street in front of the building. Mr. C.E. Montgomery, the present proprietor of that part of the block, was up on the roof a short time previous and had placed several stones as weights where the roof was somewhat loosened, presuming their weight would be sufficient to hold the roof firmly down. When the roof started those stones were thrown with terrible velocity, some of them landing on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street, and one breaking a hole clear through the walk, which is built of two-inch plank.”
Princeton Republic, Dec. 29, 1887 – “C.M. Montgomery sold out his barber outfit rather suddenly last week and left the village. Jule Hennig purchased part of the shop fixtures. The barber shop is now occupied by Otto Maulick.”
Sovina Montgomery sold the west building to John Hennig for $1,550 in August 1889 (Deeds, Volume 48, Page 396). It became a bakery.
Princeton Republic, May 8, 1890 – “Hennig has moved his bakery into the new quarters he recently purchased, to wit: the west half of the old Demell block.”
Princeton Republic, Sept. 18, 1890 – “F.L. Deidrich having completed the brick work on Luedtke’s building (544 West Water) has also been testing his skill on the front of the Demell block and fixed that up in a substantial manner. New windows have been placed in the front of the block, and now a coat of paint is being spread on the same. The block looks $500 better. A vote of thanks should be given Chas. Demell and J. Hennig for efforts in that direction.”
Hennig’s bakery occupied the west room from 1890 into the 1900s.
Princeton Republic, Nov. 18, 1915 – “We are informed that the Hennig building (west room) now occupied by Mrs. Emil Raasch has been rented to a Kaukauna baker, who could be here the fore part of next month.”
Princeton Republic, Dec. 16, 1915 – “In the course of a few days a bakery will be opened up in the Hennig building. This is to be a first-class bakery in every respect, and Anton Kalupa, the new owner, will be ready to cater to the wishes of his patrons as bests he can. … He has gained his experience in Milwaukee where he has been engaged in that business for many years. Of late years he conducted a bakery in Kaukauna.”
Improvements also had been made to the east building.
Princeton Republic, Aug. 22, 1889 – “Chas. Demell is having a change made in the east half of the Demell block. The office room occupied by Chittenden & Morse to be enlarged so the front doors will open in the office, and the west window cut down making an entrance to lead back to the main storeroom in the rear part of the building.”
Following a fire that destroyed the buildings at 521 and 523 West Water Street in 1897, “tonsorial artist” Harry Tucker moved his barber shop from 521 to the Demell building. He was succeeded by his son, Lee, who sold the barber shop to Edward Kolleck in April 1920. “Tiff” sold to Erwin Schultz, of Westfield, in 1922.
Princeton Republic, Feb. 1, 1923 – “Frank Posiesek has recently acquired the Chas. Demell building recently vacated by Erwin Schultz and will in the very near future open a barber shop. He gave us information that his intentions are of going to Milwaukee next week and purchase an entire new and up-to-date outfit.”
Mrs. Charles (Jane) Demell sold the property to Barney Priske for $1,400 in May 1928 (Deeds, Volume 89, Page 177) but tenants Frank Posiesek, barber, and Frank Jezeske, bakery/restaurant, did not have to move.
Princeton Republic, April 11, 1929 – “Contractor W.A. Gorr and crew are engaged since last Monday in remodeling the front of the B.J. Priske building, occupied by the Frank Posiesek barber shop.”
Princeton Republic, April 25, 1929 – “The B.J. Priske store front is nearing completion and presents a fine improvement. Red brick is being used. Brewster and Fenske are doing the work, while W.A Gorr has the contract.”
Priske sold to Frank Posiesek in May 1929 for $2,800 (Deeds, Volume 89, Page 366).
Meanwhile, it appears Frank Kalupa had succeeded Anton Kalupa in the west room.
Princeton Republic, May 9, 1929 – “Frank Kalupa, the baker, has a hobby for speed boats. He is the proud owner of an Elto Quad which he purchased last fall. He has same attached to a flat bottom boat and is plying the waters of the raging Fox almost daily. For speed the boat is the fastest that ever came to Princeton, his record being 38 miles per hour.”
Princeton Republic, Feb. 18, 1932 – “Frank Kalupa, the Princeton baker, filed papers of bankruptcy in the federal court, Milwaukee, last week.”
