This photo, circa 1874, is one of my go-to photos to illustrate the history of Old Princeton. For this post, it illustrates the impact Gardner Green had on the west or “crooked end” of Water Street. The stone building, upper right, was built in 1873, and the next building to the left, the one-story frame building, was built in 1865. Green built a house and office next to the stone building in 1877, moved the elevator building from the river to the street in 1880, next to the one-story building, and created three business rooms there, and then built two more buildings in 1883 to completely fill the gap shown here,

The history of the first 100 years of the “crooked end of Water Street” is filled with so many twists and turns that it’s easy to get lost amid the five buildings each known as a “Green block” and each housing one to three businesses.

We can trace ownership of Water Lot 23 – today home to SkinLove spa (613 West Water Street), Janet Parrell Creations (615) and Dr. Kelley White’s dental office (617) – through the property deeds, and we know the lineage of each building, but tracing the occupants is more challenging – especially the rooms in the old elevator building that stood at about 617 West Water.

If you think I’ve lost my way at any point, please let me know. There are gaps yet to be filled, and I apologize if I misplaced anyone’s relatives!

The linchpin to understanding the Gardner Green empire, which later was purchased by Erich Mueller, is the original wood frame building that stood on Water Lot 23. It was moved here from St. Marie about 1863-1865.

(The concrete block building that occupies the property today was built in the 1980s by Sam Garro. Today it is home to the dental office of Dr. Kelley White.)

One of the regrets I have about my first book is that I did not dedicate a chapter to David and Gardner Green; both played significant roles in the development of Princeton. They owned the local mill and mill channel for a time, introduced the flour roller system to the mill in 1885, and expanded the channel to improve the waterpower that eventually brought electricity to Princeton.

David was the local director in the effort to secure the financial commitments to bring the Sheboygan and Fond du Lac Railroad to Princeton in 1872. He and Gardner both operated major businesses, such as the Green & Carman general store and a lumberyard, and were involved in commercial ventures, large and small, in Princeton and throughout the region. Gardner built at least five business buildings and 13 residences in early Princeton.

About 1863-1865 David Green moved a building from the quickly disappearing community of St. Marie to Water Lot 23 in Princeton. He set it on the river and used it as an elevator accessible to the steamships transporting area farmers’ wheat to market.

Owners of the local grist/flour mill also owned shares of the elevator property, but the Water Street frontage was not developed until 1880 when Gardner Green moved the elevator to the street and converted it into three business rooms.

Here is the history of the building as reported by the Princeton Republic way back in 1887:

Princeton Republic, June 16, 1887: “The old elevator building, a name familiar here in Princeton, and now occupied by M. Manthey & Sons, who are doing a flourishing grocery and shipping business, has its history. That old building commenced making a record in the then-pretentious city of St. Marie, whose commercial marts have long since closed and glory faded into a rather modern antiquity. It was erected and first occupied as a store by Buck & Cheney and stood near the historical St. Marie bridge – another fact of the past but a myth today. Following Buck & Cheney, one Kissam had a store in the building. The subsequent history of the building shows that it at one time was adorned with a $1,000 mortgage in favor of a bishop of the Episcopal Church of Wisconsin. Another short step in its record shows that it came into the possession of Dave Green, and immediately its days as a St. Marie edifice were numbered. About 1865 the proprietor concluded to move the building to the prosperous village of Princeton, whose shadow of prosperity had cast its withering upas upon the city of St. Marie and left the latter without a future – only the inspiration of an hour and it was gone forever! In those days, the country far and near were notified when a building was to be moved, and, as usual, the farmer and teamster responded in this case, and ox teams by the scores were hitched to this building, the word was given, the drivers plied their whips, and the edifice, creaking a ‘good-bye’ to lonely St. Marie, started for Princeton property. Arriving here it was placed upon piles out in the river, finished off for an elevator and was used for years in that capacity, taking in grain from the farmers and discharging the same into the river boats. But alas, the steam horse entered Princeton and other commercial channels were opened and business at the elevator ceased. A few more years elapsed and Gard Green, having acquired title in the building, it was again moved from its foundations of piling north to the street, metamorphosed again into storerooms and is occupied as above stated. But the old and substantial building is again doomed to disturbance. A few days ago, Tim Paull commenced applying his jack screws, and up went the old veteran two feet higher, and higher walls and cellar follow.”

