For the remainder of our survey of the first 100 years of Water Lots 30-33, or the 400 block of Water Street, we are going to follow the path of the fire, from west to east, that in 1880 destroyed 11 buildings from the Hubbard House at the southeast corner of Water and Washington streets to Lot 33 on Short Street.
Last week we reviewed the history of Lot 30, where in 1882 Ferdinand T. Yahr erected a building for a farm implement business on the Hubbard House site and Hiram H. Harmon erected his furniture and cabinet shop next door to the east in 1883.
Water Lot 31, today’s focus, was among five parcels that Henry Treat, who purchased all the land in the original plat of Princeton from the U.S. government in June 1849, sold to Philo Knapp for $40 in September 1849 (Deeds, Volume B, Page 346).
Knapp sold Lots 31 and 32 to Charles Stacy for $50 in November 1849 (Deeds, Volume C, Page 292). Stacy sold Lot 31 to Waldo Flint for $45 in June 1850 (Deeds, Volume C, Page 314). Flint divided the property with his brother Alvin as part of $1,800 package in December 1857 (Deeds, Volume P, Page 300).
Alvin Flint sold the 32 feet off the west side of Lot 31 (439 West Water) to Charles Rawson for $450 in November 1859 (Deeds, Volume R, Page 189).
The property then passed to Edward Haroune for $500 in May 1860 (Deeds, Volume S, Page 115), then to William Rawson for $580 in October 1860 (Deeds, Volume S, Page 237), and to Charles W. Loomis for $500 in February 1863 (Deeds, Volume U, Page 289).
The property passed to Anton Samann (Deeds, Volume 27, Page 207) and then to David Tassler (Deeds, Volume 28, Page 418).
Princeton Republic, August 22, 1867 – “Samann the butcher sold his house and lot on Water Street, opposite the Jarvis House, to David Tassler, who is now dispensing beef and mutton to those desiring animal food.”
Tassler sold to Martin Wicks for $900 in September 1868 (Deeds, Volume 30, Page 134). Warnke & Perkins operated a feed and flour business on the ground floor.
Waldo Flint sold 34 feet off the east side of Lot 31 and 12 feet off the west side of Lot 32 (433 West Water) to Benjamin Demell for $500 in October 1858 (Deeds, Volume Q, Page 171). Demell sold to Erastus Parsons for $450 in September 1865 (Deeds, Volume 25, Page 93).
Parsons sold to Thomas Jakeman in May 1877 for $1,400 (Deeds, Volume 37, Page 337).
And that sets the stage for the fire of 1880 with Wicks’ building at about 439 West Water and Jakeman’s residence and store at about 435 and 433 West Water, respectively.
The fire fiend
Princeton Republic, April 15, 1880 – “The devastating hand of the fire fiend has been laid heavily upon Princeton. Eleven buildings have gone up in flame and smoke. By far the heaviest conflagration this village ever experienced occurred last Sunday. A little after four o’clock smoke was discovered issuing from the Hubbard House barn. The alarm was promptly given, and our citizens commenced rushing toward the Hubbard House corner. It only required a casual glance to convince anyone that a conflagration of the most serious character was in store for us and where it would end was a matter of conjecture. The wind was moving at a moderate rate, and from a west by north direction. …
“Soon flames were issuing from the rear of Mart Wicks’ building which was just east of the Hubbard House and seemed to be rather nearest in the line in which the wind carried the flames. The smoke soon issuing from the rear of the Hubbard House showed the utter weakness of all human attempts to fight the fiend, and attention was turned to saving what could be secured from doomed buildings which lay in the path of destruction. Soon the Hubbard House and Wicks building were a sheet of flame. A few short minutes and T.J. Jakeman’s dwelling a few feet farther east was wrapped in the fiery element. Mr. Jakeman’s jewelry store was next in turn. …
“The upper part of the first building east (Wicks) was used as a photo gallery by Mr. Perkins. He only saved one camera. Loss, perhaps $100; no insurance. The lower floor was used as a flour and feed store by Warnke & Perkins. A few sacks of flour and other articles that could be handled readily were saved, but considerable grain, feed, etc. were lost. Insurance $250. Mr. Wicks had no insurance on building. Loss $500.
“T.J. Jakeman’s dwelling, together with his storeroom, was consumed, incurring a loss of perhaps $800. Most of Mr. Jakeman’s furniture was saved, as were also the goods in his jewelry establishment. His buildings were insured for $600. Mrs. Stevens, dress maker, occupied a suite of rooms in Mr. Jakeman’s residence. She lost considerable furniture, clothing, books, etc. amounting to $50 or $75. No insurance.”
