Letter from Mr. Ansorge
March 22, 1976
By this time you probably thought that you would never get a letter from me in reply to your letter of Feb. 26th. However we have been on the move and the letter just caught up to me. We spent considerable time in Africa, Tanzania and Kenya-- and that is another story. Then on to Florida and I returned here March 17th -- back to Florida on Wednesday of this week -- and so it goes.
However to specifically answer some of your questions.
1. The "Pest House"-- indeed it was. I can remember many people with contagious diseases confined. Uncle Joe had the feed mill right in back of it and as a little kid I sure would stay clear of that "pest" house. The old village hall had two jail cells in the basement to house the rowdies and the other portion houses the fire truck. At the early stage however it consisted of large wheeled carts with lots of hose on it that the men would wheel to the fires of FOOT. How they did run. George Sohr was the fire chief for many years and L.B. Stuelke was the Clerk. Jos. Hilgenberg finally took over and was chief for about 25 years. T was on the doggoned department for 25 years myself but of course then we graduated to mechanical equipment.
2. Yes there was an old curtain on the stage of the armory and almost everyone in Gillett had a hand painted ad on the curtain. All of he school plays were put on at the armory and even up to the time that I was a senior in High School. Local talent plays were put on and I can remember one which Cal John was the bride -- what a bride. The Legion also put on boxing matches and I can remember one in which Otto Cronce took a terrible beating, In the prelim was a fellow by the name of Dr. I.L. Cook and Toby Zahn -- and believe me that was a fight. Irv. Gave away about 50 lbs. but he sure could fight.
3. Movies -- Sure! Most of them were serials so that we had to go back week after week. There was trouble in controlling the kids but it was part of the fun. Local merchants also had ads on the screen. Freda Gaulke had a little ice cream parlor in the lobby on the left-hand side as you entered.
4. As we proceed east from the armory there was a vacant lot and George Crawford for years had a coyote on a chain in this lot and no one could go through. It became a game for the kids to run through without getting nipped. Crawford had his Law Office above Stuelke's Bldg. Darrow had a furniture store for a period of time -- now the Laundromat. Glen Cook had an electrical store in the building for a time.
5. East of the theatre was a store building occupied by Herman and Walter Kohn, Herman and family lived upstairs -- Mildred and Marie as you remember. General Store. Typical old fashioned, Groceries on one side -- meat in the back. Drygoods on one wall, etc. Everybody charged, Settlement once a month. Building now houses a Drug Store.
6. Irv. Miller Drug Store. Nickname for Irv. "Grouch" -- and indeed he was. Strictly drugs and then sort of a variety store.
7. Next Helf Hardware. Ed Koop later joined the firm as a plumber. Now C & N auto shop.
8. And then comes Viva Hodgins a maiden for 60 years until she married George Crawford. Do you remember her hat shop? Later got into ladies clothing.
9. Next Jaeger's Barber Shop. Emil & Julius. Emil was interested in horses and at the 4th of July they would have buggy races from site of present Gillett Cement to the Railroad Tracks. Gravel roads in those days and this was real excitement.
10. Post Office next building.
11. Citizens State Bank. Herb Koske and Al Wendorf, Merged in 1933 with Gillett State Bank.
12. Cournoyers tavern and restaurant. Bldg. now empty.
13. Next two vacant lots until we come to Jim Sorensons grocery. Delivery everyday. Art Schmidt worked for him for years. Took over the store when Jim died. Flossie Sorenson and Sam Sorenson. Sam a good ball player.
14. John and Albert Stromer and their tire shop.
15. Then Nic Stromer and his garage, Nic an excellent mechanic and very very dependable. If he liked you he would work for you but if he didn't-- no way. Very inventive.
16. Across the street -- south side. Bill Bartelt's hardware store and indeed an old time store. Fat little Bill, Short Little Bill and a moustache. Bldg. is now a liquor store.
17. Two residences next-- one occupied by Crawford.
18. Bakery -- Joe Lechner -- after work would go to the tavern and buy a case of beer -- set in on the bar -- drink the whole case -- day after day -- never missed.
Back to 12. Just remembered that George Evans ran A B R for years in this building. Then taken over by Wally Neuman.