(By the way, this is the building that I believe researchers in the 1960s-1970s era mistook as the building at 630 West Water Street, just across the street, leading to the Princeton Historical Society board’s mistaken, and oft repeated, tall tale about its museum’s history. The building at 630 West Water was built by Gardner Green in 1876.)

We will return to our chronology, picking it up when Green moves the elevator to Water Street, but first I want to recap how the property went from Henry Treat, who purchased all the land in the original plat of Princeton from the federal government in June 1849, to the Greens.

From Treat, Harley Farmington sold Lots 23 and 24 to Waldo Flint for $25 in July 1850 (Deeds, Volume C, Page 386). The property, or slices of it, next passed through the hands of John Shipley, Samuel Smith, Richard Williams, James Jones, Israel Eagan, James Barr and Ezra Rosebrook within two years of being platted.

David Green and Philemon Wicks purchased the property at sheriff’s auction for nonpayment of taxes in May 1863 (Deeds, Volume 26, Page 315).

Green moved the building from St. Marie, converted it into an elevator and commenced shipping grain. He sold one half of Lot 22 and one half of the west 43 feet of Lot 23 to mill founders Waldo and Alvin Flint for $1,000 just before Christmas in 1865 (Deeds, Volume 30, Page 35).

The Flints sold their share and other holdings to Philemon Wicks for $4,000 in May 1866 (Deeds, Volume 25, Page 513), who sold to John Weiss for $6,000 In September 1867 (Deeds, Volume 31, Page 37).

A.P. Carman divested his interested in the property to David Green for $200 in November 1878 (Deeds, Volume 39, Page 580).

John Weiss sold his share of Lots 22 and 23 and other property to Mrs. August (Henrietta) Swanke for $2,380 in June 1878 (Deeds, Volume 40, Page 80). The Swankes sold their share of Lots 22 and 23 to Gardner Green for $350 in May 1879 (Deeds, Volume 40, Page 446).

Princeton Republic, May 29, 1879 – “Gard Green has become sole owner of the ‘old elevator’ property, having just purchased Swanke’s interest.”

Now we’ll set aside the deeds for a bit and return to the building at 617 West Water Street to begin tracking its occupants.

617 West Water

Princeton Republic. May 13, 1880 – “Gard Green is moving the old elevator and warehouse from the river front to the street, next to McCormick’s shoe shop, where it is to be finished up for a store or business room of some kind.”

Green’s venture included a one-story room adjoining the two-story elevator building to the west to create three business rooms that seemed to be in constant flux.

Princeton Republic, Sept. 16, 1880 – “G. Green is fitting up the old elevator building for use as office, storeroom, etc.”

Princeton Republic, Oct 14, 1880 – “Workmen are busily transforming Gard Green’s building into a business block.”

Princeton Republic, Nov. 4, 1880 – “Chittenden & Morse have established themselves in a very comfortable office in the building recently re-fitted by G. Green. Mr. Manthey also occupies new quarters in the same building.”

Princeton Republic, April 27, 1882 – “Gard Green has commenced the foundation for a new addition in the rear of the room now occupied by M. Manthey, all of which will eventually make a storeroom when completed 40 feet in length, which Mr. Manthey will occupy for his growing business.”

Princeton Oct. 12, 1882 – “Attorney Cox has moved his law office into Gard Green’s building, the room he occupies being the one lately vacated by Chittenden & Morse.”

Princeton Republic, April 12, 1883 – “Mrs. Maggie Rich has opened a stock of millinery in the room just east of Manthey’s grocery house. Our Princeton friends will give Mrs. Rich a call.”

M. Manthey & Sons moved their groceries, produce and eggs business from Green’s building to John Buschke’s building at 616 West Water in 1888.

Princeton Republic, March 14, 1889 – “John Warnke, having purchased the stock of clothing at the room formerly occupied by Manthey & Sons, is arranging the stock and increasing inducements to patrons.”

Princeton Republic, Oct. 24, 1889 – “J.W. Kohnke has moved his shoe shop to the west room of Green’s elevator building.”

We get a glimpse of the buildings, right, at about 613, 615 and 617, Water Lot 23, from this photo of the 1897 Decoration Day parade.

Warnke moved to August Swanke’s new block at 609 West Water in 1889, and the Mantheys, with businesses in three Water Street locations, returned to the Green block in 1890.

