Sheboygan Falls is inland, west of Sheboygan, “The Spirit on the Lake,” on he Sheboygan River. The River rises in eastern Fond du Lac County, and runs through Sheboygan, Calumet and Manitwoc Counties before returning to Sheboygan County and flowing to Lake Michigan. The town sees itself as a “Wisconsin Main Street” community, dedicated to the preservation of its historic structures. That is what caught my attention when I visited. Some 40 buildings have been rehabilitated and restored to the original late 1800s architecture. I photographed some of them.
We entered town from the southwest on Highway 32, which in town is known as Pine Street, and then turns into Broadway. This building is the Schlichting Grocery and Dry Goods store, built in 1896, once the oldest family mercantile business in the Falls. It is now the Richardson’s Furniture Emporium. The building to the left, with a partial greenish front, is now part of Richardson’s as well. There was an alley between the two, which has since been connected by a skylit atrium which hosts a Tea Room and Café.
This building, put up in 1894, was the location of one of the earliest industries in Sheboygan Falls, The Zufelt Manufacturing Co., which made spokes and hubs. It is now the home of the Catalunya Restauarant, on the corner of Pine and Buffalo Street. It supports local farmers by using their freshest produce and grass-fed and free-range meats, and blends together the unique flavors of Spain‚ France‚ and Portugal.
Still on Pine Street, this is the old building of the International Order of the Odd Fellows, IOOF, rebuilt after the fire of 1879. Since 1890, the building has been occupied by a shoe store, known today as Depke Shoes.
This is another building destroyed by that 1879 fire. John Never rebuilt this. He was a highly respected tailor in town. I think it is located on Broadway, which is now Hwy 32 heading north, and that it is a place called Addicted Industries, a tanning salon that also offers massages.
Built in 1880, this structure was a retail meat market, a meat processing business, and a cattle buying and shipping business which ran as high as four carloads per week. The other half was used as the town post office, one of the most convenient in the state north of Milwaukee. The building was renovated in the mid 1990s, and now houses, right to left, the Bemis Bath Shoppe, presenting hundreds of artistically displayed toilet seats, inspiration bath vignettes, bath and body products and hundreds of design ideas; Curves, a weight loss and exercise center for women; Ella’s Dela, a delicatessen offering a flavor of the great delis of New York and Chicago, with a hometown atmosphere; and the Chamber Main Street, which operates a web site to take you all around town and see all the historic buildings in the city.
Martha Whipple was one of the first businesswomen in the area when she built her music store in 1877. In 1878, she enlarged the store and later moved to Sheboygan in 1885 after selling to Kehl Cigar Co. The company employed 20 cigar makers and produced many brand names including Frog Cigars. Equipment from the factory can still be found in the basement of Hy Ryders Rochester Saloon which occupies the two building site today.
On the corner of Broadway and Pine, built in 1891, left to right, the Osthelder Saloon; Salon 511, an AVEDA Concept Salon and Spa; Edward Jones Investments; and Wally’s Studio and a Piece of Cake, specializing in wedding, graduation, and family portraits and also offering cake, candy and cookie decorating merchandise.
Of course, if you name your city Sheboygan Falls, you need a falls, of some sort. Upstream the Sheboygan River is a dam, and then downstream, sort of in the center of town, is the falls.
Last but not least is Evans.
This is not a historic building. In business since 1936, Evans is a variety store. My wife is a plant nut, so the place attracted her attention. But she is also the daughter of a man who ran a construction business in Wausau for many years after WWII, and she goes crazy over gadgets and all that. When she stepped inside, she was in 7th Heaven! I walked in, and only say is that if you want it, they’ve got it. My dada would have loved it --- if he wanted one screw and one bolt, he pro bay could find it in here. I could see my wife was out of control, so I stepped outside and waited, and waited, and waited. Easily she could have stayed in there all day. It is a place to behold --- my wife said this store alone was a good enough reason to move to Sheboygan Falls!