439 West Water Street (Embellished)
Rather than rebuild following the fire, Martin Wicks sold his property, 32 feet off the west side of Lot 31, to Hiram H. Harmon, furniture maker and undertaker, one door west for $250 in April 1883 (Deeds, Volume 44, Page 292).
Princeton Republic, April 12, 1883 – “H.H. Harmon has purchased the lot just east of his business block of Mart. Wicks. We don’t know what Hi. Intends doing with the property but hope he will build on it ere long.”
Harmon used the property for a lumber shed but no permanent building. Following his death, Harmon’s heirs sold the east 24 feet off the west 32 feet of Lot 31 to Elisha Hall for $865 in January 1902 (Deeds, Volume 57, Page 386). Hall sold to Bert Shew for $1,100 in January 1904 (Deeds, Volume 61, Page 482).
Princeton Republic, May 5, 1904 – “Architect Shew is having the wall laid for his new building to be erected next door to the Republic office. The Fair Store will occupy the first floor and the Odd Fellows will use the second floor for lodge rooms.”
Princeton Republic, Oct. 13, 1904 – “B.H. Shew’s building is nearly completed. L. Picus moved his stock of goods into it the fore part of the week and the upper rooms will soon be ready for occupancy as the lodge rooms of the Odd Fellows.”
Picus, who did business as The Fair Store, went out of business in 1911 and was replaced by Abe Fishkin and The Reliable Store.
As Shew divested his local interests before moving to Rio, he sold the property at 439 West Water to A.S. Humphrey in April 1915 (Deeds, Volume 76, Page 5).
Princeton Republic, April 22, 1915 – “A deal was consummated last week between Bert Shew and A. Humphrey whereby the latter became the owner of the Fair Store, now occupied by Mr. Fishkin in this city, also of several buildings at Redgranite formerly owned by Mr. Shew. Mr. Shew taking in exchange the electric light plant at Rio, owned by Mr. Humphrey.”
Humphrey sold to Herman Warnke for $3,500 in May 1915 (Deeds, Volume 76, Page 55). A.E. Schultz, who operated a garage next door east at 435 West Water, used the Warnke building for storage and a vulcanizing room in 1919.
Princeton Republic, July 17, 1919 – “Last Sunday afternoon at about 2:30 o’clock our little city was thrown into a state of excitement when the fire alarm was sounded, and a fire was discovered in the lower rooms of the Herman Warnke building occupied by the A.E. Schultz garage as a storage and a vulcanizing room. The Fire Department arrived very promptly and found the entire lower room and the rear outside stairway one mass of flames, and many were of the opinion that the building, possibly the entire block, was doomed. Also, the Harmon building across the alley being in great danger of being caught from the flames which shot through the west windows toward the frame structure. However, the prompt action and excellent work of the firemen and throwing two streams of water, the fire after a few minutes was under control. The fire, it is estimated, originated in the vulcanizing room of the Warnke building and soon spread to the outside stairway leading to the second story. The second story being arranged into dwelling rooms was inhabited by Theodore Radtke and family. The rooms filling rapidly with smoke made it impossible to carry the furniture to a place of safety. … The storage room of the garage containing considerable amount of stock was totally destroyed but was partly covered by insurance. The garage itself was only slightly damaged in a few broken windows and ceiling being smoked up.”
The property remained with the Warnkes and heirs for the remainder of our study period (1848-1948) and was leased to the Ford garage for several years.
After no longer being utilized by the Ford garage, the Shew building at 439 West Water in 1935 was home to the Princeton Times published by H.H. Hobart & Son and then for the next several decades the Princeton Times-Republic.
435 West Water Street (Stars & Strikes)
Erastus M. Parsons, or “Rat” as he was known to his friends in Princeton, established a jewelry store and was one of the early merchants who began advertising in the Princeton Republic after it was founded in 1867. He dealt in clocks, watches, jewelry and “anything in his line neatly, durably and promptly mended or made to order.” He was an agent for Florence sewing machines.
According to the history of early Princeton published in 1869 by the Princeton Republic, “In 1866, E.M. Parsons erected his jewelry store at the intersection of Short and Water streets, and has occupied it since, doing a fair business.” It was, according to the newspaper’s count, the 20th building erected for commercial purposes in Princeton.
Rat Parsons’ shop stood about where Stars & Strikes stands today at 435 West Water Street, which the newspaper often referred to as the “corner of Short and Water” in the village’s early days.
