Hugo Kielsmeier, owner of a cheese factory in Kingston, purchased the Green Lake-Lawsonia-Princeton milk route of Edward Bartel, my grandfather, doing business as Spring Valley Dairy six miles east of Princeton, in 1938.
Kielsmeier and his son, Lester, moved the cooler, pasteurizer, and bottling equipment to the former brewery on Farmer Street for their business, Quality Dairy. Lester managed the Princeton operation, which moved to 108 Dover Street in 1941.
Princeton Times-Republic, June 26, 1941 – “The Quality Dairy has leased the William Huenerberg garage building where they will move their dairy plant.”
William Huenerberg had built the brick gas station, which sat on the corner of Dover and Fulton streets, in 1928.
Princeton Republic, Feb. 2, 1928 – William Huenerberg is making arrangements for the erection of a filling and car washing station on Fulton Street, directly north of the Princeton Chick Hatchery.
After Lester Kielsmeier enlisted in the Army Air Corps in August 1942, Hugo sold the Princeton operation back to Bartel, who moved the equipment back to his farm.
Princeton Times-Republic, June 11, 1942 – “A deal was closed this morning whereby Ed Bartol (Bartel) became the owner of the Quality Dairy business here. Mr. Bartol has a large herd of Guernsey cows whose milk tests better than 5 per cent butterfat. Milk is cooled as soon as it comes from the cows, which assures milk and cream of the highest quality. While Princeton people will regret that the Kielsmeiers have found it to their interest to dispose of their business here they will be more than pleased that it has come under the ownership of one of Green Lake County’s most progressive dairymen.”
(Hugo Kielsmeier sold the Kingston cheese factory to Concord Realty Co. of Fond du Lac in October 1943. Lester Kielsmeier was co-pilot of a B-24 bomber shot down over Austria in 1944. He parachuted to safety and returned to visit friends in Princeton a year later.)
The wedding announcement of Etta Kallas and Carl Mohr, of Markesan, in January 1946 reported that “Mr. and Mrs. Mohr will engage in the dry cleaning and tailoring business here in the building formerly used as a garage at the Huenerberg Service Station.”
Princeton Times-Republic, Jan. 17, 1946 – “A new cleaning and tailoring business is announced to be opened soon in the building near the Huenerberg service station. … The proprietors, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Mohr, are both experienced in this line of work.”
Princeton Times-Republic, Feb. 14, 1946 – “Carl Mohr reports that repairs at his new dry-cleaning plant, made necessary by the recent fire that damaged some of his equipment, are progressing, and he expects everything to be in shape sometime next week.”
The dry-cleaning business officially opened on Monday, February 25, 1946, under the name of Like-Nu Dry Cleaners.
The Mohrs opened an office downtown in 1946.
Princeton Times-Republic, Oct. 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. … They will use the building as a downtown office for receiving work and operate at their present location.”
In 1947 Carl Mohr and his brother Ralph purchased the Dover Street property from Johanna Huenerberg (Deeds, Volume 115, Page 200). The Mohrs built an addition to the garage on Dover Street.
Princeton Times-Republic, Aug. 21, 1947 – “The Like-Nu Dry Cleaners are building an addition to their plant. They recently bought the property where they are located from Mrs. Wm. Huenerberg.“
Carl sold his interest in the business to Ralph in 1948 (Deeds, Volume 114, Page 241).
Princeton Times-Republic, Feb. 5, 1948 – “Ralph Mohr announces that he has taken over the ownership of the Like-Nu Dry Cleaning business.”
Ralph Mohr sold to George and Elaine Mueller in June 1953 (Deeds, Volume 133, Page 3). They ran the business until July 31, 1964. A Montello dry cleaner said it would expand its service area to include Princeton.
Princeton Times-Republic, July 31, 1964 – “Effective tomorrow, July 31, another sad chapter in the book of public apathy will have been written. The local dry-cleaning establishment will close its doors, perhaps never to open again. Already out-of-town firms, the very firms that helped destroy another local business, are taking advantage to sign up new customers. But actually these out-of-town firm are not the real culprits. WE are to blame, no one else, for failing to properly support another local business.” (Editorial)
Mueller wrote a letter to editor Jim Wolff the following week to explain his decision to close the business and join the sales force of the Lutheran Mutual Life Insurance Company. “There were a number of contributing factors,” he wrote, “of which there is not time nor space for a lengthy discourse on them.”
Mueller sold the property to Celio Colacino, who worked at West Side Garage in Berlin, in September 1967 (Deeds, Volume 210, Page 185).
Princeton Times-Republic, Oct. 12, 1967 – “Mr. and Mrs. Celio Colacino, Princeton, are the new owners of the George Mueller property on Dover Street. The building was the home of Like-Nu Cleaners for a number of years and has an upper apartment. … The latter’s plans for the use of the lower part of the building are not yet definite.”
Colacino sold to real estate agent Harry Miller in April 1974 (Deeds, Volume 259, Page 521). The building housed antiques and collectables for a time.
Update: After my initial post, local historian Joe Wyse pointed out that Eddie Schultz operated the M&M Soap Company at 108 Dover Street in 1968.
I also received a note from LeAnn Sieracki informing me that her father, Jerry Sieracki Jr., purchased the 108 Dover St. property in the spring of 1992, owning it until it was sold to Gordon Goretzki in 1996.
“My father moved his business, Sieracki’s Upholstery, into the building, where he restored auto and marine upholstery,” LeAnn said. “Inside he had built a large, sturdy work table to accommodate the size and weight of the items he’d restored. He also had his tools and industrial sewing machines.
“On many occasions, you could find my father restoring antique furniture, either for family or resale. He had a knack of bringing the integrity back to antique furniture. At times he’d set pieces out front for sale on flea market day.”
Sieracki sold to Gorden Goretzke in 1996. He opened Tin Pan Alley, which offered motorcycle parts and repairs and custom leatherwork. I don’t believe the building has housed a business since Goretzke.
If you can fill in gaps in my timeline, especially 1974-1992, please let me know.
Thank you for caring and reading about local history.
Quas qui error
The booklet published in 1973 as part of Princeton’s 125th anniversary celebration incorrectly reported that Like-Nu Cleaners was “the first and only dry-cleaning plant in the history of Princeton.”
Princeton Times-Republic, Nov. 21, 1940 – “The Princeton Cleaners is the newest addition to Princeton’s list of commercial activities. Lee Schafer, of Portage, is moving his dry-cleaning plant here from Portage and will locate in the Kinkel building (about 617 West Water Street).”
Princeton Times-Republic, Nov. 28, 1940 – “Ralph Swenson is busy installing his dry-cleaning plant at the Kinkel building and announces he will be ready to take in work Friday morning.”
Swenson ran ads in October 1941 announcing “due to the fact that National defense requirements have resulted in a scarcity of chemicals used in the dry-cleaning process we will be compelled to discontinue our business for the time being. We will therefore close our shop after Saturday night, Nov. 1.”