Today we conclude our survey of the first 100 years (1848-1948) of the lots and buildings in the 400 block of West Water Street with a look at Water Lots 33 and 34.
Because the building at Water and Short streets – today home to Short Street Market – bears addresses for both streets, 427 and 201, respectively, I made the executive decision that the entire lot qualifies for our Water Street survey.
Plus, I was confused by the boundaries between Lots 33 and 34 and wanted to finish following the path of the 1880 fire that destroyed 11 buildings, so I made another decision to add much of the Lot 34 history as well.
You might want to get a cup of coffee or tea, bottle of beer or glass of wine, because this will be a lengthy post. While most of these lot surveys come together in about three to four days, this one took over a week.
We will begin our survey of Water Lot 33 as we have with all the others: Henry Treat purchasing the land that would become Princeton’s original plat from the U.S. government in June 1849.
Treat divided Lot 33 among Charles Stacy ($55, Deeds, Volume C, Page 279) in February and Albert Hopkins ($40, Deeds, Volume D, Page 83) and Samuel Holland ($24, Deeds, Volume C, Page 145) in April.
I am not going to trace the entire deeds trail because it is lengthy and confusing, at least to me, because of shifting parcel boundaries and even a disparity in the Lot 33-34 lines on the trusty Sanborn fire insurance maps. Lot 33 was divided into as many as six parcels at one point. Also, two of the trails started with Treat’s sales end in sheriff auctions due to nonpayment of taxes before the parcels are developed.
Instead of listing all the deeds, I will list the most significant transactions for the individual parcels below.
Also, as there are now no buildings with street numbers between Short Street Market at 201 and the house at 213, I have created numbers for buildings that existed prior to the 1880 fire to show how the property was divided. Please consider them placeholders rather than addresses.
After reducing everything from the Hubbard House at the southeast corner of Water and Washington streets to Turner Hall west of the corner of Water and Short Streets to ashes, the fire of 1880 swept up Short Street, through Water Lot 33, destroying the Dantz building, Charlie Hesse’s wagon and blacksmith shop, Tim Paull’s icehouse, a house belonging to Paull and occupied by Chris Piper, and a small barn used by Piper.
“Mrs. Dantz’s building had not been occupied for some months,” the Republic reported following the fire. “A considerable household furniture was stowed away in the building, but we think the most of it was saved. Loss, $800. She held an insurance of $500. …
“Charlie Hesse’s wagon shop was occupied by H. Rose as a paint shop. Several buggies that were in the building and a number of other articles stored, were saved. In the blacksmith department a pair of bellows and some other articles were lost. Just how much we were unable to learn. Loss on building $650. No insurance.
“Tim Paull’s icehouse is also among the ruins. The building was erected early in the winter at a cost of about $400. No insurance. In addition to the loss of building can be counted the loss incurred by more or less melting of ice, of which article about 150 cords were stored in the building. Tim is obliged to secure the ice which is trouble and expense amounting to quite a sum. The house and barn on the same lot were both destroyed at a loss of perhaps $400. Insurance, $375. Chris Piper occupied the house and barn. He saved horse buggies, etc. from the latter building but most of his household goods were destroyed. Piper’s loss reaches some $400 upon which he had insurance of $200.”
It took years to rebuild.
Dentist Horace Straight filled the corner with the “flatiron” building in 1889.
Oscar Tassler built a bottling plant south of 201 Short Street, on part of the former Bentley and McIntyre properties in 1901.
Paull rebuilt his icehouse shortly after the fire but moved it off the lot in 1883. Fred Ellinger built a large two-story house in 1886 and Fred Caldwell erected a photo studio in 1893.
Richard Miller built a house at 219 Short Street in 1901 and cigar factory at 223 Short Street in 1903. Other than the bottling works and icehouse, the buildings are still in use today.
427 West Water Street | 201 Short Street
The history of early Princeton published by the Princeton Republic in 1869 states the first building on Water Lot 33, a saloon, was erected in the early 1850s but moved after a short time to the 500 block of Water Street: “The ninth building in which was to be stowed, and afterwards sold to the needy dwellers in and around the growing village of Princeton, the wherewith to protect them from the inclemency of Wisconsin winters, was put up by one R. Williamson, a worthy champion of the goose. This building stood upon the ground now occupied by Mr. Bentley’s unfinished warehouse, near Mr. McIntyre’s blacksmith shop, and was occupied for a time by D.H. Waite with a stock of dry goods but was afterwards purchased by LaFayette Fisher and moved to its present site on Water Street.”
I believe, but am less than certain, that the Fisher building stood at about the corner of Water and Short streets, probably fronting Short Street. After Fisher moved his store to the 500 block of Water, the 33-foot lot at Water and Short remained vacant until well after the 1880 fire.
The property was sold at auction to Judge Abram H. Myers in February 1887 (Deeds, Volume 42, Page 568). He sold to Chris Piper in October 1888 (Deeds, Volume 46, Page 146).
Dentist Horace Straight decided to fill that cavity in April 1889.
Straight had moved to Princeton from Montello in March 1885 and opened a dental office in the 500 block of Water.
Princeton Republic, May 7, 1885 – “That cocaine used by Dentist Straight gives great satisfaction when applied.”
Princeton Republic, June 25, 1885 – “A party of two doctors, two Negroes and a white man (no reflection on doctors), claiming to represent a medical establishment in Milwaukee, arrived at Princeton Tuesday. In the evening, the doctors made speeches, and the rest of the party fiddled and sang songs. … The doctors claimed they could draw teeth by electricity without pain. The statement was tested the following morning. Fred Nye presented himself as a subject on which to apply their electrical skill. The experiment did not prove a success, Fred declaring he don’t want any more electrical disturbance about his molars. As a matter of fact, Dentist Straight, of this village, had to pull the teeth.”