Princeton Republic, March 12, 1870 – “On the corner of Short and Water sts. will be found E.M. Parsons, who sells clocks, watches and any amount of jewelry, besides doing everything in the way of repairing.”
Parsons sold to Thomas Jakeman in May 1877 and moved to Portage in 1878.
Rather than rebuild after the fire in 1880, Jakeman moved to Westfield and sold the west 25 feet off the east 34 feet of Lot 31 (435 West Water) to Josiah Whittemore and his wife, Emily, for $150 (Deeds, Volume 44, Page 290) and the east 9 feet of Lot 31 and west 12 feet of Lot 32 (431 West Water), also to the Whittemores, and also for $150 (Deeds, Volume 47, Page 86), in April 1883.
Princeton Republic, May 3, 1883 – “T.J. Jakeman disposed of his business lots on Water Street. Josiah Whittemore purchased the same and the price paid was $300.”
Josiah Whittemore sold the west 25 feet from the east 34 feet of Lot 31 to Fred W. Cooke for $300 in March 1885 (Deeds, Volume 45, Page 365). Cooke purchased and moved the building the Teske brothers had built in 1880 at about 528 West Water to about 435 West Water Street.
Princeton Republic, March 12, 1885 – “Fred Cooke has purchased the building just east of Schendel’s hotel and will move it to one of the vacant lots just west of Turner Hall. It will be fitted up and occupied as a grocery store by Mrs. Jones.”
Princeton Republic, April 9, 1885 – “F.W. Cooke has commenced shaping the foundation for a building on the lot he recently purchased of J. Whittemore, just east of H.H. Harmon’s. The building to be moved there is the one recently purchased by Cooke of Teske Bros and lately used by them as a harness shop.”
Princeton Republic, Sept. 23, 1886 – “Mrs. Clara Noster in company with a brother-in-law, contemplate opening a bakery soon in F.W. Cooke’s building near Turner Hall. The party in question have purchased a portion of Mrs. Jones’ stock and will keep a line of confectionary, etc. in connection with the bakery.”
Cooke, who had arrived in Princeton in 1860 as landlord of the Jarvis House, passed in July 1890. Over the years he had served as county sheriff and deputy sheriff and held other offices. He dealt in livestock and produce. He was a charter member and officer of the Princeton Fire Company, whose members acted as honor guards for Cooke’s remains. The department’s engine and hose cart were draped in mourning emblems.
“Few men will be more missed in our streets, and certainly none will be more mourned than he,” the Republic noted in Cooke’s obituary. “As a citizen he took an active part in all that pertained to the welfare of the town and was deeply interested in all that affected its progress. As a man F.W. Cooke was a good friend, upright and honest, kindhearted and true – a genial companion, full of good stories and quiet humor – a large hearted man with sympathies broader than party and wider than a creed. His large heartedness was often felt by the poor and needy in a way that made homes joyful and hearts glad. The poor and the friendless and many a stranger in a strange land have good cause to bless his name. His benevolence was without ostentation and his kindness to others without parade.”
When the Congregational church remodeled and installed stained glass windows in 1891, two center windows were memorials to the Rev. W.M. Richards, pastor from 1868-1881, and Cooke.
Cooke’s heirs hired Charles Craw to repair and remodel the building at 435 West Water in 1899 and sold to Herman Gorr for $1,500 in August 1901 (Deeds, Volume 56, Page 363).
Gorr, who became village president, and his wife ran a bakery and restaurant for several years before selling to Harry A. Drake, who had started working at the Washington Street Garage in 1915 as a machinist and “gasoline engine man” shortly before the Perry & Woehlke Ford agency dissolved.
Princeton Republic, July 29, 1915 – “Harry Drake, our garage man, gave a fine exhibition of plank riding on the river last evening. The plank, of very small dimensions only, was attached with long ropes to his fast power launch. A large crowd of people turned out and witnessed the sport.”
Gorr sold the Water Street property to Drake in November 1916 for $500 (Deeds, Volume 76, Page 496). He formed Drake’s Garage Co., razed the old building and erected a new brick building.
Princeton Republic, Nov. 2, 1916 – “The incorporation recently formed by the Drake Garage Co. are now engaged in the construction of a new garage on the old site formerly occupied by Mr. Drake. The building being built with solid brick will be 30×100 in dimensions and will be modern and up to date in every respect. The incorporators are Harry Drake, president; Mrs. Drake, vice president; Herman Lichtenberg, secretary and treasurer.”