The west room remained a bakery after Kalupa’s departure.
Princeton Republic, April 7, 1932 – “Princeton is glad to welcome to our city a business which will thrive and serve this community’s urgent needs. It is also glad to welcome to our city Mr. Fred Folske, the new baker. Mr. Folske is a master baker. He has had 16 years of very successful experience and has been in charge of bakeries in Chicago, Milwaukee and Watertown. … Mr. Folske is in the city supervising the rebuilding of the Hennig building, formerly a bakery for years. He is sparing no effort or money to put the building in shape and condition that will attract and hold our most critical customers. He is modernizing the building and machinery.”
I have yet to find when Folske closed the Quality Bake Shop or when he was succeeded by the Baumann Bakery, which was operating there in 1936.
Princeton Times-Republic, April 7, 1938 – “Roman Zalewski, of Ripon, has purchased the Baumann Bakery and taken possession.”
Posiesek submitted the high bid of $1,200 for the mortgaged block at auction in August 1944 (Deeds, Volume 108, Page 473).
Princeton Republic, Aug. 10, 1944 – “Frank Posiesek was the successful bidder for the Demell block last Friday and thus became the owner of one of Princeton’s old landmarks. The building is occupied by the Zalewski bakery.”
K&K Wine & Liquor Store opened in the west room, 519 Water, in February 1946 and would remain there for three decades through two owners.
Princeton Times-Republic, Feb. 7, 1946 – “At Tuesday night’s meeting of the city council a liquor license was granted to Fred R. Kannenberg, who will operate a liquor store in the building formerly occupied by the Home Bakery.”
Princeton Times-Republic, Nov. 29, 1951 – “National recognition today reached F.H. Kannenberg, manager of the K & K Wine & Liquor Store, Water Street, Princeton, with the award of fourth prize in the wine industry’s annual nationwide merchandising contest.”
Princeton Times-Republic, April 5, 1956 – “On March 31, Mr. and Mrs. William Powell took over the K and K liquor business formerly owned by Fred Kannenberg. They will continue to carry the same products and go by the same name.”
Kannenberg served as the last justice of the peace and then the first municipal justice after the earlier position was eliminated.
Princeton Times-Republic, Aug. 7, 1975 – “William Powell Sr., owner and operator of the K & K Liquor Store for 20 years or so has sold the business to Mr. and Mrs. Leo (Nola) Campbell. The latter took possession in July. The Campbells, who live in the trailer at Brentwood Estates north of Montello since June, are formerly from Waukesha.”
Fred and Virginia Hall purchased the liquor store in December 1975 and renamed it Fox River Liquors Inc.
The east room, meanwhile, remained Carby’s barber shop.
Posiesek had learned the barber trade from Ed and Emil Hennig, worked for Ed Bornick before moving to Whitewater for four years, and later trained apprentices such as Carl Kuehneman, Norman Bierman and Daniel Bartol.
Princeton Republic, Oct. 23, 1947 – “Frank Posiesek’s barber shop presents a much-improved appearance with its new tile floor. ‘Carby’ is making other improvements, including the installation of a new oil heater and other facilities to make his place of business more convenient for service and more attractive for his customers.”
Frank and Josephine Posiesek sold 513 West Water to Kenneth and Jacquelyn Miller for $6,000 in September 1965 (Deeds, Volume 192, Page 155). Miller, 26, had worked for Edward “Tiff” Kolleck for nearly five years before opening Ken’s Barber Shop.
Princeton Times-Republic, Oct. 28, 1965 – “Fifty-one years is a long time to spend in the same trade, mostly in the same town, and it was therefore with a great deal of nostalgia and a bucketful of memories that Frank ‘Karby’ Posiesek turned over the keys of his barbershop last week to a young man 44 years his junior! The shop at 513 Water Street has been purchased and remodeled by Kenneth Miller, who opened for business one week ago. It sort of marked the end of a barbering era here that dates back to Karby’s younger days in the trade when haircuts were 25 cents and shaves were a dime!”
Posiesek died in February 1969 at age 74.
511 West Water
The newspaper in 1882 reported that John Demell and his father, David Demell, planned to go west.
Princeton Republic, March 16, 1882 – “Jule Hennig buys the property of D. Demell just east of the latter’s brick block, which was recently occupied by Emil Lempke (Lemke).”
