LOTS O’ HISTORY: LOT 3, BLOCK E | CREAMERY & MONUMENT WORKS

On the heels of the recent posts about west-side industries in the 19th century, I tracked down a couple of early 20th-century industries that formerly stood on Lot 3 of Block E, across Main Street from the stone schoolhouse built in 1867 that for many years served as city hall and a fire station.

Ferdinand Raasch opened a creamery in a former horse barn on Lot 3 in 1919, and Andrew Schultz erected a building next door west that housed a monument works and feed mill about the same time. The creamery building was razed in 1974, two years after the monument shop/feed mill was torn down.

Here are the details:

Lot 3 held nothing other than sheds and outbuildings as it passed through the hands of early settlers and was always sold with Lot 4, adjacent to the south, which included a building in the 400 block of West Water Street that housed grocery stores/restaurants owned by Chris Piper, his daughter Dora and then T.J. and Katie Paull, who shelled out $2,800 for the property in 1907 (Deeds, Volume 67, Page 502).

As the Paulls developed a deli up the street, Carl A. Schultz announced in March 1909 that he was opening a marble and granite monument shop in the 700 block of West Water Street, between the Mueller Implement and Princeton Hotel buildings. The business became A. Schultz & Son.

The Paulls sold their property, including Lot 3 on Block E, to Andrew Schultz for $3,000 in April 1916 (Deeds, Volume 76, Page 335).

Andrew Schultz moved his business from the 700 block of West Water Street to the 400 block of West Main Street about 1916-1919.

Andrew Schultz moved the monument business to Lot 3 and added a feed mill to the building, which I believe, but am less than certain, was moved from Water Street.

Andrew Schultz was still carving monuments in March 1923 when he advised Princeton Republic readers: “It will be to your interest to call and see A. Schultz of Princeton before placing your order for any cemetery work in granite or marble. Why? Because he sells to you direct, you have no agent’s commission to pay to anyone.”

Princeton Republic, July 26, 1928 – “Andrew Schultz, who has been in the monumental business in this city for the past number of years, disposed of his business the latter part of last week. K. Fish is the new owner. The newcomer has been in this business for several years at Owen, Wis.”

Princeton Republic or Times, Sept. 12, 1935 – “The city fire department was alarmed last Sunday morning at 1:30 o’clock when fire was discovered in the feed grinding mill of Lester Frederick and the office of the Gehl Monumental shop. The building is owned by Andrew Schultz. Chemicals only were used in putting out the fire which originated in the roof of the building. L. A. Merrill, chief of police, discovered the smoke coming from the building and sent in the alarm. … Mr. Schultz had the building insured, and the loss is sufficiently covered. Repairs will be made in the near future.”

Gehl was gone by April 1936 when Schultz was again advertising that the granite shop was available for any use.

Henry Emmerich, who had worked as a stone cutter and was superintendent of the Montello quarry from 1928 to 1938, purchased the monument works/feed mill portion of Lot 3 from Schultz in July 1946 (Deeds, Volume 113, Page 525).

Emmerich worked until he passed in 1955, and his widow, Mary, kept the monument business going at least into the 1960s. After she died, Donald Emmerich sold the parcel to Handcraft Company Inc. in April 1972 (Deeds, Volume 243, Page 389).

Princeton Times-Republic, May 4, 1972 – “A big project which helped spruce up our city before statewide clean-up day was the demolition of the Emmerich building where monuments were sold on Main Street (Hwy. 23-73) and the premises cleaned. It’s been reported that Mr. Preston Hiestand recently purchased this property.”

Feed mill

The Schultz building on Lot 3 housed a feed mill at times as well as the monument shop.

Princeton Republic, Feb. 27, 1919 – “Andrew Schultz says he has feed mill ready to grind feed.”

Schultz placed an ad in the Princeton Republic in January 1920 offering to sell the 30-by-140-foot creamery lot, feed mill and 40-by-140-foot lot, and his store and lot on West Water Street “at bargain because owner desires to retire.”

Frank Schumacher operated the Princeton Tire & Battery Shop in the building from April to December 1921 before returning to Appleton.

Princeton Republic or Times, Sept. 12, 1935 – “The city fire department was alarmed last Sunday morning at 1:30 o’clock when fire was discovered in the feed grinding mill of Lester Frederick and the office of the Gehl Monumental shop. The building is owned by Andrew Schultz. … Recently the north part of the building is occupied by Lester Frederick, who has installed feed grinding machinery. He is busy throughout the day, farmers coming here from far and near to have their feed ground. The fire did not do sufficient damage to delay his grinding business.”

Princeton Times-Republic, April 11, 1940 – “E. Breitenfeldt, who recently took over the Princeton feed grinding mill, located next to the creamery on Main Street, announces that he will do grinding on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. He also plans to install an attrition mill and a new diesel power plant.”