Princeton Republic, Dec. 7, 1916 – “The new Drake’s Garage building which has been under construction for the past number of weeks has been completed recently and presents a very fine appearance and greatly adds to the appearance of the neighborhood. The building was constructed of cement and red brick front and is a one-story building. They have the sole agency for the Ford cars in this city and are in receipt of three carloads.”
Drake left Princeton in 1918 for Clintonville and a management position with the Four-Wheel Drive Auto Company, a national leader in four-wheel drive manufacturing. Herman Lichtenberg managed the garage in Princeton and A.A. Krueger managed Drake’s Wautoma branch until he found a buyer.
Princeton Republic, Aug. 15, 1918 – “On last Monday a deal was consummated between Drake Garage Co. and A.E. Schultz, of Kewaunee, whereby the latter became the owner of the former stock, supplies, autos, etc. and will take possession on Monday, Aug. 19. … Mr. Schultz, a former citizen of Neshkoro, has been engaged in the farm implement, auto and auto repair business for a large number of years.”
Princeton Republic, July 24, 1919 – “In a deal recently consummated between A.E. Schultz and Wm. Knaack and Ernest Priebe the latter two become the owners of the former garage business and Ford agency. The business will hereafter be conducted under the firm of Knaack & Priebe. Possession was given immediately, and the two gentlemen have opened their doors for business and are well equipped to take care of the trade in the line of supplies and all kinds of repair work.”
According to the deeds, Drake’s Garage Inc. of Princeton and Wautoma sold the property at 435 West Water Street to Gottlieb Knaack for $3,300 in August 1919 (Deeds, Volume 80, Page 227).
Knaack and Priebe added the Warnke building at 441 to the garage holdings before Knaack sold his interest in the garage and Ford agency to E.H. Priebe in October 1922.
Princeton Republic, August 9, 1928 – “E.H. Priebe has plans completed for an addition to the rear of his Ford service station. The specifications call for a 26 by 50 feet extension. The building will be two stories with basement under the entire new structure. The building will be of tile blocks and fireproof. Then, too, Mr. Priebe intends to improve the east wall of the present building. When fully completed the addition will afford up-to-date storage for cars and a convenient workshop.”
Priebe went under in 1931, though Knaack and his heirs retained the lot and buildings.
Princeton Republic, March 26, 1931 – “At the foreclosure sale last Monday of the E. H. Priebe Ford stock of goods, machinery, etc., Paul Weiske, Ford dealer of Montello, was the successful bidder, his bid amounting to the sum of $3,800. Mr. Weiske purchased the object in view of opening a Ford agency in this city, if arrangements can be completed.”
Princeton Republic, June 18, 1931 – “Weiske Bros., who have secured the Ford agency for this city, are engaged in rearranging the building formerly occupied by E.H. Priebe. Partitions are being constructed and the shelving for the storing of extras are being placed. The basement of the building will be arranged for servicing cars. When fully completed, Weiske Bros., who come here from Montello, can boast of having one of the most complete garages in this section of the country.”
Lydia (Knaack) Priebe sold the west 25 feet from the east 34 feet of Lot 31 to I.J. Craite (Deeds, Volume 113, Page 71) in 1944.
Princeton Times-Republic, April 6, 1944 – “A deal was concluded the first of the week by I. J. Craite for the purchase of the garage building now occupied by the Princeton Motors for storage and automobile paint shop, and formerly occupied by Jule Fenske. Mr. Craite plans to remodel the building and install four bowling lanes. A thirty-foot addition will be built at the rear of the building, a modern heating and air conditioning plant installed, and a new ceiling and a modern front will also be among the improvements. It is expected that work will start on the improvements in a few weeks and that the alleys will be ready for opening about August 1st. … We are informed that Brunswick alleys will be installed.”
Princeton Times-Republic, Sept. 21, 1944 – “Mr. Craite, manager of the new bowling lanes, announced today that everything is complete and ready for the formal grand opening of this bowling establishment Friday, Sept. 29.”
Craite sold the bowling alley in 1946 to Robert Giese (Deeds, Volume 113, Page 368). Giese was a World War II veteran who had been wounded at the Battle of the Bulge. His father, Ralph, helped him with the bowling alley.
Princeton Times-Republic, February 28, 1946 – “Robert Giese announces that he has bought the Craite Bowling Lanes and will take possession Friday. The deal included both building and equipment.”
Giese erected a new neon sign for Bob’s Bowling Lanes in May and a year later installed automatic foul indicators on the lanes.