19. Do you remember the old Maltby Hotel. Quite a hotel in its day. Turk John had a barber shop downstairs. The ice cream parlor in the Hotel was very popular in its day.
20. Past the bakery was Bun Ownes Barber shop and in the early 30's he had a miniature golf course on the lot between his building and Joe Keuhl's Furniture Store.
21. Joe Kuehl how can you forget little Joe. A Fiery temper. Would get into fights in the tavern.
22. Wm. Fenske meat market and strictly meat market.
23. Phil Siech's old blacksmith shop and a dirty old shack. It is surprising it did not burn down and the whole town to go with it then a vacant lot between blacksmith shop and the bank. Lot later filled with Kohl;s TV Shop. Bldg. now gone.
24. Grotelueschn and Savage General Store with a hospital in the upper floors. Before the hospital use to have winter festivals in the upper part of the building. A big event in those days. Store taken over in the early 20's by Quade, Kreiser and Schmidt then it became Quade & Saterstrom -- always a general store. Now a Ben Franklin store run by Robert Quade.
25. Armstrongs Restaurant Soda Grill. A very popular place with kids. Later Husman's Carl also had slot machines and did a land office business. Also had Gillett Cigar company and traveled many miles with a truck supplying stores --Gillett to Wabeno, etc.
26. Olaf Pederson's meat market-- we trim the meat not the customers. The Foelkers worked for Olaf and later took over the store. Sawdust on the floor in those days.
27. J.D. Cronce's Candy Shop and Ice Cream Parlor. Run from grade school during recess to the candy store. A penny a big item in those days.
28.Kristensen & Gilbersen general store. Remember in those days all of the stores sold feed, seed, seed corn. Kris was a Sunday school teacher for probrably 50 years in the Methodist Church. I was on the school board in 1933 and bought land from Albert Gilbertson West of the High School for the School District. Price $1500.00 was criticized severely for this dumb purchase. Property probably worth $50,000 today. As a matter of fact they are going to close the old grade school in a year or so and build the new one on this property.
Then good old Gus Bocher's hardware store -- and Henry Bocher. Any and everything that could be sold in a hardware store. They also took over the Chevrolet agency and Ben Eschner sold cars fir him. Every salesman had to take Gus out for a beer and if you had 20 salesmen per day that was a lot of beer. Henry was still putting eves troughs after he was 80. August Miller was the plumber. August always stopped at the local tavern after checking in for work and the first 2-3 hours were spent this way. Then worked the rest of the day. Still living and over 80.
Next the home of Jacob Spies -- now Kuehl Funeral Home.
Then Dr. Baldwins home and he had his office in one part of the home.
Dr. Gomber resided din Gillett for a long time. Also Dr. Voight who committed suicide.
R. L. Kingston -- Old Line Life Insurance Agency.
L.G. Stuelke sold Insurance -- mostly fire insurance and assisted in the drug store along with Gauthier.
Rev. Kumpf of course is a must because he was Pastor of the Lutheran Church for well over 30 years. Mrs. Kumpf is still alive.
Wm. Milhans and the Gillett Building Supply company followed by Wm. Burse.
Bert Cole and the Oil Business
Walter Smith and the Gillett Pail Company, As kids we use to work for Mrs. Smith in the basement of her home making handles for the wooden pails. Many of them candy pails.
Mike Simpson and his tavern. Famous for his Squirrel Feeds and his Chicken Booyah.
Zemkes Tavern in back of Grotuelueschen.
Joe Ankerson had a livery stable on a part of the old school grounds. We would haul feed 27 miles to Mountain on sleighs in the wintertime for a round trip deal. When the snow on the roads became impassable they would dynamite the big drifts, It was rugged country 50 years ago. In the spring remember how the cars were always pulled through the mud for better than a half mile in front of John Spies home and farms. John was a gentleman farmer and owned half the land between Gillett and Oconto Falls -- had he only been able to keep it. Now beautiful farms.
Fisher was the game warden and lived on the street you lived on.
Everyone got milk from Sohr's and Schroeder's on top the hill.
Maybe some of the above will jog your memory and you can come back for more information and specific questions. Would be more than glad to answer them.
Herman Fletje and Pavillion. As a Kid I would sit on a platform above the dance floor and turn the crystal ball. How about That.
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