The Sanborn fire insurance map of 1892 shows a cobbler in the small east building (maybe Carl Worm) and grocery and office in the west building.

Princeton Republic, Feb. 10, 1898 – “Last Friday evening about 9 o’clock, A.A. Manthey opened the door of the rooms occupied by him in the old Green building and found them filled with smoke. He then opened the door leading into the back room and found that room a mass of flames. He rushed to the street and gave the alarm, and the fire company was on the ground in short time. The boys got a good stream playing on the flames both from the front and the rear, and soon had the flames under control. The building is damaged considerably. Mr. Manthey’s loss is about $150 in stock. Had it not been for the still night it is probable that several buildings would have been burned. The origin of the fire is a mystery.”

Manthey moved one door east, and Green not only repaired the building but also built a 12-by-22-foot addition to the rear.

Princeton Republic, May 26, 1898 – “That storeroom in Green’s building so badly burned a few months ago has been recently rebuilt and a fine suite of rooms arranged which will soon be occupied by H.W. Edw. Buck, where he will move his stock of gents’ furnishing goods and his tailoring establishment.”

The Sanborn fire insurance map of 1898 shows a confectionary at 615 (maybe John W. Shew) and produce/grocery store (Manthey or Shew) and tailor (Buck) in 617.

Gardner Green paid David’s widow, Mary, $1,500 in April 1899 for David’s share of Lot 22 and all of Lot 23 (Deeds, Volume 55, Page 529) and continued to make improvements.

Princeton Republic, Sept. 21, 1899 – “Gard Green has done more in the way of improvements to the town during the past few months than any other man. He has metamorphosed the old elevator building and adjoining structure, until they present a good uniform front, which will be covered with tin imitation of brick work. The building farthest down the street, when completed, will contain a suite of living rooms above and a well-lighted office. The east part of the basement will be fitted up for laundry work, and Mr. Green assures us that he will keep a woman employed there doing all kinds of ordinary washing, so that people will know just where to get such work done. The room between the Savings’ Bank (I believe this is the American Express office) and Ed. Buck’s will be occupied by Mrs. Weiss as her millinery store. The upper part of what was the old elevator has been partitioned off into living rooms, which are being mostly painted and papered for the occupancy of __, well, we came pretty near telling, but time in its ceaseless course will let our readers know. The 150 odd feet of buildings fronting that part of Water street and owned by Mr. Green will be a good addition to the town, when arranged as planned.”

Princeton Republic, Oct. 26, 1899 – “Gard Green has put an entrance door in the storeroom next to tailor Buck’s place of business that is a study for the old masters; the inside of the room will be trimmed with green and gold and tinted with picture moulding. There is nothing too good for Gard.”

Princeton Republic, Dec. 8, 1899 – “If you want fresh candies go to R. Espig’s new store, one door east of the American Express office. … Richard Espig has opened up a confectionery store in the building recently vacated by Chas. Sears.”

This photo, circa 1896, shows the three buildings of Water Lot 23 (613-617 West Water) and the two buildings of Water Lot 22 (Warnke Bros. & Krueger dry goods and W.J. Mesick farm equipment).

The Princeton Fire Department was called to Green’s building again in May 1900.

Princeton Republic, May 24, 1900 – “Saturday evening about half past nine o’clock fire was discovered in the building on lower Water Street owned by Gardner Green and occupied by the American Express company, Mrs. O.J. Weiss, the milliner, and Edw. Buck, the tailor. When discovered the flames had made considerable headway, and the entire building seemed destined to go to the ground. In a few moments after the alarm had been turned in, the fire department was hard at work lending its efforts to prevent the flames from spreading, and the fact that the fire was confined to that particular building shows how effective was the work. It was not long before the flames were under control, but it was well into the night before the boys found it safe to leave the place. The back part of the building suffered the most, although the interior was badly burned in some places. Mr. and Mrs. Weiss were in Kingston at the time, and did not hear of the fire until Sunday, it being impossible to reach them by telephone earlier. Part of the millinery stock was saved, but the bulk of it was saved so far as known. The stock of Mr. Buck, who was also away at the time, was considerably damaged by water. Just how the fire originated is not known, but it is strongly hinted that it was the work of an incendiary. This theory is borne out by the fact that a roll of cotton batting was found under the building thoroughly saturated with kerosene, which would indicate that the destruction of the place was premeditated. Fortunately, it had rained in the afternoon and there was no wind at the time the fire broke out, and this with the good work of the firemen saved it to a considerable extent. Mr. Weiss estimates his loss at about $1,200. He had been carrying $1,000 insurance on his stock until three or four months ago, when he reduced the amount to $500, which amount he was carrying at the time of the fire. He had moved a stock of goods from a store he had been running in Montello into the building the fore part of the week, which made his loss greater than it would otherwise have been. The loss of Edward Buck on tailoring stock and household goods will amount to about $100, covered by insurance. Mr. Green, who was in Oshkosh at the time of the fire, estimates the damage to the building at about $300, on which he had no insurance. Mr. Green is repairing the damaged building and will have it ready for occupancy by Saturday, when the former tenant will resume business at their old quarters.”