The Gieses sold to Jacob Schussler in August 1951 (Deeds, Volume 127, Page 389), and Schussler sold to Walter J. Hebbe in 1954 (Deeds, Volume 136, Page 85).
Princeton Times-Republic, Aug. 3, 1951 – “A Milwaukee man, Jacob Schussler, has purchased Bob’s Bowling Lanes in Princeton, it was announced early this week. Mr. Schussler and his son, Jake Jr., will operate the alleys under the name of the Princeton Bowling Alleys. … The alleys will have new semi-automatic pin setting equipment installed before the bowling season starts.”
Princeton Times-Republic, Sept. 2, 1954 – “Walter J. Hebbe, of Fort Atkinson, Wis., has purchased the Princeton Bowling Lanes from Jack Schussler it was announced this week. Mr. Hebbe will take over on Sept. 7. At present Mr. Hebbe is the manager of a 12-lane alley in Fort Atkinson and has had considerable experience in the bowling lane operation.”
Hebbe sold to Leonard and Elaine Anderson, of Montello, for $27,500 in 1961 (Deeds, Volume 161, Page 385).
Princeton Times-Republic, June 29, 1961 – “A route 2, Montello couple, Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Anderson, has purchased the Princeton Lanes from Mr. and Mrs. Walter Hebbe, who have owned the bowling establishment here for the past seven years.”
The lanes changed hands again in January 1975.
Princeton Times-Republic, Jan. 9, 1975 – “Having purchased the Princeton Bowling Lanes on Jan. 2, 1975, we sincerely hope that all the bowlers and our other friends in the entire area will continue to support us in the same friendly atmosphere as was extended by the Andersons. … Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Wenzel.”
Princeton Times-Republic, Jan. 30, 1975 – “Princeton welcomes the two new business owners, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Dorsch, who now have the Aerts Tavern, and Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Wenzel, who since the first of the year have the Princeton Bowling Lanes, formerly owned by Mr. and Mrs. Leonard (Andy) Anderson.”
The Wenzels sold to Jim and Marian Weber, of Berlin, in July 1976. Marvin Wenzel, in a message to his customers, thanked them for their support. “Your patronage was gratefully appreciated,” he said.
Princeton Times-Republic, July 15, 1976 – “Jim and Marian Weber are ready to greet you as the new owners of Weber’s Bowling Lanes and Bar, formerly Princeton Bowling Lanes. … This past week the building took on a brad new Bicentennial look when the exterior was painted a cheerful red, white and blue.”
KSL Lanes, owned by Ken, Shirley and Leann Doman, opened in January 1981 and kept rolling until 2000.
Princeton Times-Republic, Aug. 27, 1981 – “A new look has been created at KSL Lanes in Princeton over the summer months. The blue wall board was removed. Insulation was put in, covered by new dry wall and carpeting installed over the drywall. New acoustical ceiling tile was installed over the lanes. The carpeting and ceiling tile should decrease the chatter of the bowling machine pins and machines. The machine deck heads were painted gold. Walls are light gold with dark gold trim. The lockers, seating benches, ball racks and lane gutters have been painted brown. The new seating arrangement has been established to ease the congestion in the bowling area.”
Princeton Times-Republic, April 15, 1982 – “A new front on the KSL Bowling Lanes has brightened up the block. The reverse board and bat was stained an olive green and extended roof with Fiberglas dimensional shakes was added.”
The Domans were succeeded in January 2000 by Jack and Kathy Kallio doing business as Kat’s Alleys.
“We’d like to say thanks to the people who bowled at our lanes during these 20 years,” the Domans stated in an advertisement in the Times-Republic. “… We will miss all of you.”
Princeton Times-Republic, Aug. 30, 2001 – “Friendly. Fun. Charming. These three words best describe the Princeton bowling alley known as Kat’s Alleys. They also describe Jack and Kathy Kallie, the Princeton couple who purchased the building at 435 W. Water Street in January 2000. ‘There was nothing for kids to do in this town,’ said Jack, explaining their motivation for buying the 57-year-old bowling alley.”
Kat’s Alleys was followed by Stars and Strikes two years later.
Princeton Times-Republic, Sept. 25, 2003 – “Since buying the former Kat’s Alley, Patty Morabito and Matt Schneider have been picking up a few spares – business and bowling pointers, that is, in addition to new friends. The Neshkoro residents purchased the 435 Water Street business on August 15 and reopened on September 2. When coming up with their business name, a brainstorming session found Stars and Strikes to be the most clever handle, said Matt. Patty, a New York native, also wanted a theme for the business based on the gold ol’ U.S. of A., which she felt was also right in line with the Princeton climate.”