Princeton Times-Republic, Feb. 6, 1941 – “August Mittelstaedt has reopened the feed mill recently operated by Ervin Breitenfeldt. Mr. Mittelstaedt has installed a new O.K. hammermill and assures his customers the very best of service and a square deal all along the line.”

The competition increased when Reinhold Marotz opened the Fox River Mill across River Road from the Lutheran school on the west side in February 1942.

I do not know when the former Schultz mill closed for the final time. Schultz passed in 1949.

As noted above, the Emmerich monument works continued operating in the building into at least the 1960s. Handcraft, with Preston Hiestand as president, purchased the property in April 1972 (Deeds, Volume 243, Page 389) and tore down the old building.

Princeton Times-Republic, May 4, 1972 – “A big project which helped spruce up our city before statewide clean-up day was the demolition of the Emmerich building where monuments were sold on Main Street (Hwy. 23-73) and the premises cleaned. It’s been reported that Mr. Preston Hiestand recently purchased this property. The adjacent vacant building formerly the Princeton Creamery, has been purchased by Marvin Dugenske owner of the King’s Pub.”

The Princeton Creamery

The first Princeton creamery opened in August 1898 at the intersection of the Dartford and Markesan roads (Old Green Lake Road and County Road D, respectively) under the management of R.C. Hastings.

Princeton Republic, August 26, 1898 – “The Princeton Creamery Association started up its creamery last Monday. The machinery is all new and first class and runs like a whistle. Princeton now has as good a creamery, for a small plant, as there is in the state.”

Princeton Republic, Feb. 28, 1901 – “A special meeting of the Princeton Creamery Association was held Saturday afternoon to take action on a proposition to increase the capital stock from $2,000 to $4,000. It is the intention of the association to take into membership the shareholders in the Black Creek Creamery as a skimming station.”

The Princeton Creamery Association report for October 1904 showed 270,985 pounds of milk received; average test butter fat, 4.3; butter made, 154,932 pounds; price paid for butter to patrons, 20 cents. average price per cwt., 1.06; number of patrons, 169.

A barn and out-building are the only buildings on Lot 3 on the 1914 Sanborn fire insurance map.

Princeton attorney and farm owner Philip Lehner (Sr.) led a campaign to convert the creamery into a cheese factory in 1916.

Princeton Republic, Dec. 14, 1916 – “The annual meeting of the stockholders of the Princeton Creamery Association was held at the town hall last Tuesday afternoon. … As it had been agitated previous this meeting to change the creamery into a cheese factory, Senator Kumroy of Plymouth, a man of wide experience and well versed in every phase of the cheese industry, was present and in a speech expressed himself that a cheese factory for this locality would bring better financial returns than a creamery. A vote was taken relative this change. The result was the majority being in favor of a cheese factory.”

The building was converted to a cheese factory in 1917 and the Princeton Creamery Association became the Princeton Cheese Association. Several area farmers, however, also wanted a creamery – and that brings us back downtown to Block E and Lot 3.

Andrew Schultz sold a parcel about 38 by 150 feet on the eastern half of Lot 3 to Ferdinand Raasch in 1919 (Deeds, Volume 85, Page 229).

Princeton Republic, Feb. 13, 1919 – “Rumors have it that Ferd Raasch is contemplating starting a creamery on East Main Street opposite the village hall in the very near future. We understand the site has been procured.”

Raasch moved Tim Paull’s old horse barn and converted it into the new Princeton Creamery.

Raasch, who previously operated the Black Creek cheese factory north of Princeton, operated the creamery for about four years. He sold to W.R. Meier, of Fort Atkinson, for $11,000 in May 1923 (Deeds, Volume 82, Page 58).

Princeton Republic, May 17, 1923 – “In a deal consummated Wednesday between Ferd. Raasch and W.R. Meier, of Fort Atkinson, the latter took over the creamery of the former, this city. Mr. Meier takes immediate possession and will be assisted by Geo. F. Reckner, of Beaver Dam, who will move here with his family.”

The 1927 Sanborn fire insurance map shows the creamery and monument works/feed mill buildings on Lot 3 of Block E.

According to Scott McCormick’s history of the creamery published in the Times-Republic in November 1955, after the original creamery on the east side burned in April 1932 the salvageable lumber was used to build garages near the Main Street plant.

(Editor’s note: Here’s an interesting bit of conjecture regarding the “A” building shown in the 1927 map above just below, or south, of the monument works. “A” designates auto garage. I’ve been told Jim Shwonek moved a building from that approximate location to his snowmobile/electrician business on County Road D south in the 1970s. Was it the building on the map?)

Meier sold to the Princeton Creamery Company (Deeds, Volume 89, Page 55). Over the next several years the creamery became the largest in Green Lake County under the guidance of manager August Hamann.

Princeton Times-Republic, Nov. 14, 1940 – “August Hamann, 60, a leading Princeton businessman and one of the largest-scale creamery operators in this section of the state, died suddenly of a heart attack about 5 o’clock Monday afternoon. … Coming here about twelve years ago, and since then had built up Green Lake county’s largest creamery enterprise, the Princeton Creamery’s average annual output of butter in recent years running over a million pounds. … We are informed on good authority that George Hamann, present secretary-treasurer of the Princeton Creamery Company, will succeed his father, the late August Hamann, as manager of the business.”