Straight moved his office to the Harmon block (441 West Water) in August and over the next couple of years kept pace with the latest technology while building a business that soon required additional space.
Princeton Republic, Jan. 7, 1886 – “Dentist Straight has just received an apparatus to be applied as a local anesthesia in extracting teeth without pain.”
Princeton Republic, March 18, 1886 – “Frank Merrill, Ed. Frank and Dentist Straight are among the first to have private telephone erected extending from their places of business to their residences.”
Princeton Republic, Nov. 25, 1886 – “Dentist Straight runs a dental engine in his office now. It is a complete piece of machinery and does the business thoroughly.”
Meanwhile, Judge Abram H. Myers had purchased the northwest 33 feet of Lot 33 fronting on Short Street at auction for unpaid taxes for $100.02 in February 1887 (Deeds, Volume 42, Page 568). Myers sold the property to Chris Piper in October 1888 (Deeds, Volume 46, Page 146).
The newspaper announced in March 1889 that Straight had purchased the lot from Piper ($300, Deeds, Volume 46, Page 182) and planned to erect a new building on the flatiron lot.
Princeton Republic, March 21, 1889 – “Chris Piper commenced the foundations of that new building he intends erecting just east of Turner Hall for Dentist Straight, who has purchased the property from Piper.”
Straight, who had been joined by his brother Melvin in 1887, moved into the new dental parlors about May 1.
Straight bought out his brother’s interest in the practice in July 1889 (Deeds, Volume 46, Page 222) and purchased the 48-foot lot south of his office from Ione Bentley for $300 in September 1891 (Deeds, Volume 49, Page 448).
Princeton Republic, July 9, 1891 – “Dr. Straight has sent for a ‘gas’ outfit for his dental office and proposes to extract teeth without pain. He has also supplied his office with new apparatus for filling teeth. … Dr. Straight has invested in a new $15 machine a little larger and longer than a man’s finger that pounds gold into the hollow cavity of a demoralized tooth with a stroke more rapid than a patent sausage chopper. Straight will soon have a gas machine too that will help pull teeth with a pleasure to the victim that will provide a perfect picnic. We predict there won’t be teeth enough left in this section in a year or two to hold a corn cob pipe if they were all put together. … Dentist Straight has commenced performing wonders with that gas at his office. He puts people to sleep and when they awake their mouths feel as empty as a church contribution box.”
Princeton Republic, May 4, 1893 – “H.L. Straight, our Princeton dentist, has applied for a patent on a class of work called ‘bridge work.’ He claims for his invention that it is not only as substantial as the old way of putting in the work but can be done much cheaper.”
Straight, who built and owned a small steamboat yacht named the Kittie Clyde with John Hall, added nearly 30 feet to his building in 1893.
Princeton Republic, Feb. 23, 1892 – “The building prospects in Princeton next season are flattering. Besides a church and parsonage in contemplation of being erected, H.L. Straight will add a very material improvement to his office. He contemplates adding largely to the room he now occupies and adding another story, making a fine room for renting. The building will be placed on a substantial stone foundation, be heated by a furnace in the basement and made very complete in its appointments. It will be a decided improvement to that corner. The stone for the foundation is already on the ground.”
Princeton Republic, May 11, 1893 – “Tim Paull has raised the roof of Dentist Straight’s office to a height that will correspond with the new addition that is being erected.”
Princeton Republic, June 29, 1893 – “Dr. Straight’s new building, which has been under the process of erection, has at last been completed and accepted from the hands of Charley Craw, who had the contract to erect it. The lower floor is devoted exclusively to the large dental business of Dr. Straight. It is divided up into a reception room, an operating room, and a room for working. In addition to the fine chair Dr. Straight already possessed, he has just purchased another $100 one, so that his assistant, Mr. Brett, will have a chair, and all wanting teeth extracted or filled can be promptly waited on. The reception and operating rooms are nicely carpeted and well-furnished otherwise. Indeed, the establishment is first-class in every particular and cozy and pleasant for those who may be delayed in securing dental services at once. While speaking of the building we will remark that the upper rooms will soon become the cozy home of the Republic. They have been arranged with that design in view and will make a home where the friends of the Republic will always be welcomed at $1.50 a year, or any other condition that suits them. Please call on us anyhow.”
Straight included his Short Street property in a trade involving a farm and $1,500 with William H. Bailey in 1897 (Deeds, Volume 53, Page 508). Bailey sold the lot to Washington Whittemore for $1,000 in April 1900 (Deeds, Volume 58, Page 371), and Dr. Straight took back his building.
Princeton Republic, April 26, 1900 – “Dr. Straight has purchased the building now occupied by him. The doctor formerly owned the building, but a few years ago traded it for his farm in the town of St. Marie.”
Princeton Republic, Sept. 19, 1901 – “E.R. Beebe has started a job printing business in the rooms above Straight’s dental parlor.”
Princeton Republic, Sept. 19, 1901 – “Straight has new Weber sanitary porcelain fountain spittoon. It is attached to the wall and water for flushing comes from a tank above the supply pipe entering through the side of the bowl, the waste pipe carrying water through floor into basement.”
Straight announced plans to leave Princeton in May 1902. He and his wife, Edith, planned to take a long vacation to visit relatives in Pennsylvania and New York, by way of Niagara Falls, and then head west to spend time at Yellowstone Park before settling about Sept. 1 in Milwaukee where Straight had an interest in a dental supply company.
“Dr. Straight is always in for the growth and social and business advancement of our city,” the Republic said, noting he was secretary of the electric light company and “has done much toward making electric lights in our city possible.”
He was also a longtime member of the board of education and local corporate boards, and he was involved in the local sports scene.