Weiss declared bankruptcy. Buck left for Fond du Lac in July 1900, and the express office moved to the depot in September.

Charles Kinkel moved his tailor shop from the 500 block to the space vacated by Buck at about 619 West Water.

Princeton Republic, Dec. 13, 1900 – “Dreblow and Pischke have moved their stock of goods into the store formerly occupied by O.J. Weiss and will have an opening sale Friday, Dec. 14.”

Theodore E. Dreblow and Gust Pischke split in 1903, with Dreblow opening in the 400 block selling wallpaper and paint and Pischke remaining in the office at 617.

The Sanborn fire insurance map of 1904 lists a cobbler (J.H. Kohnke) at 615 and confectionary (perhaps R. Espig) and tailor at 617.

Mrs. Carl Worm opened a millinery in the former Kohnke room in September 1905.

Green sold the west 43 feet of Lot 23 along with other property to Ferdinand A. Wilde, another of Princeton’s early settlers, in February 1909 (Deeds, Volume 62, Page 276).

Wilde passed the property to his daughter, Niva, who had married attorney and Congressman J.H. Davidson, in December 1918 (Deeds, Volume 68, Page 369).

Niva Davidson sold all of Lots 21 and 22 and west 43 feet of Lot 23 to Erich Mueller for $2,750 in February 1920. (Deeds, Volume 80, Page 455).

The Sanborn fire insurance map of 1914 lists a cobbler at 615 and paints/oils (Dreblow) and clothing at 617.

Princeton Republic, Feb. 19, 1920 – “In a deal consummated on last Tuesday between the Gard Green estate and Erich Mueller, the later took over the former’s entire property fronting Water Street with a frontage of 157 feet. The buildings were occupied by Messrs. Schroeder and family, Priske, Kinkel and Dreblow. Mr. Mueller, we understand, purchased same with the view of again reselling reasonable.”

Princeton Republic, March 24, 1921 – “Wallace Rutkowski will open shoe repair shop in the store building two doors west of Mackowski’s general store (611).”

Princeton Republic, July 14, 1921 – “Erich Kleist, of Oshkosh, plans to open cobble shop here in the Erich Mueller block.”

Princeton Republic, July 21, 1921 – “The Princeton Shoe Hospital, formerly the Dreblow Paint Shop, is now open is now open to do all your shoe repairing with a full line of up-to-date machinery. I have had eight years’ experience. – Erich Kleist”

Kleist moved to the new clothing store next to the Ford garage in the 400 block in November 1922.

Princeton Republic, Sept. 27, 1923 – “Adolph Radtke will open cobbling business in stand vacated by Erich Kleist.”

At some point that I missed, Dreblow returned to the Green building.

Mueller posted a notice in the Republic on Feb. 23, 1928, that he had “decided to dispose of my real estate on Water Street, known as the Gard Green block,” including the three rooms occupied by Dreblow and Kryzenske (615-619) and the buildings at 623 and 627 West Water.

Mueller sold the 615-617 complex to tailor Charles J. Kinkel and cobbler Adolph T. Radtke in August 1928 (Deeds, Volume 89, Page 214).

Princeton Republic, August 9, 1928 – “In a deal transacted last week between Erich Mueller, Charles Kinkel and Adolph Radtke, the two latter take over the ownership of the former’s property located on Water street and occupied by the Theo. Dreblow paint and wallpaper store. The new owners will occupy the Kryzenske place for their tailor shop and cobbler shop, respectively. Mr. Dreblow will remain in his present place.”