George Hamann had worked for the Carnation company for 16 years before managing the creamery here. He served as Princeton’s mayor from 1948 to 1956.

Princeton Times-Republic, Aug. 21, 1941 – “While the late August Hamann was at the head of this enterprise, he was known as one of the most aggressive creamery operators in Wisconsin and built the business to a point where it rated as the largest creamery in Green Lake County and had an annual output of a million pounds of butter. Since coming under the management of his son, George Hamann, last fall, the business has continued to prosper and expand. Much new equipment, including a new butter cutter, has been added, and now the work of completely redecorating the interior is just about complete.”

McCormick noted that in 1941, as the demand grew for whole milk, the local creamery did not install machinery to handle milk. Instead, Hamann used small trucks to collect the milk and two larger trucks to haul it to Plainfield.

Princeton Times-Republic, Nov. 13, 1942 – “George Hamann of the Princeton Creamery made an announcement of most importance today when he set the price to be paid for butterfat at the Princeton Creamery at 54 cents a pound with buttermilk returning to the customers free of charge. This is unquestionably the best price offered by any creamery in this section of the state, especially considering the value of the buttermilk.”

Princeton Times-Republic, Jan. 13. 1944 – “Even though Princeton does not have any defense industries and has been more or less penalized rather than benefitted by war activities, there are indications that it has made substantial progress during the past year. … Foremost among these enterprises that have gone ahead we can list the Princeton Creamery which has gained many new patrons and thanks to their cooperation in the dairy improvement program, has been able to improve the quality of its product. Besides the substantial amount paid out for butterfat, its staff of nine employees furnishes our community with a sizeable payroll.”

Hamann’s right-hand men pictured in the newspaper in October 1947 were butter maker Art Judas, who had worked at the Mecan creamery before coming to Princeton about 1925; Alex “Shine” Sondalle, field man, who joined the company about 1928; and Victor Judas, assistant butter maker, who joined the creamery about 1935.

Princeton Times-Republic, May 6, 1948 – “Mayor Hamann has generously made the large lot on the east side of the creamery available for public parking. The council authorized erection of lights on the lot and in the alley between the (George) Ladwig and (Emma) Stern properties that leads to the lot.”

The Princeton Creamery Co. sold the property to Handcraft Company Inc. in November 1957 (Deeds, Volume 145, Page 113). I’ve been told the Redgranite pickle factory used the building for a sorting station in the 1960s.

Handcraft sold the property to Marvin Dugenske Sr. in April 1972 (Deeds, Volume 245, Page 119).

Raasch’s former creamery building fell a month later.

The former creamery was torn down in 1972. (Princeton Times-Republic photo)

Princeton Times-Republic, May 11, 1972 – “There isn’t much left to the old Princeton Creamery which is being dismantled. The property, which is 120 by 150 feet, was recently purchased by Marvin Dugenske, owner of King’s Pub, who plans to use some of it for parking area. Several weeks ago, the former Emmerich Monument building, next to the creamery, was also torn down. This property is owned by Preston Hiestand.

Princeton Times-Republic, June 15, 1972 – “Last of the creamery building on Hwy. 23-73 has been demolished. Rubble remains to be removed.”

Lot 3 today, looking south from Main Street.

Lot 2

While we are in the vicinity, let’s also take a look at the history of Lot 2, which is the southeast corner of the intersection of West Main and Washington streets, now part of the Hiestand Apartments building.

Other than a small beer depot in 1914, the buildings on the lot prior to the 1920s were barns – most notably a large barn for the American House, sheds or out-buildings.

Herman E. Krueger, who operated a farm implements business on the west side of Washington Street for a number of years, used the frame building on the corner for storage in 1927 and briefly for his shop. He retired in 1946.

The building was torn down in 1950 when Handcraft built an addition to the north end of its Water Street factory.

Princeton Times-Republic, March 17, 1949 – “The erection of a new fireproof warehouse, 100×40 feet in dimensions, is being planned by the Handcraft Company. We understand that work on the building will start as soon as weather conditions will permit.”

Princeton Times-Republic, April 27, 1950 – “The sound of hammers and saws will echo thruout Princeton for the coming summer months with an unprecedented building program underway. The Handcraft Company’s new factory building is rapidly nearing completion after a number of early spring setbacks. With the roof supporting beams in place the roofing is going on rapidly. Practically all the masonry work is done.”

Princeton Times-Republic, June 15, 1950 – “This past week has been moving week at Handcraft. It won’t be long before the new plant will be in full production.”

Handcraft built a new factory on the north end of Mechanic Street in 1962. The former factory was converted into residential units in 1970.

Thank you for caring and reading about local history. Please let me know if you spot any errors or can help fill any gaps in the timeline.

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