“He endeared himself to young and old while here and he was always ready to help business and social enterprises,” according to the Republic. “In his business dealings he was upright and honest. He is a skilled dentist and had an enormous trade. … His leaving us casts a dark gloom over the city, which he has always fought for and praised. Everybody is sorry to lose him.”
After his vacation, Straight decided before long not to work at the dental supply house and instead opened an office in Markesan. He was succeeded by Drs. Alfred G. Giese, Straight’s former assistant, and Wilson J. Adsit in Princeton.
Princeton Republic, Oct. 30, 1902 – “Drs. Giese and Adsit have formed a new dental firm and are located one door east of the Turner Hall.”
Straight sold his building for $1,000 to Adsit (Deeds, Volume 56, Page 179), who sold it to Giese for $1,025 in December 1902 (Deeds, Volume 56, Page 188) and continued his practice to Westfield.
Giese also bought the 63-foot Straight lot for $1,000 from Whittemore (Deeds, Volume 61, Page 95), who sold the remaining 18 feet to Oscar Tassler for $260 (Deeds, Volume 58, Page 580).
Straight died in 1932, at age 72, at his daughter’s home in Florida.
Giese, who had assisted Straight before attending college in Milwaukee, was born in Dane County but moved with his father, Otto, and family to Princeton at a young age. He attended the local schools and in 1891 landed a job with druggist Richard Mueller.
“Alfred is a good boy and under the instructions of his employer, there is no doubt but what Alfred will become a first-class druggist,” the Republic predicted.
Giese had other ideas. He worked as an assistant to E.T. Frank at the post office in 1893 and then went to work for Straight.
Princeton Republic, Jan. 26, 1899 – “A.G. Giese, who has worked with dentist H.L. Straight for a number of years, started for Kansas City to enter the college of dental surgery there.”
Straight passed an exam to become a member of senior class.
Princeton Republic, Sept. 19, 1901 – “Frank Straight and Alfred Giese went to Milwaukee Saturday where they will take a course in the Milwaukee Medical and Dental College.”
Giese was among the early “wheel men” in Princeton and participated in various bicycle tours and races. He was also among the early “autoists” and a founding member of an auto club intent on helping improve area roads.
Princeton Republic, March 3, 1910 – “Dr. A. G. Giese has purchased a beautiful Buick Touring Car of the Princeton Auto Co. of which B. Shew and V. Yahr are co-partners. It is a substantial machine, and we have reason to believe that the doctor and his family will enjoy many pleasant outings in this modern motor this season. We congratulate our worthy dentist on the purchase of this new modern up to date car.”
Giese was also an accomplished musician.
Princeton Republic, Dec. 10, 1896 – “That Princeton can boast of one of the finest orchestras in the state goes without telling t those who have ever listened to their music. The leader, Mr. Dumdie, has few rivals as a violinist; that Alfred Giese knows how to make a guitar talk, Princetonites will vouch for that; that Gus Weinkauf can play a cornet to perfection no one can deny; and if there is one thing in this world Frank Drill understands it is how to play a bass viol.”
Giese played in other bands as well and led the Princeton Harp Orchestra in 1907.
Giese’s building got a new tenant in 1934.
Princeton Republic, March 15, 1934 – “The public library, which for the past year has been located in the American Legion rooms (545 West Water Street), is now being moved to the rooms above Dr. Giese’s dental office. These rooms have been redecorated and make a very pleasant and roomy library.”
(The library moved across the street to 432 West Water in the 1940s.)
Alfred and Gertrude (Lehman-Eggleston) Giese celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in June 1946. They sold the property at 427 West Water Street to Carl and Ralph Mohr for $4,500 in October (Deeds, Volume 113, Page 609).
Princeton Times-Republic, Oct. 17, 1946 – “Dr. A.O. Giese will move his dental office to his home at the corner of Water and Fulton streets. He has sold the building in which he was located for 54 years.” (Giese died in 1957.)
Princeton Times-Republic, October 10, 1946 – “Like-Nu Dry Cleaners have bought the building owned and occupied by Dr. A.G. Giese for many years and will occupy it with their dry-cleaning business. Their plans call for a 25×40 addition to the building. Until the building is completed, they will use the building as a downtown office for receiving work and operate at their present location.”
The Mohrs had opened Like-Nu Dry Cleaners the previous February just west of the Huenerberg gas station at the northwest corner of Dover and Fulton streets.
The Mohrs did not build the addition and sold to Louise Schewe, who for years had operated the American House and a popular tavern, Puggy’s, with her husband, Leo, for $9,000 in July 1947 (Deeds, Volume 114, Page 199).
Princeton Times-Republic, August 21, 1947 – “Don Heffernan of Berlin has leased the old library building, now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Leo Schewe, and plans to occupy it with a dairy bar, which will be opened within a week or so.”
Leo Schewe died in 1947. Louise sold the couple’s tavern in the 600 block of Water in 1948 and made plans to utilize the flatiron building.
Princeton Times-Republic, July 1, 1948 – “Louise Schewe, who recently sold her tavern business to Joe and Frances Hoffman, gave possession of the business to the new owners today. Mrs. Schewe has been associated with the hotel and tavern business here in Princeton for over thirty years and is noted for her culinary skill. Fortunately, Princeton people will not be deprived of her good cooking as she plans to open a restaurant here this fall in her building formerly occupied by Dr. A.G. Giese. In the meantime, she has accepted a position at Little Silver Lake Park, Wild Rose, where she will take charge of the restaurant.”
Schewe opened Puggy’s Lunchette in October 1948, “specializing in short orders and dinners on reservation.”