433 West Water Street (D’s Dishes)
After purchasing the east 9 feet of Lot 31 and west 12 feet of Lot 32 from Thomas Jakeman in 1883 (Deeds, Volume 47, Page 86), Josiah Whittemore erected a building there for his son William’s jewelry store two years later.
Princeton Republic, April 16, 1885 – “J. Whittemore will soon erect a building just west of Turner Hall. It will be two stories in height and some 40 feet back, and we are promised a pretty nice-looking structure. It will be occupied by Will Whittemore.”
Princeton Republic. July 23, 1885 – “Will Whittemore has taken possession of his new place of business.”
Josiah and Emily Whittemore sold the property at 431 West Water to William for $700 in February 1886 (Deeds, Volume 47, Page 87). William Whittemore sold to William F. Corenke for $1,475 in April 1891 (Deeds, Volume 49, Page 302).
Princeton Republic, April 23, 1891 – “Another change in real estate. Mr. Wm. Whittemore has traded his business property just west of Turner Hall for the home and piece of land belonging to W.F. Corenke, just south of the village plat on Farmer Street.”
Princeton Republic, May 14, 1891 – “A.C. Tubner has opened a sewing machine office in Corenke’s front room, lately occupied by Will Whittemore.”
Corenke was a longtime harness maker in Princeton. He also served as constable and night-watch for the village for a time and in 1897 made headlines after he fired shots at two men trying to break into the Teske & Son store. He had other business interests as well.
Princeton Republic, Oct. 10, 1895 – “Wm. F. Corenke has purchased the merry-go-round which has been running here the past week or two and will go on the road with it next spring. The exact price paid is not state, though we understand it was over $1,000.”
Princeton Republic, Nov. 7, 1895 – “W.F. Corenke’s merry-go-round was the best paying institution in Princeton yesterday (Cattle Fair), not excepting even the saloons. One young man who tried to mount a mustang while the thing was in motion had a narrow escape from serious injury.”
Corenke sold the merry-go-round to a group out of Ripon in July 1896. When Corenke passed in 1910, the property at 431-433 West Water Street passed to his widow, Mary, and daughter, Laura. Laura died of tuberculosis at age 35 in February 1922.
The Corenke candy store became a Princeton institution soon after it opened in 1891. Retired teacher and Princeton native Mabel (Dreblow) Schroeder (1905-1986) penned an essay for the Fond du Lac Reporter reminiscing about the shop for a “Christmas memories” feature in December 1975.
Please bear with me, dear reader. We will get back to the lot and building history shortly, but Schroeder was an accomplished writer, and I wanted to share much of her essay:
“In the narrow, two-story building next to Turner Hall (later the Princeton Theater), Mrs. Corencke had her candy shop. The living quarters were on the second floor with a cheerful sunny kitchen back of the store. They had a lovely view of the Fox River and the grassy marsh on the opposite side.
“Through a door with a latch placed very low, the tinkling bell announced three or more generations of children who had entered Mrs. Corencke’s ‘Story Book Candy Land.’ To the left was the glass case of penny candies. To the right a higher showcase and counter where the 5-cent and 10-cent candies were displayed and where grown-ups could buy rich Jersey cottage cheese and butter, coffee, tea and sugar.
“Mrs. Corencke (or Kranky as the children pronounced it) was a tiny round little woman. Her curly hair had been bright red, but gradually over the years had turned snow white. In the forenoon, she wore a cover-all apron over her gray or blue calico dress; in the afternoon she wore a light-colored blouse, a very full skirt and a crisply starched white apron. Her doll-like feet were encased in proper black Martha Washington slippers.
“The floor of the shop was scrubbed every morning. On wet days it was covered with newspapers. The low glass showcases and the glass in the door were spotlessly clean. Children soon learned to keep their fingers off the glass.
“An older brother or sister introduced you in the proper procedure to follow when you came to spend your penny at the age of 2½ or 3. You stood on tiptoe and placed your penny or pennies on the glass showcase. Then you pointed and asked the price of the newest batch of seasonal candy. All prices were quoted as ‘so many for a penny.’
“Very early you learned not to dawdle over your selection. If you had trouble deciding, your pennies were snatched from the counter, and you found yourself with a square of waxed paper with the least attractive of the assortment of candies on it. No paper bags were used. Squares of paper from the boxes in which the candy had been packed were used. I never heard a child protest when he received this treatment. When he came again, he made up his mind in a reasonable time.