Princeton Republic, Nov. 27, 1930 – “L. J. Whittemore & Son have made arrangements for the opening of a repair shop in the building of Kinkel and Radtke and will comprise everything in repairing jewelry, watches and clocks.”

The business remained there through at least 1937.

Dreblow remained in his space until 1936, when the Dreblow Decorating Company moved to its new home in the old building at 612 West Water.

Princeton Times-Republic, Nov. 21, 1940 – “The Princeton Cleaners is the newest addition to Princeton’s list of commercial activities. Lee Schafer, of Portage, is moving his dry-cleaning plant here from Portage and will locate in the Kinkel building. … Charles Kinkel, known as one of the best tailors in this area, will give his attention to the repairing department.”

Princeton Times-Republic, Nov. 28, 1940 – “Ralph Swenson is busy installing his dry-cleaning plant at the Kinkel building and announces he will be ready to take in work Friday morning.”

The Princeton Cleaners moved to the Borzick building in 1941. The Mosolf Electric Shop moved into the Kinkel-Radtke building.

Kinkel, 64, died in a car crash near Ripon in 1941. His obituary in the Princeton Times-Republic noted he had been engaged in the tailoring business in Princeton for about 40 years and was known as a skilled workman.

His estate sold Kinkel’s half of the property to Radtke (Deeds, Volume 104, Page 560). Radtke sold to Edward Renn in September 1941 (Deeds, Volume 103, Page 575) but bought it back in October 1945 (Deeds, Volume 113, Page 253).

Princeton Republic, Dec. 9, 1943 – Miss Shirley Gruber announces the opening of her new dance studio in the Kinkel and Radtke building Saturday, Dec. 11th. Miss Gruber teaches tap and acrobatic dancing.

After Radtke, who had been a cobbler since 1923, died from a heart attack in January 1950, Joe Klapoetke took over the shoe repair shop in March. The Republic said he “installed quite a bit of new and modern equipment for repairing shoes and plans to handle a line of family shoes and rubber goods as well.”

The property passed to Radtke’s widow, Lena, who sold it to Fred Radtke for $4,500 in November 1951 (Deeds, Volume 129, Page 49). Fred sold to Gerhardt Radtke for $2,000 in January 1953 (Deeds, Volume 132, Page 79).

Princeton Times-Republic, June 28, 1951 – “Frank Novak, of Ripon, is opening a shoe repair shop on Water Street where Adolph Radtke had his shoe repair shop for many years.”

Herb Wedell’s electric shop was in the east half of 617 in 1951.


The former elevator buildings that were moved here from St. Marie in the 1860s were razed over 100 years later, as recorded by Dorothea Huenerberg in her “Sandburrs” column:

Princeton Times-Republic, May 6, 1971 – “Learned that the two buildings on Water being razed by Sidney Kautzer are old Princeton landmarks – grain elevators – in the early years of Princeton. A canal from the Fox River which flows along the rear of the premises was means of access to the buildings for the boats plying the river and carrying grain to and from the elevators. The buildings once were the property of a Mr. Gard Green who did much in developing Princeton. This bit o’ history was supplied by Mrs. Mabel Schroeder, Fond du Lac, and the present owner, Gerhart Radtke, who with their respective parents at different times in the course of years, occupied those buildings.”

Dentist Sam Garro purchased the property and started construction of a dental clinic in April 1981.

Princeton Times-Republic, April 23, 1981 – “R&D Construction of Waupun is contracted by Dr. S.J. Garro to build the new Princeton Family Clinic Care, a medical and dental clinic in downtown Princeton. Dr. Garro is conducting his dental practice in the building next door to Resop’s Barber Shop (613) until the new clinic is completed.”

Garro moved in in July but work continued for another month.

Princeton Times-Republic, Aug. 20, 1981 – “Dr. S.J. Garro, Princeton dentist, has moved into his new dental clinic in downtown Princeton. Front railings were just installed this week to complete the building. This new attractive building is a positive addition to downtown and enhances the crooked end of Water Street.”

Kelley White, D.D.S., occupies the building in 2021.

615 West Water

Adolph Radtke sold the east nine feet of the west 43 feet of Lot 23 to Melvin Parsons in August 1946 (Deeds, Volume 111, Page 551).

Princeton Times-Republic, Oct. 10, 1946 – “Melvin Parsons has bought the lot west of the Roberts barber shop and plans to erect a new building to house his business as soon as materials are available.”