Princeton Times-Republic, Nov. 25, 1948 – “Louise Schewe had a very narrow escape from suffocation by smoke from a fire which started in the kitchen of her restaurant and home early Friday morning. Mrs. Schewe was awakened at about 4:30 by a cracking noise which apparently came from the first floor and as she opened the stairway door was met with a cloud of smoke which almost overcame her. She then went to the front window which she raised and breaking the storm window was able to get some relief although she was blanketed with the smoke which rushed out through the window. Ralph Giese, who lives in the Hiestand apartments, heard her calls for help and turning in the alarm got a ladder from the Princeton Café which Charles Campbell used to bring Mrs. Schewe down from the second-story window. The firemen responded promptly and soon had the fire under control, although the interior of the kitchen was gutted and the contents, including an expensive range, refrigerator, dishes and other equipment, are a total loss and other contents of the building are badly damaged by the smoke. It is thought that the fire started from an automatic French fryer that became overheated due to the failure of the thermostat control.”
Schewe reopened in January 1949. The government moved in next.
Princeton Republic, May 4, 1950 – “The Green Lake County Production and Administration office will be moved to Princeton early next week … due to lack of space in the courthouse and in the Village of Green Lake. The new location in Princeton will be on Water Street next to the theater in the building housing Puggy’s Lunchette.”
Schewe sold the property to Evelyn Humphrey in November 1952 (Deeds, Volume 130, Page 615), who sold to Alex Bogucke in July 1957 (Deeds, Volume 143, Page 359).
That completes our survey of the first 100 years (1848-1948), plus a few bonus years, of the building at 427 West Water Street and of the 400 block of Water Street. We will continue, however, to follow the fire path through Lot 33.
Moving south …
205 Short Street
Richard Williamson bought the property just south of the Jerome Fisher property at the corner of Water and Short streets for $8.76 at sheriff’s auction for nonpayment of taxes in April 1855 (Deeds, Volume O, Page 546) and sold to Thomas Bentley for $20 in August 1865 (Deeds, Volume 33, Page 434).
Princeton Republic, May 14, 1868 – “Mr. Bentley is about to put up a dry house for hops on his lot just north of McIntrye’s blacksmith shop.”
Princeton Republic, April 10, 1869 – “The new building on Short Street belonging to Mr. Thos. Bentley is rapidly progressing and will be finished in a short time. It will probably be occupied by Mr. R. Hardy, of Berlin, who proposes starting a pump shop.”
I believe, but am less than certain, the building described as the Bentley warehouse under construction in the 1869 history of Princeton and later the anticipated home of a pump store is the building described in reports of the 1880 fire as Mrs. Dantz’s unoccupied house that had been used primarily for storage.
Mahala Dantz purchased the property just north of the corner of Water and Short streets from G.A. and Ione Bentley for $800 in May 1873 (Deeds, Volume 36, Page 331). After the fire, Dantz sold the property back to Ione Bentley for $150 in June 1880 (Deeds, Volume 44, Page 112).
As mentioned above, the property passed to Horace Straight, next William Bailey and then Washington Whittemore, who sold the remaining 18 feet to Oscar Tassler for $260 (Deeds, Volume 58, Page 580) in 1901.
Tassler also purchased an adjacent 44 feet south. His plant would straddle the Bentley and McIntyre lots described in the 1869 history of Princeton and occupied in 1880 by the Dantz building and Hesse-Rose wagon and paint shop.
Princeton Republic, Feb. 21, 1901 – “Oscar Tassler will erect a building for a pop factory on a lot south of Straight’s dental office. … It is to be a 16×26 two-story frame building and he expects to have it completed and be ready for business by April 1st.”
Princeton Republic, Feb. 28, 1901 – “Carpenters commenced work Monday on the building for Oscar Tassler’s pop factory and have the building all enclosed. Will Redman is drilling a well back of the building.”
The work was completed on schedule. Tassler, who had been a fireman for the railroad for 12 years, opened the factory in May.
Princeton Republic, May 1, 1901 – “Oscar Tassler has his bottling works fitted out with the latest improved machinery, which he got into running order yesterday, and is now filling orders for birch beer, root beer, ginger ale, cream beer, lemon sour, orange cider and all kinds of pop.”
By 1902, Tassler, assisted by Otto Messing, had a team on the road making deliveries to Montello, Germania, Neshkoro and Dartford. They also distributed beer from area breweries.
In 1905, Oscar and Mary Tassler sold the Princeton Bottling Works to Theo. and Bertha Dumdie, who had moved to Princeton from Wausau in 1904 to operate the Fox River House boarding house and saloon at 603 West Water Street. The Dumdies paid $2,500 (Deeds, Volume 65, Page 457) for the Short Street property.
Princeton Republic, Feb. 4, 1909 – “Princeton Bottling Works changes hands when the factory owned and operated by Theo. Dumdie for the past two years was transferred to John Shew Jr. He has been associated with his father in the grocery business for the past few years.”
Bertha Dumdie sold to John W. Shew for $1,500 in February 1909 (Deeds, Volume 69, Page 521).
John W. Shew sold the property to his son, John H. Shew, the bottling factory operator, for $1,000 in March 1914. (Deeds, Volume 75, Page 605).
Princeton Republic, June 20, 1918 – “John Shew, our soft drinks manufacturer, has recently installed in his factory a new piece of machinery called Sterilizing Outfit. Same is fully equipped with a paddle which eliminates breakage of the bottles. It has a rinser, a brush and washer, and is operated by steam. The capacity is about 300 bottles. A very strong solution is used in the vat for cleaning the bottles and when taken from the solution, they are elevated into the rinsing tank. Bottles going through a process of this kind are absolutely cleaned in the finest manner possible. … He is one of the first who received a state license.”
The pop company added malt extract and hops to its offerings during prohibition and began selling chocolate malted milk in bottles before Christmas 1926.
Princeton Republic, Oct. 27, 1927 – “John Shew Jr. is the owner of two monkeys which he recently purchased from a Chicago party at Marquette. He has them on display at his pop factory.”