“Somehow this round little lady with her prim and decisive manner earned and received the respect of the children. Some of the bolder ones called her ‘Ole Lady Kranky,’ but we never dared. I never saw her smile, neither did I ever hear her reprimand a child. Her manner spoke for her (or were we just a little bit afraid of her?). Very early every morning she could be seen driving her Jersey cow, with the crumpled horn, to the fenced-in area on Farmer Street, which extended down to the Fox River. Her pale daughter, Laura, tended the store while her mother took care of her chores. In the years after Laura passed away, the little shop was closed for short periods during the day, but the children knew ‘Mrs. Kranky’ would soon open up again. …
“Mrs. Kranky’s was strictly a little kid’s store. At a certain age, we decided we had outgrown the penny candy store and spent our pennies and nickels for penny China dolls or nickel dolls with hair at Frank Mueller’s drugstore. The parrot on his perch intrigued us with his ‘Polly wants a cracker.’
“Our trips to Mrs. Corencke’s store were purely as chaperons for the little kids to teach them the special ritual of buying candy. The furry white windup Santa had nodded his head every year to announce the coming of Christmas. He began to look very tired and moth-eaten, but to each new crop of Mrs. Corencke’s customers he proclaimed the season of red and white candy canes. … Do children today know about licorice … babies, miniature bottles made of paraffin and filled with colored syrup (after sipping the sweet syrup, you chewed the paraffin bottle), licorice whips and those long, long sticks of O.K. gum and marshmallow rabbits with pink ears? I have my mother’s autograph book where each autograph verse was set apart by gayly colored pressed paper flowers. These had come from paraffin hearts which had been a specialty of Mrs. Corencke’s candy store. The dates in the album go back to the late 1880s.
“In the 1930s, my own children trekked to Mrs. Kranky’s just as their grandmother and I had done. Mrs. Corencke’s candy shop taught us to make up our minds or take the consequences for dawdling. We learned not to place sticky fingers on glass showcases. Our voices were lowered when we entered that clean, little room. Even today I can close my eyes and smell the clean, sweet candy smell of that candy store.”
For a time, Dr. Charles Powers had his dental office upstairs at 431 West Water. Powers was badly injured in a train accident at the Princeton depot in February 1918. He was hospitalized in Oshkosh for three months, then laid up at home for more than a year. He sued the Chicago & North Western Railroad, which settled for $11,500. Powers was unable to fully return to work and moved to Milwaukee a few years later.
His daughter, Leona Powers Miller, recalled the accident for the Princeton Times-Republic in April 1978, after she returned to town for the first time in 57 years.
“The draymen that used to be there, one of them brought my father home when the train wreck was right there at the depot. The passenger train was at the depot, the switch was not right, so instead of passing on the other side track, it hit the passenger train and split it half in two. My father even worked in his office on crutches. He was in a wheel chair first.”
Miller said she was 12 when the family departed for Milwaukee. Her other memories of Princeton included Kalupa’s bakery, minstrel shows at the old movie house, the pop factory, a Tom Thumb wedding photographed at the Janson studio on Short Street, their home by the pickle factory and more.
Mary Corenke died in November 1947 at age 92. At the time of her death, she was the oldest living native-born resident of Princeton.
Mary Corenke sold the property at 431 West Water Street to R.H. and Agnes Marvin in June 1938 (Deeds, Volume 103, Page 34). The Mosolf radio shop was located there in 1939.
Princeton Times-Republic, April 4, 1940 – “Princeton has a new shoe repair shop located next to the theatre in the building formerly occupied by Mosolf Electric, the shop is conducted by Edw. Manthey, who comes here from Milwaukee.”
Manthey moved after about a year. The only other thing I know about the Marvins, or their tenure at 531, is that they sold to Leonard and Adeline Gruber for $2,000 in June 1944 (Deeds, Volume 108, Page 546).
Princeton Times-Republic, June 22, 1944 – “Leonard Gruber, proprietor of Gruber’s Restaurant, has bought the property known as the Corenke building, located next to the theatre, and plans to occupy it with his restaurant.”
Gruber did not begin remodeling the old store until October and moved the following spring.
Princeton Times-Republic, April 19, 1945 – “The Grubers are now located in their new restaurant building next to the theatre where new equipment and a long lunch bar will enable them to give much quicker service than in their old location.”
Princeton Times-Republic, October 10, 1946 – “Leonard Gruber announces that he has sold his restaurant equipment to the owners of the Princeton Café, and Mrs. Gruber will occupy the building with a new enterprise the nature of which she is not ready to announce at this time.”