The newspaper explained Lempke closed out his shoemaking business because “that kind of work appears to antagonize his good health.”
We will veer slightly off course here, dear reader, but please be patient.
I do not know the origin of the Lempke building, but I have a theory! Just as this was the only building on the south side of the 500 block of West Water that I could not account for, there was also only one building on the north side of the street that perplexed me when I surveyed those lots.
The history of Princeton published by the Princeton Republic in 1869 offers this description: “The building now standing between Teske Bros. store and Mr. Williams’ building on (north side of) Water Street … has been principally occupied as a shoe shop, but of late years, and until within a few months, was Wm. Magill’s harness shop.”
The author suggests the building was built about 1865 by Edward Magee, who sold the shop to Frank Holloway in September 1868. The Republic reported Holloway moved the harness shop into another building across the street, but I could not find what happened to the northside building when I did the posts on the drug store and meat market buildings that filled the property between Teske and Williams in later years.
My theory is that the Demells moved the former shoe/harness shop to about 511 West Water and Lempke was its last occupant.
It is fact not mere theory that David Demell sold the east 14 feet, 9 inches off the east side of Water Lot 28 to Julius E. Hennig for $450 in March 1882 (Deeds, Volume 44, Page 196) and that the property included a small building.
Princeton Republic, July 27, 1882 – “Julius E. Hennig is moving off the small building next west of the post office and will at once erect a two-story building to be used, as we hear, for a meat market.”
Princeton Republic, August 10, 1882 – “Jule Hennig commenced a stone foundation for that new meat market last week. The steamer Weston came up last night towing a barge of lumber for Hennig’s building.”
Princeton Republic, Nov. 16, 1882 – “The Hennig meat shop is moved into the new building erected for that purpose.”
Julius Hennig sold the property for $1,350 (Deeds, Volume 44, Page 197) to Christoph Hennig, who had been operating as C. Hennig & Bro. meat market in the Demell block since 1880.
The building at 511 West Water continued to house a meat market in 1892, 1898 and 1904, according to the Sanborn fire insurance maps, but was a shoe store in 1914. (Christoph Hennig passed in 1900 and his son Christoph in 1904.)
Princeton Republic, Jan. 19, 1911 – “Barney Oelke has moved in his new meat market quarters which was formerly occupied by Mrs. C. Hennig.”
Oelke remodeled the inside and put in some new fixture but stayed only until April, and Mrs. Hennig was again looking for a tenant.
Princeton Republic, Feb. 1, 1912 – “Joe Wolman the shoe man has moved his stock in the place formerly occupied by Hennig’s meat market.”
Wolman sold shoes in Princeton from 1908 to 1913. He departed, the Republic said, after marrying a “New York City society girl.”
Princeton Republic, Aug. 7, 1913 – “Kanter & Borenstein have moved their stock of goods to the Mrs. Christ Hennig building formerly occupied by Joe Wolman.”
Princeton Republic, March 25, 1918 – “Mrs. Myrtie Sommers opens bakery and restaurant in the Mrs. C. Hennig building on April 3.”
Princeton Republic, Sept. 20, 1917 – Mrs. Myrtle Sommers who has conducted a restaurant and grocery business for the past three years, has sold same to Mr. William Steifner.
Princeton Republic, April 18, 1918 – Myrtle Sommers reopens the restaurant she formerly conducted for three years.
Princeton Republic, Oct. 19, 1922 – “Julius Schalow and George Hennig who have formed a new partnership to conduct a meat market in this city left for Milwaukee last Tuesday morning to purchase the necessary equipment. We are informed that they procured the Mrs. Chris Hennig building, now occupied by the G.G. Krueger undertaking parlor, for their new enterprise and will open for business as soon as their machinery and material arrive.”
Princeton Republic, Feb. 8, 1923 – “In a deal recently transacted between George Hennig and Herbert Hennig and the City Meat Market, the former two took over the business and gained possession last Wednesday. The two brothers have been in that line of business for a number of years.”
In 1924 Mrs. Amalia Hennig sold the property for $1,500 to Herb Hennig (Deeds, Volume 87, Page 21). The property passed with Emil Hennig’s estate to Ida Hennig in 1944 (Deeds, Volume 106, Page 471.)