Shew’s crew was busy the night that prohibition ended in 1933, transporting beer throughout the night to the soft drink parlors so they could return to their saloon roots.
Princeton Republic, April 13, 1933 – “‘Prosit!’ ‘Nazdrowie!’ Such expressions were common on last Friday morning when Princeton people gathered here and there to test the 3.2 newly arrived beer. ‘Beer for breakfast.’ This promise was made by John Shew Jr., who is agent for Chief Oshkosh beer, and his customers found their cases on the back porch when they woke up Friday morning.”
Princeton Times-Republic, June 24, 1937 – “Messrs. John Shew and Ted Tanner, of the Princeton Bottling Works, report a substantial increase in business over the same months last year. The bottling department has been operated at full capacity for several weeks, and the sale of Oshkosh and Miller’s beer has shown considerable increase. A new warehouse for the cold storage of beer is being located along side of the bottling plant.”
Princeton Times-Republic, Feb. 29, 1940 – “The Princeton Bottling Works turns out a line of carbonated and still drinks and serves a large territory.”
Shew sold the company and his Short Street property to D.M. and B.N. Moore of Sturgis, Michigan, in July 1946 (Deeds, Volume 113, Page 515).
Princeton Times-Republic, July 18, 1946 – “One of the most important business transactions of recent weeks took place Monday when John Shew sold his bottling works and beer distributing business to D.M. Moore of Sturgis, Michigan. … In the sale of his business Mr. Shew brings to a close over a third of a century of activity as the owner of the Princeton Bottling Works. … John says that he is going to take a real vacation and then will engage in some other line of work.”
Moore did not stay long.
Princeton Times-Republic, Feb. 13, 1947 – “A deal was concluded last Saturday by which Herbert E. Krier of Port Washington becomes the new owner of the Princeton Bottling Works, succeeding Dale Moore who has operated the business since last spring.”
Herbert and Beatrice Krier sold the bottling plant’s two parcels to Anthony J. Ritta Jr. in December 1948. (Deeds, Volume 120, Page 65).
Princeton Times-Republic, Jan. 13. 1949 – “A deal was completed last week by which the ownership of the Princeton Bottling Works was transferred to Robert and Anton Ritta of Milwaukee. The Ritta brothers plan to completely revamp the present bottling plant, install new equipment and manufacture their beverages under a new trade name with the aim of turning out a quality product which will insure the success of their new venture. … Herb Krier, the former owner of the bottling works, has retained his beer distributing business and will occupy his new beer depot at the intersection of Highways 73-23 and County Trunk D.”
Princeton Times-Republic, March 31, 1949 – “Ritta Brothers, proprietors of the Ace-High Bottling Company, formerly the Princeton Bottling Company, announce that they plan to start the production of their new line of Ace-High Beverages in about two weeks. The bottling plant has been completely remodeled, a new syrup room and office room built, all of the old equipment repaired, and considerable new machinery installed.”
The Rittas introduced a new product two months later.
Princeton Times-Republic, May 19, 1949 – “Julep Time Beverages, the newest Princeton product, are making quite a hit. These beverages come in a variety of thirst-quenchers, including orange, lemon, root beer, grape, strawberry and other popular flavors. … These beverages are bottled by the Ace-High Bottling Company, successor to the Princeton Bottling Works.”
Princeton Times-Republic, Feb. 16, 1950 – “Bob Ritta of the Ace High Bottling Company announced early this week that the company will move the bottling equipment to a new location within the next few weeks. Ace High has signed a lease to take over the Herb Swanke building at the edge of town on Highway 23. Ace High, in turn, has leased part of the building to Van Swanson for his feed business. Present quarters of the bottling company are up for sale, according to Ritta. Herb Swanke is closing up his garage business and will announce his plans at a later date.”
The building stood vacant and was razed in 1955.
Princeton Times-Republic, July 21, 1955: “Old landmarks are continuing to fall before wreckers who are working to improve Princeton and remove old structures which have long outlived their usefulness. The Handcraft corporation last week tore down the building immediately north of its plant which was originally used as a livery stable for the old American House hotel. … Another old building, but not as old as the one above, is nearly completely wrecked. It was built about 1900 by Oscar Tassler. … The old equipment is still seen in the old building. Prior to the building on the same site was a building which Wm. Birkholz operated a blacksmith shop and foundry about 83 years ago. Later the building burned down.”
Moving south …
209 Short Street
After purchasing his section of Lot 33 from Henry Treat, Hopkins sold the lot – 12 rods, or about 198 feet! – along Short Street to Waldo and Alvin Flint for $33 (Deeds, Volume R, Page 231).
The Flints sold a 132-foot parcel to Ross Whitman for $500 in September 1855 (Deeds, Volume M, Page 391). Whitman sold to Nelson and Hiram McIntyre for $500 in April 1857 (Deeds, Volume N, Page 388).
The N. & H. McIntyre carriage and blacksmith shop was going strong when the Berlin Courant updated its readers on happenings in Princeton in 1860.
Hiram McIntyre enlisted in Company F of the 36th Wisconsin Infantry as a private in 1864. He was a sergeant when wounded at the Battle of Melon Patch before Petersburg, Virginia, and then promoted to lieutenant for meritorious conduct during a charge on the rebel works.
Nelson McIntyre gave up anvils and axles for sewing machines after the war, but Hiram revived the old business.
Princeton Republic, April 10, 1869 – “R.H. Green, formerly a wagon maker for August Thiel, has commenced business for himself in Hiram McIntyre’s shop.”
Profile of March 12, 1870 – “Hiram McIntyre is pounding away at his anvil which has had very little rest for the last ten years except when, during our late ‘unpleasantness,’ he shouldered his knapsack and with musket and cartridge-box marched to the tune of Liberty – or Yankee Doodle which is the same thing – to the front rank, and is reported to have pounded as faithfully there in the midst of carnage and death as he does here at the old anvil. If you want anything in his line step into his shop on Short St. and you will find all we have said, verified. Wagon making and repairing is also done in the front rooms of H. McIntyre’s block by R.H. Green who understands his biz. We advise all in search of good wagons or who want repairing doe in good shape, to give him a call.”