Princeton Times-Republic, October 24, 1946 – “Saturday, October 26th, is the date set for the formal opening of Princeton’s newest business enterprise, Gruber’s Smart Shop, Mrs. Leonard Gruber, proprietor. The lines will include ladies’ dresses, suits, blouses, sweaters, etc. Ladies under furnishings, hosiery, aprons, hats, shoes, gloves and gift items for infants including blankets, shoes, buntings, sox and related lines will also be featured at the new store. The store has been completely redecorated and refurnished and rates as one of Princeton’s most attractive stores.”
This completes our first 100 years (1848-1948) survey of Water Lot 31.
The Grubers sold the property for $10,000 to Reinhold and Leona Eickelmann in January 1950 (Deeds, Volume 123, Page 481).
Princeton Times-Republic, Feb. 2, 1950 – “Smart Shop will move to a new location in the near future, Mrs. Len Gruber announced this week. The building now housing the Smart Shop has been sold to Reinhold Eickelmann who last week purchased the (Lloyd) Marquardt Dairy business. No definite date has been set for moving. Mrs. Gruber plans to move her shop and consolidate it into an infants, toddlers and ladies lingerie mart. The new shop will be located in the former Marie Jordan home located at the rear of Swed’s store. They have planned extensive remodeling of the building to make it into combination living and store quarters. Eickelmann is planning to operate a dairy bar in his new location next to the theater sometime this spring. The dairy bar will be run in connection with his new dairy business, the Princeton Dairy.”
Princeton Times-Republic, April 27, 1950 – “Reinhold Eickelmann is completing the remodeling of his store building where he hopes to open a dairy bar in the very near future. He also plans on having a game room in connection with the bar.”
He later converted the dairy bar into a grocery store, Reinie’s.
Princeton Times-Republic, July 10, 1952 – “It was announced here today that Reinie’s Food Mart will open for business on Tuesday. The Food Mart is located in the same building in which Reinie ran the Dairy Bar for two years. Reinie Eickelman will be returning to the grocery business after an absence of two years. Before moving to Princeton and opening the Dairy Bar, he ran a grocery store at Silver Lake.”
Princeton Times-Republic, April 28, 1955 – “On Friday a big semi-trailer truck backed up in front of Reinie’s Food Market on Water Street and the official change over to a Red Owl Agency store started taking place. … The layout of the new Red Owl Agency store, Reinie told us early this week, enables him to display considerably more merchandise for his customers and includes much new display space and a completely new produce rack.”
He switched from Red Owl to AG Foods in 1958.
Princeton Times-Republic, Jan. 17, 1963 – “Reinie Eickelmann, owner of Reinie’s AG Store in Princeton for the past decade, announced this week that he’s selling out his business and will re-locate in a brand new store at Fox Lake, about February 1st. The surprise move was brought about by Eickelmann’s desire to expand his business to a larger store with more parking space, neither of which was available at his present location on Water Street. … During his first two years in Princeton, he operated a dairy bar and then went into the grocery business. He was connected with the Red Owl chain for several years and for the past five years has been associated with AG Foods.”
Joanne Long opened Joanne’s Salon of Beauty in May 1973 and held a grand opening in June. She retired in 1993.
Princeton Times-Republic, Jan. 7, 1993 – “After 20 years of serving the community, Joanne Long, owner of Joanne’s Salon on Water Street in Princeton, has retired. Her last official day at work was Saturday, January 2. Joanne came to Princeton from Illinois in 1970 to be closer to her family and began working as a hair stylist at Fern’s in Berlin. In May of 1973, she decided to take the big step and started her own business. She has been in business ever since.”
Karen Clewein purchased Long’s former salon.
Princeton Times-Republic, Jan. 28, 1993 – “Karen’s Klips and Kurls, Karen Clewien, proprietor, formerly Joanne’s, would like to invite you to set up an appointment and get your in-shop special from February 2 through February 13.”
I’ll update this post with more recent information as my research continues. Please let me know if you can fill in any of the gaps.
Diane Van Abel opened D’s Dishes, a dog grooming business, in 2020 and closed in 2023.
“I love you all, with all of my heart,” Diane announced on Facebook on July 31, 2023. “Three years and five months, with a supportive push from my husband, I ventured out on my own and started D’s Dishes Dog Grooming here in Princeton. My focus was to provide a stress free environment for every dog and dog family so they would receive the best care possible and the results have been astounding. … It is with a very heavy heart that I am informing you that I will be closing my business at the end of this summer so my husband and I can move to Florida.”
Thank you for reading and caring about local history.