John B. Zodrow opened a meat market in the building at 511 West Water in January 1926. He would remain in business for 39 years.
Princeton Times-Republic, Aug. 19, 1965 – “One of the oldest firms in Princeton, Zodrow’s Meat Market, was placed on the selling block this week. John B. Zodrow, 72, who has operated the business at 511 W. Water Street for 39 years, will retire, and his son, Norbert, who has operated the meat firm for the past few years, will take a position with the Farmers-Merchants National Bank here. A vacancy is being created there when Irv Zodrow, his brother, leaves to spend full time in his insurance business.”
John Zodrow had worked at the Plankinton Packing Co. in Milwaukee before serving as an apprentice in Barney Oelke’s shop at 623 West Water, working at the G.A. Krueger market at 524 West Water and then purchasing the business at 511 from Chris Hennig in 1927.
“In those early days, John did all his own butchering and has probably been on almost every farm within a 20-mile radius,” the newspaper reported in 1965. “He can still remember the days when he paid the farmer 5 cents a pound for his beef.”
Zodrow, who was on the original board of directors for the Farmers-Merchants National Bank of Princeton and served as vice president until 1965, passed in 1967.
Princeton Times-Republic, June 8, 1967 – “Victor Gorr has announced that his meat market, Vic’s Market, will be open for business on Friday morning, June 9, in the Zodrow building downtown on Water Street. Vic’s Market will feature choices eats and homemade bologna and brats.”
Princeton Times-Republic, March 11, 1971 – “Al and Ora Foelske are proud to announce the opening soon of a Watkins Products store in the building formerly occupied by Zodrow’s Meat Market.”
The building was vacant when the map of local businesses was created for the booklet published in 1973 to commemorate the city’s 125th anniversary.
I’ll update as my research progresses.
Princeton Times-Republic, July 16, 1992 – “Water Street Market in Princeton has moved to 511 West Water Street, downtown Princeton. Recently, the co-op underwent a reorganization of the management. Not only is the store in a new location, it is also under new management. The new management felt the new location can serve the community better. Water Street Market specializes in health foods that are not only good for the person, but also good for the environment.”
The market had been at 620 West Water Street.
This has not been verified, but the City of Princeton Historical Walking Tour, which includes at least one factual error in its plaque, indicates Pastimes opened in 2000.
521 West Water
The building at 521 West Water Street, today home to Teak & Soxy, is known to local history buffs as “the 10-foot building” because it was built on the unusually small lot.
Barber Otto Maulick was the first to occupy the building erected by John Hennig in June 1891.
Princeton Republic, June 25, 1891 – “A building is being erected between Hennig’s brick building and the building occupied by John Radtke as a saloon. The new structure will be occupied by Otto Maulick as a barber shop and a bathroom. This is a needed improvement, and the popular young barber deserves great credit for the move in the erection of a bathroom to accommodate his customers.”
Maulick sold his barbering business to tonsorial artist Henry E. Tucker in 1896.
Princeton Republic, March 12, 1896 – “Henry Tucker has purchased the equipment of Otto Maulick and will consolidate the two shops in the Hennig building.”
Hennig’s building was among the casualties, however, when fire broke out in June 1897.
Princeton Republic, June 17, 1897 – “About 1 o’clock Tuesday morning, fire was discovered in the rear of the two-story wooden structure in which John Budnick’s saloon is situated (523). It was far past extinguishing before the fire department reached the spot. John Hennig’s adjoining building on the east had to go, leaving a gap of smoking ruins from Yahr’s hardware store (525) to Demell and Hennig’s block (513-519).”
Tucker was fortunate to salvage his chairs, mirrors and other articles in his shop, so his loss was small. He moved into the Demell block.
Hennig, meanwhile, decided to rebuild the barber shop, which he put in the hands of his son, Edward.
Princeton Republic, Sept. 9, 1897 – “The Hennig building, just west of the bakery, is well along and fills at least a portion of the burned district.”
The new building got a glowing review in the “Industrial Review of Princeton, Wisconsin” published by A.I. Lord of Milwaukee later that year: “The village can well boast of the fine barber shop she now has which was recently fitted up by Mr. Hennig. It is finished in natural wood and the best barber furniture and fixtures used. Two bathrooms which are fitted out with porcelain tubs provide comfortable means for residents to keep clean.”