McIntyre, who was licensed to preach in the Methodist Episcopal Church in Princeton about 1869, passed in November 1873.
William McIntyre sold a portion of the McIntyre lot to Wilhelm Birkholz for $400 in September 1875 (Deeds, Volume 36, Page 441). Johanne Birkholz sold to Simeon Moyer for $365 about a year later (Deeds, Volume 37, Page 139).
Charlie and Amanda Hesse had the misfortune of purchasing a portion of the former McIntyre blacksmith and wagon shop property from Moyer for $590 in 1878 (Deeds, Volume 47, Page 495), two years before the fire. They did not rebuild the wagon and paint shop following the blaze and sold to Arthur Wicks in 1890 (Deeds, Volume 48, Page 541).
George Hamer, a mason and paper hanger and another Civil War veteran, purchased property adjacent to Straight’s lot, about 66 feet along Short Street, from Wicks for $150 in January 1892 (Deeds, Volume 49, Page 580).
Hamer sold for $350 to Sarah Holly (Deeds, Volume 52, Page 408), widow of Myron Holly, who had operated the Holly Portrait Company in Berlin for several years. Fred Caldwell and his wife, Mabel, operated the Princeton studio for Holly, Caldwell’s grandmother.
Princeton Republic, Dec. 21, 1893 – “Fred Caldwell is erecting a building for a photographic gallery on Short Street, just north of Dr. Racek’s residence. Fred has had to buffet snowstorms, blizzards, rain, and cold weather since he has commenced work on the building.”
Princeton Republic, Jan. 18, 1894 – “Remember the new art gallery. Fred Caldwell will give you as near an exact duplicate of your beautiful face as art can make it.”
Princeton Republic, April 12, 1894 – “Artist Caldwell is now erecting rooms to live in in the rear of his art gallery.”
Caldwell rebuilt the gallery in 1898-1899.
Princeton Republic, Feb. 18, 1898 – “Artist Caldwell is having stone piled up in front of his place of business and rumor has it that a new building is contemplated to be commenced soon.”
Princeton Republic, March 31, 1898 – “F.M. Caldwell has disposed of his art gallery and fixtures for one year to Fred. H. Pierce, which includes the rest of the building.”
Princeton Republic, May 25, 1899 – “Artist Caldwell has his building nearly completed and has removed the staging from the same. The building presents a fine appearance.”
When Sarah Holly passed, the property passed to Caldwell, who sold to another photographer, Wm. A. Keys.
Princeton Republic, Nov. 5, 1903 – “W.A. Keys, the photographer, purchased of F.M. Caldwell the fore part of the week, the property in which his gallery is located.”
Although Keys purchased the property, Caldwell continued his business there, giving Princeton neighboring photo galleries. That is why the Sanborn map of November 1904 shows two photo studios!
Princeton Republic, April 14, 1904 – “W.A. Keys will open a photograph gallery here May 1st. He states that he will use a tent until the first of August when his gallery will be completed. He has purchased a fine new photographic outfit.”
Princeton Republic, April 28, 1904 – “W.A. Keys has located his tent photography gallery on the vacant lot adjoining the bottling works and will be prepared to do work in his line in a few days.”
Keys completed his building and advertised his “fine 16×30 tent for sale cheap” in July. He sold a half interest in his studio to Albert Walter a week later.
Caldwell, meanwhile, also found a new tenant for his studio.
Princeton Republic, June 23, 1904 – “Wm. H. Elkington of Acworth, Georgia, has leased the photograph gallery of F.M. Caldwell and has moved his family here.”
Keys combined the two studios into a new building in 1910.
Princeton Republic, March 24, 1910 – “The Keys studio will be closed next week due to the erection of a new and more commodious building.”
The next owner was John Janson, who with Emil Klawitter purchased Victor Yahr’s moving picture show equipment in 1913 and went into show business with movies at Montello on Saturday and the Opera House on Sunday. Janson’s primary occupation was photographer.
Princeton Republic, May 29, 1913 – “Last week John A. Janson purchased the photo gallery of W.A. Keys and will operate the gallery under the name of J.A. Janson in the future. Mr. Janson is an artist in the business of photography. He was in the business in Milwaukee for 15 years where he was considered one of the leading men in the photo art. He has been associated with W.A. Keys here for the past eight years.”
There is an interesting anecdote about Janson’s time in Princeton in my book. He visited Princeton for the first time on a Cattle Fair Day in March – the busiest day of the year – and was so impressed that he immediately bought the studio. The next day the town was empty. But Janson stayed on for more than a decade.
Princeton Republic, July 2, 1925 – “In a deal consummated last Tuesday between J.A. Janson and A.F. Andrews, the latter takes over the photograph gallery of the former. Mr. Andrews has been located in Oshkosh and has been in the photo business for the past thirty years and has gained an excellent reputation because of his fine work. He takes immediate possession.”
Princeton Republic, Oct. 1, 1925 – “Mr. Andrews, photographer, who has recently acquired the ownership of the J.A. Janson photograph building and took possession a number of weeks ago, has sold the building to Stanish Lese last Monday. Mr. Andrews retained the photograph outfit and will remain in the building and follow the business.”
A.F. and Carried Andrews sold the property to Stanish Lese in September 1925 (Deeds, Volume 87, Page 164) but retained the business and leased the gallery to Amory A. Miller of the Miller Studio in Fond du Lac.
I believe, but am less than certain, Andrews operated the last photo studio in the building before Lese converted it to apartments.
