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Remember When?
By Harriet Lauser Jensen

Transcribed by Elizabeth Casillas, April 17, 2015

     Elmer Weierhauser operated a barber shop where the Wilton Milk Products office now is. Leo Masterson was employed there also. Remember the “boy bob” as a child?

    Louis Grossel ran a tailoring and alteration shop, also in the area occupied by Wilton Milk Products.

    Chris Have had a pool hall, later operated by Paul Jesse, William Ringgenberg and Ernest Hansen in the building now occupied by R. E. Jensen contractor shop.

    There was a 3rd floor area, above the present day Frank Renfro…

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Picture: The Commercial Hotel on Railroad Street – Courtesy of Melroy Thede

…Tavern, where Gus Nopoulos made candy for the Candy Kitchen.

    Julia McCartney operated a hotel and restaurant assisted by her son, “Biddy.”

    Kenneth Wagner ran a movie in a building now razed, where the lawn area is between Jensen’s shop and Production Credit office, later the two buildings owned by Felix Dwyer were used as a tractor & implement shop & repair by Jerry Trimble.

    A café was operated by Lillie Maurer and Harlan Beinke in the now Production Credit office, later operated by Georgia McCoy, Wayne Ogier and Vera Duffe McCoy. Max Lauser’s Shoe & Repair Shop opened in 1946 and was later expanded to add clothing and wearing apparel.

    The Wilton Telephone Come Company, operated by T. H. Armstrong had its office and switchboard over the corner building now housing the office of Elizabeth Martin. Employees over the years included: Kate Creitz, Anna Sambdman, Mary Walters, Ruth Harper Lauser, and Faye Rick Grunder.

    Bacon’s General Store was on the main floor of the building at 4th and Cedar, southeast corner later run by Earl Atkinson and E. B. Summers. E. B Summers also had some clothing for ladies. Later the Wilton Movie House was operated by Kenneth Wagner. Thermogas also had their business office there and then the business offices of Elizabeth Martin Tax Service and Warren Luse, Attorney were there.

    Herman Jahr and Emil Seber ran a meat market in the building now housing the Wilton Laundromat (operated by Rodney Burnett) with Clair Kean employed there. Jake’s Market was housed there with Henry Sambdman, Vera Kai, Johanna Stoelk Lutje, Harriet Lauser Jensen and Jerry Hilgenberg as some of his employees. Wilton dry cleaning was operated by Mary Jean Jarvis and Lois Robertson – later it was sold to Clif Kohler and Phyllis Peterson. The Wilton Laundromat opened by Raymond and Doris Cram with…

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    This page sponsored in memory of Mr. and Mrs. H.F. Lauser, by their daughter Mrs. Harriet Lauser Jensen.

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Picture: Looking south on Cedar Street before paving – Courtesy of Hulda Schroeder

…automatic dry cleaning machines and washers was located in this block.

     A bakery operated by John Roederer with those especially good cream horns and rolls was in the building next to Maurer’s store. Raymond and Lila Pilcher later operated it, then Railey and Leota Barlow.

     Fred Maurer ran a store, we thought of as a dime store in the E. F. W Maurer Oldsmobile garage building (still operating with the aid of his son Alan). Georgia McCoy had a café in the next building. The building has since been removed.

     Elmer Maurer had an electrical shop in the building now housing Amelia Johansen’s Beauty shop. He also had a gas station on the corner operated by Kenneth Murdock, Gerald Valet, and Keith Amerine.

     The building now housing S & R Advocate News office was the Farmers Savings Bank, then F. A. Martin attorney office. Elizabeth Martin Insurance and Tax office, Pat’s (Kephart Kelley) Hobby Shop, and the cycle shop.

     The next building was once Baker’s oil station, then Sambdman’s Poultry House. In the thirties E. W. Mead remodeled it into his law office. Later he traded with the White Pigeon Insurance Co. which built the present office building.

    Lemke’s Welding shop was in the building housing Shirli’s Beauty Shop. Ed Moravek operated it in later years.

    A beauty shop was operated by Grayce Squires and Gretchyn Schroeder Voss in the dentist Robert Pierce’s offices. Elmer Maurer had his electrical shop after that. He was assisted by Emil Schroeder.

    A.T. Nelson owned the hardware store “Under the Axe,” in the store now operated by Keith Albaugh. D. V. Smull, one of Nelson’s employees purchased it, acquired the annex, and was assisted by Claridon (Larry) Doyle and Jeannette Angel. Robert and Violet Whitmer operated it as Quality Hardware with Jeanette Angel and Edith Taylor assisting. Richard Haines then operated it with his wife and Jeanette Angel and Carolyn Koppenhaver assisting. Keith Albaugh and his wife now own the Quality Hardware store.

    George Heabner operated a grocery store in the present Quality…

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…Hardware Annex.

    Ed Miller ran a shoe store in what is now the Wilton Medical Clinic. Dr. Gerald A. Whetstine, D.O. had his office there, next followed by Drs. Stuelke, Richard Schaffer and Paul Poncy.