It took five years before Parsons was ready to build.

Princeton Times-Republic, May 31, 1951 – “Mel Parsons has started the construction of his new beauty shop building this last week. The new one-story building with partial basement is to be built of concrete block and is being put up between Roberts’ barber shop and Herb Wedell’s Electric Shop.”

Princeton Times-Republic, Aug. 30, 1951 – “Monday evening the Hairdresser Association official opened Melvin Parsons’ new beauty shop. They presented him with a bouquet of flowers, a gift of money and attached the national emblem of the association on the door.”

Esther Parsons sold the building at 615 West Water to attorney R.M. Gonyo in October 1960 (Deeds, Volume 201, Page 389). He rented space to L.V. Kaminski.

Princeton Times-Republic, Jan. 12, 1961 – “L.V. Kaminski, a native of this area who received most of his law experience at a Waupun law firm, has set up practice here in the building formerly occupied by Parson’s Beauty Shop, 615 Water Street. The 31-year-old attorney was born in Wild Rose and raised at Plainfield. He graduated from the Marquette University Law School in 1953 and then spent two years in the U.S. Army with the Counter Intelligence Corps.

Gonyo sold the building to Delbert Staffeldt in November 1968 (Deeds, Volume 219, Page 489).

Princeton Times-Republic, Nov. 28, 1968 – “Mr. Delbert Staffeldt, rural Princeton, recently purchased the former Parsons Beauty Shop building at the west end of Water Street, downtown Princeton. Some interior remodeling and renovating is being done. It is expected to have the building ready for occupancy as an insurance office in early January 1969.”


Princeton Times-Republic, Sept. 14, 1995 – “Merry Little has opened her new shop in Princeton. She will be buying, selling and trading antique toys. Five years ago, Merry had the idea to open a little shop to sell her collection of antique toys that has been her hobby since she was young. She opened the store on Water Street in Princeton this weekend. … Merry bought the building in March. It had been a beauty parlor and then an insurance agency in the past. After years of being vacant, Merry decided to brighten it up by refurbishing it and making it a thriving business.”

Janet Parrell Creations occupies the space in 2021.

JL Imagine has scheduled its opening at 613 West Water for Sept. 3, 2021.

613 West Water

The history of early Princeton published by the Princeton Republic in 1869 gives us our first report on the building at 613 West Water Street: “In 1865, the McCormick brothers erected a shoe shop near Green’s elevator, and it has since been used as such.”

The remodeled building, home to Skin Love spa and then JL Imagine in 2021, is the oldest frame building in downtown Princeton.

John McCormick purchased the 20-foot lot on the east side of Lot 23 from Ezra Rosebrook in March 1853 (Deeds, Volume U, Page 393). The property passed to Bartholomew and Emma McCormick, then Peter, Frank and James, Agnes and Josephine McCormick, all the way to 1924.

Princeton Republic, Jan. 11, 1878 – “Peter McCormick wishes to announce to his friends and the public in general that he will open a Boot & Shoe Shop in the old McCormick building … the first of next week, where he will be prepared to make first-class work, guaranteeing good fits and perfect satisfaction.”

Princeton Republic, May 13, 1880 – “Gard Green is moving the old elevator and warehouse from the river front to the street (617 West Water Street), next to McCormick’s shoe shop, where it is to be finished up for a store or business room of some kind.”

The McCormick brothers were Civil War veterans.

Peter McCormick was still advertising custom boots and shoes “at the old McCormick stand” in 1880 but later moved to Eau Claire. He returned in January 1888 for the funeral of his brother Thomas, who died apparently of a heart attack while working in a logging camp in Chippewa County. His wife and four children still resided in Princeton.

Thomas “was a shoemaker by trade,” the Republic reported, “and a year or so ago went to Eau Claire and worked with his brother, Peter, for some months, but … had been at the camp for several months.” He was buried in the Catholic cemetery in Princeton, as were brothers Peter (1926) and John (1889).

Johnny Carr moved his barber shop to the McCormick building in 1885.

According to the Sanborn fire insurance maps, the building at 613 West Water housed a confectionary in 1892 and 1898 (I. McKenney) and cobbler in 1904 (Carl Worm) and 1914 (John Tessner).