Lese sold the property to Hyman Swed in June 1938 (Deeds, Volume 101, Page 243). Swed remained the landlord for the remainder of our survey.
Princeton Times-Republic, July 17, 1947 – “Fred N. Caldwell, a former Princetonian, now of Venice, Illinois, was a Princeton visitor over the weekend meeting and greeting old friends and attending the Old Friends Reunion held at the City Park Sunday. Mr. Caldwell operated a photo studio here in the nineties and was located in the building next door to the bottling works which is now used as an apartment house. During those lively years in the nineties and at the turn of the century, Mr. Caldwell took quite an active part in the presentation of home talent plays and the promotion of Fourth of July and other celebrations. He was a member of the Turners and had the distinction of being the only non-German speaking member of the organization. Mr. Caldwell also gave play to his artistic talent in some very fine oil panels on the walls of the Turner tap room, now the basement of the Princeton Theatre.”
The building housed Fink Upholstery in the 1950s.
Moving south …
213 Short Street
The building at 213 Short Street has always been a residence and the parcel’s boundaries have not changed since 1886, so it was the easiest section of Water Lot 33 to trace.
T.J. and Katie Paull purchased much of the remainder of the McIntyres’ former Short Street property from Isabell (McIntyre) Shipley for $400 in December 1879 (Deeds, Volume 40, Page 476).
The last three buildings destroyed the following spring in the fire of 1880 were in this southern part of Water Lot 33: Paull’s icehouse and a residence and barn he rented to Chris Piper.
The icehouse was 30 by 60 feet and 16 feet high. At one point in January 1880, 12 to 15 men working with three or four teams of horses handled 20 to 30 cords of ice per day. Paull floated his ice from Fisher’s bayou downstream to opposite his icehouse.
Princeton Republic, Jan. 22, 1880 – “Tim Paull is building a slide to take ice from the river into his icehouse. The ice is cut in a bayou and floated down to the tramway.”
Following the fire three months later, during which Paull was injured when a large chunk of frozen sawdust fell on his foot while he was recovering ice left exposed by the blaze, Paull was among the first to rebuild. But he sold the lot to John Radtke for $175 in April 1883 (Deeds Volume 44, Page 245).
“Princeton Republic, April 12, 1883 – John Radtke has purchased Tim Paull’s lot where the ice-house stands and will build a residence thereon. Tim, in the future, will move his ice building to other property he owns in Princeton.”
Radtke sold a narrow rectangular slice of the property to Fred Ellinger for $150 in May 1886 (Deeds, Volume 47, Page 119).
Princeton Republic, June 17, 1886 – “F. Ellinger has commenced the erection of a residence on the lot he recently purchased of John Radtke on Short Street.”
Princeton Republic, Nov. 3, 1887 – “F. Ellinger rents the fine house he vacates on Short Street to Mr. A.F. Moser, one of our lumber and hardware merchants.”
Princeton Republic, 1892 – “Dr. and Mrs. Racek have taken possession of that substantial residence on Short Street just vacated by conductor J.H. Burns, who moved into new residence erected by Gene Smith.”
Ellinger sold the property and house to Dr. G.J. Racek for $1,200 in November 1896 (Deeds, Volume 53, Page 384).
Princeton Republic, Aug. 13, 1897 – “Dr. Racek and family are back in their own home on Short Street. The house has been handsomely improved and remodeled by mason, carpenter and painter, and is complete with new furnace, etc.”
Princeton Republic, Aug. 31, 1899 – “Dr. Wentlandt and wife of Springfield, Ill., were arrivals last week and are living in Dr. Racek’s house. Dr. Wentlandt will practice medicine here, filling the vacancy caused by the departure of Dr. Racek.”
The Raceks moved to Colorado but then returned to Princeton when the doctor’s health improved.
Princeton Republic, Nov. 6, 1902 – “Mrs. Dr. Racek has the distinction of being the first lady that voted at a general election in Princeton. She cast her vote at 3 o’clock p.m.”
Dr. Wendlandt died in 1909, and Martha Wentlandt sold the property to George V. Kelley, superintendent of schools for Green Lake County, for $2,375 in January 1911 (Deeds, Volume 70, Page 590). The Kelleys sold to Michael and Caroline Knaack for $2,850 in June 1913 (Deeds, Volume 75, Page 45).
Caroline Knaack sold to Gustav J. Knaack for $2,800 in December 1924 (Deeds, Volume 85, Page 617). The family owned the property at least into the 1950s. The last document I checked was the probate court record of the will of G.J. Knaack, which included the Short Street property, in 1950 (Deeds, Volume 126, Page 191).
Moving south …
219 Short Street
Dr. G.J. Racek sold the former Fred Ellinger house and lot to Dr. Gustav Wentlandt for $2,000 in April 1899 (Deeds, Volume 58, Page 25) and purchased the property south of his residence owned by Washington Whittemore for $1,200 (Deeds, Volume 55, Page 499).
Princeton Republic, April 13, 1899 – “Dr. Racek purchased the (Gustav) Knoop property, lying south of his residence, Monday.”
Racek sold the property to Richard Miller in 1901 for $1,000 (Deeds, Volume 60, Page 25).
Princeton Republic, Feb. 21, 1901 – “Richard Miller of Kiel has purchased the Dr. Racek property south of Dr. Wendlandt’s residence. He intends to build a new residence and will move his family here the latter part of April and will engage in the cigar business with A.E. Ziebell.”
Ziebell had opened a cigar manufactory in the John Pahl building on Water Street in March 1896, moved to the west side a few months later and had built a strong business as A.E. Ziebell & Co. (Arthur and Rudolph Ziebell) before Rudolph departed and Miller arrived.