    Cockshoot operated a tire and car equipment supply where Walt Hanssen’s Barber Shop now is. He also had a dairy, delivering milk with horse and wagon.

    Wilton Savings Bank managed by Harry Nicolaus and later his sons, Harold & Robert, was housed where the Wilton Chamber of Commerce and Dr. Donald Trebbien offices are now located. Insurance was also added to their services with the Nicolaus Insurance office starting business there. Some of the early bank employees were: Art (Duper) Wacker and Fred Walters. Dr. G.G. Harding had his dental office on the second floor, later converted to apartments and more recently into one apartment.

    The Star Drug Store was operated by Hollis Birchard. His brother Tad, had a jewelry and watch repair department in it. Clarence Lawson and Charles Lauser were their employees. Frederick Miller, town clerk, had an office there where local payments were made for town electric and water bills. Lyle Dawson bought the store next. And his son, Lee is the present owner.

    Dr. L. C. Winter, M.D. had his office over the Star Drug Store, which is now used as storage and an apartment where Lee and Barbara Dawson first lived.

    Maurer Bros. ran a garage, then Charles Paul erected a feed store, then sold to Ken Jasperson and it is now the home of the Wilton Savings Bank, which has a community room that can be rented for special occasions.

    The building now housing Micro Surface Inc. was owned and operated by Henry Lamp as a grocery and dry goods store, ladies wear – coats, undergarments, and yardage with accompanying threads and trim, etc. were sold. Carlton Winter then ran it. He had employed Louis Miller, Ethel Lawson, Charles Lauser and Harry Petersen. Alfred Taube purchased it and had a grocery store with a meat market. It has since been converted to Micro Surface, where a Polysand product is produced and sold commercially.

    Peeks Electric now occupies the next store, operated by Norman Peeks.

    Lauser’s Variety Store is next and was purchased from Arthur Hucke who repaired motors and sold electrical supplies and equipment. It had formerly been Economy Grocery Store with Jake Davies as manager and was the site of a movie house with a stage many years ago.

    Dixie’s Beauty boutique run by Mrs. Alan Maurer occupies a building which was previously Duffe’s Drug Store operated by J. W. Duffe, and previous to that had been run by Harris as a drug store and soda fountain. The soda fountain was kept until approximately the last 3 years that Mr. Duffe operated it.

    Wilton Café is run by Mrs. Richard McQuillen who succeeded Viola Hull, Lee Norton, Vera McCoy and Herschel Flater in serving as the community’s main source of dining out.

    The Dairy Queen, now known as Fran’s Dairy Bar, run by Mrs….

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…Harold Nelson is a seasonal source for eating.

    The Wilton Maid-Rite started by Ed Schroeder and later run by Harry Gust and most recently by Mrs. Richard (Ruth) Campbell was another eating place. The Midway Café, next to the Midway Garage has been operated by Lillie Maurer, Dora James and Vera McCoy. A small sandwich and ice cream shop was run by Adam Thurston with a special feature for Sundays for neighborhood children, the penny candy.

    The Assembly of God church now occupies the building where the Western Auto supply store was located. Herbert Moeller was the first Western Auto manager, followed by James Whitely and Keith Albaugh.

    Dr. G. G. Leith had his offices years ago above the south section of the Western auto store.

    McCray Chickeries in the next building owned by Ivan Ashcraft, who has in the past managed the business, and had at one time operated a tavern there.

    Corner Tap, owned and operated by Ray and Dick Cram, had previously been run by William Newman and years ago was run by Henry Voss. The Odd Fellows and Rebekah Hall was located in the upstairs until the members no longer required a meeting place. It has since been remodeled into two apartments.

    Earl Whitmer owned the building south, across the street, and at one time had gas pumps out front.

    Verne Thede started the feed store next to it. Fred Mann was later the owner of the Econ-O-Mix Co., where feed is ground and sold, plus other helps for the farmer.

    Hawkeye Lumber co. purchased and operates the lumber yard, which was previously Wilton Lumber and Fuel Co. H.F. Lauser was the manager from 1910 until it was sold approximately in 1930. Coal as well as other building supplies, including sand and cement, roofing, lumber and nails were handled.

    George Kahler ran a poultry business as well as a dance shell and floor where dances were held in the 1920’s on the south side of the railroad tracks.

    The south portion of the Western Auto store at one time was a post office for Wilton.

    The Wilton Advocate, when Herman Thurston was editor, was in a building on the west side of Cedar Street.

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    Remember when Mr. Winklebleck had a candy store on the north side of 4th Street? The glass showcase was so covered with little fingerprints that it was difficult to see the many penny candies. On hot days Mr. Winklebleck would sometimes turn out a freezer of homemade ice cream.

    Remember when Jake Davies had his first store on the south side of 4th Street? Everything was piled high on each side of the narrow aisles. Later Jake moved to a larger store on the north side of 4th Street, but still it was too crowded. Finally he built his huge “Jake’s Market” on the corner of Maurer and Fourth Streets where the Wacker Implement Company had been located for many years.

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Page created April 17, 2015 by Lynn McCleary