Princeton Republic, June 20, 1895 – “A son of Wm. Schroeder, about 11 years of age, was caught in the act of pilfering candy from the store of I. McKenney, while that gentleman was absent yesterday afternoon. The boy had climbed up a plank into the back window but was seen by someone passing by. Unless bail is furnished, he will be held until the next term of court.”

Princeton Republic, Sept. 22, 1904 – “C.A. Worm will open a cobbler’s shop in the McKenney building the last of next week.”

Princeton Republic, April 23, 1914 – Ad: “Take notice: For your very best shoe repairing, see John Tessner, the New Shoe Maker.”

The McCormick building finally left family ownership in 1924.

Princeton Republic, June 5, 1924 – “Recently in a deal consummated between John Roberts and the McCormick estate the former took over the property of the latter on lower Water Street recently vacated by V. Kryzenske shoe shop. The building will undergo improvements in the interior as well as exterior.”

Princeton Republic, June 26, 1924 – “John Roberts, who has recently acquired the ownership of the building adjoining the Mackowski store on the west and has remodeled the interior as well as the exterior, wishes to inform his friends and patrons that he has taken possession last Monday.”

(I have misplaced or missed the McCormick-to-Roberts deed but will resume the search at a later date.)

Roberts continued cutting hair and shaving gents into the 1950s.

Roberts sold the property at 613 West Water to his son, J. Kenneth Roberts, for $2,000 in June 1952 (Deeds, Volume 130, Page 77) and the business to Edward “Tiff” Kolleck, another longtime Princeton barber.

Princeton Times-Republic, July 10, 1952 – “After 52 years in business, John Roberts has finally retired. John, or Jack, as he is more popularly known, has been barbering in Princeton since 1900 and the sale of his shop this week marked the 52nd anniversary of his hanging his first barber pole out here. We expect to see Jack around for a good many years, and undoubtedly will continue to hear some of his more ‘pithy’ stories from time to time.”

Kenneth Roberts, a barber who became an insurance agent, sold the property to Kolleck in May 1953 (Deeds, Volume 132, Page 467).

Tiff Kolleck and Jack Roberts.

Princeton Times-Republic, March 14, 1954 – “Tiff Kolleck has done a mighty fine job of remodeling the barber shop, with with new fixtures, redecorated walls, venetian blinds for the windows and a fancy new lavatory in the center of the floor. Everything is new, but you still get the same old line of chatter.”

Kolleck sold the shop in 1968.

Princeton Times-Republic, March 14, 1968 – “Another business in the 600 block on Water Street changed hands when David J. Resop, formerly of Oshkosh, took over Tiff’s Barbershop on Monday, March 11. … Edward Kolleck, more familiarly known as Tiff, will not entirely lose touch with the shop he owned for the past 16 years, as he will help out during rush periods.”

Kolleck battled health issues and passed in June 1969. He was 70 years old. In addition to his 50-plus years as a barber, Tiff was a well-known musician, skilled on the clarinet and leader/member of several bands in “by-gone days.”

Resop operated Dave’s Barber Shop into the 1980s. Don Apps took over management of the shop in November 1983 before it passed to Bob Harth.

Harth operated Bob’s Barber Shop until 1987 when he sold to Tony Mikulski, recently retired from the Milwaukee Fire Department. Mikulski operated the Firehouse Barbershop at 613 beginning in 1987 and later named it the Old Barber Shop.

In May 1995 it became Wilde’s Old Barber Shop.

Princeton Times-Republic, June 1, 1995 – “Carolyn Wilde has become the new owner of the Old Barber Shop in Princeton. Located on Water Street in the downtown area, the barber shop has been around for many decades. After purchasing the business on May 1st from Tony Mikulski, who owned it for seven years, Carolyn was determined to leave the business as authentic as possible. … Along with Carolyn, Kathleen Rataczak will be a nail technician at the Old Barber Shop.”

Rataczak’s nails business was named Kat’s Klaws.

I will update the more recent occupants and owners as my research progresses beyond the 1990s. Jan Gruenwald Manweiler mentioned on Facebook that a cupcake shop was there for a time.


JL Imagine, “purveyors of vintage home goods, refurbished decor and upcycled art,” is scheduled to open Sept. 3, 2021.

Thank you for reading and caring about local history.

Water Lot 23 in spring 2021 included, from left, SkinLove spa, Janet Parrell Creations, and Dr. Kelley White, DDS.

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