Princeton Republic, April 18, 1901 – “R.H. Miller and Henry Mesch of Kiel were guests of A.E. Ziebell from Monday until Wednesday. Mr. Miller will move here the fore part of next month and will engage in the cigar manufacturing business with A.E. Ziebell. They intend to commence work on their new factory building south of Dr. Wendlandt’s residence about the first of next month.”
Princeton Republic, August 8, 1901 – “R.H. Miller’s building on Short Street is now in shape to hint what we may expect when completed. It will prove a magnificent house.”
Princeton Republic, Oct. 24, 1901 – “Ziebell & Miller have moved their cigar factory into the second story of the building (219 West Water) just erected by Mr. Miller. Mr. Miller and his family will occupy the lower part as a residence.”
Ziebell and Miller dissolved their partnership in July 1902. Miller bought out Ziebell’s interest and began doing business under the name R.H. Miller.
223 Short Street
“Princeton Republic, April 12, 1883 – “John Radtke has purchased Tim Paull’s lot where the ice-house stands and will build a residence thereon. Tim, in the future, will move his ice building to other property he owns in Princeton.”
Princeton Republic, August 14, 1890 – “Gene Smith has rented the residence belonging to John Radtke situated on Short Street.”
Radtke sold the Short Street residence to Gustav Knoop in 1892. The trail seems murky to me, but it appears the house passed along with the property from Knoop to Washington Whittemore (Deeds, Volume 55, Page 283), to G.J. Racek (Deeds, Volume 55, Page 499), to Richard Miller (Deeds, Volume 60, Page 25).
Gene Smith purchased the house Radtke had built in 1883 from Miller in May 1902 and moved it to Howard Street to get it out of the way of Miller’s next project.
Princeton Republic, April 16, 1903 – “R.H. Miller the manufacturer of cigars has constructed a new and modern cigar shop on Short Street near his beautiful dwelling.”
Even as former employees such as William Huenerberg, Bill Schroeder and Gust Hoffman, and later Ziebell, started competing factories, Miller’s business at 223 Short Street continued to grow.
Princeton Republic, July 22, 1909 – “On account of his growing trade R.H. Miller, the proprietor of the Princeton Cigar Factory, has recently built a substantial addition to his factory on Short Street. The new building is 28 by 30 with two stories. The upper story is being used for the drying and storing room and the first floor for work room and office. It is a find building built in modern factory style with good light and sanitary in every particular. The new building is double the size of the old one. Mr. Miller has been in business here the past eight years. He is a staunch and careful businessman, one who everybody respects and trusts for his business honesty and integrity. He is always in for things that are in the best interest of the city. He has gradually added to his force until he has at present ten hands employed in the work. He spends part of his time on the road selling. He is steadily increasing the quantity and also the quality of the output and manufactures a high grade of 5 and 10 cent goods. In all he manufactures 20 different brands. It is a fine industry, well conducted and turning out a product that equals if not excels the products of the best factories of the state.”
During this time Miller had six men “at the bench” rolling cigars and two helpers. His most popular brands were Paz de Oro, Royal Gem, Frisky Widow, Little Chief and Miller’s Special.
Princeton Republic, June 22, 1911 – “R. H. Miller, who has conducted a very successful cigar business on Short Street for the past eight years has sold a half interest in his business to his son Hugo and after July 1st the business will be operated under the firm name of R.H. Miller & Son. The junior member of the firm has been in the employ of his father for the past seven years and is well versed in every phase of the business.”
The cigar business passed to another generation in 1934.
Princeton Republic, Jan. 11, 1934 – “R. H. Miller & Son cigar factory, recently underwent a change in proprietorship. The factory conducted by R. H. Miller and son, Hugo, for the past number of years have turned over the establishment to Edwin Miller who will conduct the business in the future.”
Richard Miller passed in 1934 at age 69. The Princeton Times caught up with Edwin Miller a year later to see how the Miller Cigar Company was faring.
Princeton Times, Aug. 1, 1935 – “This is one of the old established enterprises in Princeton, taken over by the late R.H. Miller in 1901 and which for years did a large business throughout this section of the state. Then came the depression coupled with a falling off in the number of cigar smokers and, as a consequence a slump in the cigar business. However, the past few months have brought a fine increase in the volume of sales of Miller cigars. They have recently added a new brand, The Club House, which sells for five cents, and which has found a fine reception from discriminating cigar smokers. Then their old standbys – White Birch and White Seal, five cent sellers; and Paz De Oro, which sells for ten cents – are all being made in much larger volume than for several years. Only the best grade of Connecticut Shade Grown wrappers are used for the five-cent brands. The highest grades of Havana and Java wrappers are used for their ten-cent line. ‘Miller cigars are made to draw freely and burn evenly’ is the slogan used by this firm which is certainly descriptive of the qualities which no doubt account for the increasing popularity of their lines.”
Princeton Times-Republic, Jan. 13. 1944 – “The Miller Cigar Company is another Princeton enterprise that is doing a capacity business, thanks to the high quality of its product and the enterprise of its management.”
The company was still promoting its Paz de Oro in 1948 when Princeton celebrated the centennial of its founding. “It was fifty years ago last month that we started to make this famous cigar and during all those years only the very best of tobaccos available have gone into it,” according to the company’s advertisement in July.
That completes our survey of the first 100 years (1848-1948) of Water Lot 33 and 34. I have not confirmed when the cigar factory closed but hope to document that information when my research extends deeper into the 20th century.
I will continue to update and add details on all the Lots O’ History posts as my research progresses into the 1950s and beyond. Please let me know if you have any corrections or can fill in any gaps.
Thank you for reading and caring about local history.
UPDATE: Debb McCugh Weddle shared on Facebook on June 25, 2021, that she purchased the building in foreclosure in 2014. She said the building had been vacant for some time, but downstairs was a gift shop called Wishes & Dreams and a four-bedroom apartment on the upper floors.