John sold the property to Edward Hennig for $1,200 in April 1899 (Deeds, Volume 55, Page 514).
In February 1910 Princeton barbers Ed Hennig, John Roberts and Harry Tucker announced the price for shaving had gone up to 10 cents and an extra charge of 5 cents would be charged for a hot towel.
A few months later Ed Hennig was spending time “speculating in the west.” He eventually put his barber shop and 36-foot cabin boat up for sale and bought a ranch in Montana.
During Hennig’s absence, Carl Radtke took care of his customers. The Republic in May 1910 said, “Carl was the first young man in Princeton to pass the barber’s examination and get his certificate.”
Princeton Republic, April 22, 1915 – “Edw. Hennig has recently sold his barber shop and barber supplies to Edw. Bornick of Green Lake. Mr. Bornick is well known in this city being formerly employed by John Roberts. He takes possession next month. Mr. Hennig is undecided what he will do hereafter.”
Bornick operated his barber shop at 521 into the 1930s, then closed for a period. I could not find much else about the property in the 1940s. I did come across this:
Princeton Times-Republic, August 4, 1949 – “Ed Bornick has reopened his barber shop.”
That completes my survey of the first 100 years of Water Lot 28.
Ed and Linda Bornick sold the property at 521 West Water for $2,000 to William and Geneva Hoffmann, of Portage, in July 1957 (Deeds, Volume 143, Page 455). They opened Hoffmann’s Shoe Repair.
Princeton Times-Republic, July 18, 1957 – “The latest business addition to Princeton is open for business. After living elsewhere for about 45 years, William Hoffman has returned to his birthplace to open a shoe repair shop in the former Bornick Barber Shop on Water Street. … For the past 15 years he has been a shoemaker in Portage. … Extensive remodeling has been completed to furnish living quarters on two floors of the building.”
In addition to repairing shoes, Hoffmann sharpened ice skates and repaired and replaced zippers. (When Dr. McNutt discovered I had one leg longer than the other, Mr. Hoffmann created a lift on the heel of my penny loafer, and I stopped walking in circles.)
“The shop has a complete line of shoe polish and laces as well as a good selection of dog and cat pet supplies,” the newspaper reported in 1967.
Princeton Times-Republic, Sept. 18, 1969 – “There was much excitement in downtown Princeton when fire broke out in the basement and spread quickly up the walls of the Hoffmann Shoe Repair store on Saturday. The alarm was sounded shortly after noon on Saturday, September 13th. The building is located at 521 W. Water Street, between K & K Liquor and Wachholz Furniture Store. The Hoffmanns were at lunch when they noticed a puff of smoke come up through the floor register. When they opened the basement door, they were greeted with a wall of fire and quickly summoned help. Thanks to the speedy, efficient volunteer Fire Department and the lack of wind, the fire was contained to the one building. The cause of the fire has not been determined, but the loss has been estimated at between $3,000 and $5,000. … Mr. Hoffmann is having the building repaired and rewired and it will be business as usual very soon.”
The Hoffmanns operated the shop for nearly 22 years.
Princeton Times-Republic, Jan. 25, 1979 – “Thank you to all our loyal customers who have patronized us in the past 21 and a half years. We ask your support of Harold Schwark, who bought our shoe repair business. Would the owners of several pairs of shoes please pick them up in 30 days! – William and Geneva Hoffmann”
Schwark moved Schwark’s Shoe Service to his home at 514 N. Fulton St. in December 1979. Mr. Hoffmann passed in 1986.
The building stood vacant for over a year before Jane Walker opened Cracker Box, a custom framing and home decor shop and gallery, at 521 West Water Street in July 1998.
Princeton Times-Republic, July 23, 1998 – “A new business has opened in downtown Princeton. The Cracker Box is a custom framing and gallery business that opened on July 9th. Jane Walker is the owner. … The building has historically been known as the 10-foot building. The future of the Cracker Box includes having a small gallery which will include some framed artwork for sale, gifts and ready-made frames.”
Walker’s family remodeled the building with a new entrance and wainscoting of the walls.
I will continue to update the blog as my research progresses.
Teak & Soxy occupies the building 2021.
Thanks for reading and caring about local history.