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Sheboygan Press April 29, 1927

Bird's Eye View Of Plymouth Taken In The Year 1865

Primitive Industrial Buildings A Contrast To Modern Structures


Here we have a very interesting pictures of the village of Plymouth taken about the year 1865. The picture is from an elevation on the south side of the Mullet river, near the east side of the village, looking in a northwesterly direction.

Comparing this view with another of the present city of Plymouth, appearing on page 21, its difficult for the present young??) (???) to get a perspective that might aid in establishing the sites and locations of the various principal buildings appearing in this old picture. Practically all the vacant areas which were within the scope of the camera at the time the original picture was taken, are now occupied either by stores or by private dwelling houses.

Shows Flour Mill

The large building in the foreground is the flour mill built for R. H. Hotchkiss, of Milwaukee, who settled in Plymouth in 1849 and entered into a partnership with H. I. Davidson. The millwright work was under the supervision of George W. Chamberlain, of Sheboygan Falls, and the mill is said to have been the first of its kind built in that vicinity. The mill was completed in March 1850, and on the 27th day of that month the first grist of two bushels was ground for Hiram Bishop.

On March 28, or the second day after the mill was completed, Davidson sold his interest to H. N. Smith and the firm name was changed to that of Smith & Hotchkiss. Later Rudolph Puhlmann purchased Smith's interest and the firm name was again changed from Smith & Hotchkiss to that of Hotchkiss & Puhlmann. Mr. Hotchkiss died in 1886(?) after which Otto Puhlmann operated the mill until 1889, when the property was sold to William Schwartz. In 1901 Gottlieb Pfeifer bought the mill which he operated for a number of years. Mr. Pfeifer enlarged and otherwise improved the building and the name was changed to that of Plymouth Roller Mills. During the recent years Charles Lee has conducted the business under the name Plymouth Flour Mills. The mill-pond was the favorite rendezvous for the boys of that early period.

The dilapidated looking building located on the opposite side of the river, was the first sawmill erected in the village. It was built for H. I. Davidson in 1848, and later operated by Sam Whitford. The (?) of the mill were removed many years ago.

The thoroughfare extending from the mill to the downtown business section of the village is now known as East Mill street. Near the north approach to the bridge shown in the picture, Henry Bade had a blacksmith shop. West of Bade was the general store of Smith, Huson and Zerler, one of the first stores to be established in Plymouth.

First Store Of Logs

The first store was started in 1847 by T. P. Davidson in a log building which was located near where the brewery now stands, In 1848 H. N. Smith built a store at the corner of Main and Milwaukee streets, and P. H. Smith became associated with him in the business which carried on under the (?) name of P. H. Smith & Co. The firm name was changed in 1860 to Smith & Elwell; in 1868, to Smith & Huson; in 1873 to Smith, Huson & Zerler, and in 1880 to that of Huson & Zerler. Mr. Zerler is the only survivor and he still resides in Plymouth. Sidney Smith came to Plymouth during the early days and conducted a general store until he passed away in the '70's.

A portion of the building which was Smith, Huson & Zerler's store is now occupied by Feld & Feld, dealers in hides.

The first blacksmith in Plymouth was William Lipe who came to the village in 1849.

Where the smoke is seen curling from the high stack was the John Schwartz hub and spoke factory. At the time this picture was taken, A. D. Barrows, now of Sheboygan, and one of the founders of the Dillingham Manufacturing company, was engineer at the Schwartz factory. The property was later acquired by H. C. Laack, who built the present splendid two-story brick structure upon the grounds. The old hub and spoke factory building was moved south and now is occupied by Mr. Merget.

The larger two-story frame building appearing to the left of the hub and spoke factory is the Century Flour Mill erected for William Schwartz. When the city of Plymouth purchased the land upon which this mill stood, in 1900, the building was purchased by William Griese(?) Jr. and moved to the east side of Milwaukee street, where it has since been occupied by him as a blacksmith shop. The present pumping station and waterworks plant was built upon the original mill site.

Griese Early Blacksmith

Mr. Griese's father was one of the early blacksmiths in Plymouth. For a number of years he worked in other shops, but in 1866 he established a shop of his own on E. Mill street in the frame building adjacent to the Timm hardware store and which is now occupied for residence purposes.

A few years after William Schwartz started the flour mill, he started a two-story frame building, which still stands directly south of the pumping station, in which he started a furniture factory. Preussler brothers became associated with Schwartz in this business, but later they started a similar business themselves. They continued to manufacture furniture in Plymouth for a few years when they removed to Sheboygan and entered into a partnership with Obed Mattoon and started a small furniture factory in the building which now forms a part of the Freyberg novelty manufacturing plant on Pennsylvania avenue. The Preussler Bros. factory building was later occupied by the Plymouth Furniture company.

Near the Schwartz flouring mill was an ashery owned and operated by John Anderson, who manufactured potash for a number of years.

The small building seen standing at the top of the hill at the extreme upper left of the picture, is a barn originally erected for J. T. Moxley, who came to Plymouth in 1848. The barn and also the family residence, the latter located farther down the hill, still stand upon their original sites. Mr. Moxley had one of the finest apple orchards in that vicinity.

German Gasthaus

Returning to the mill in the foreground of the picture, and describing the buildings located on the north side of the street, attention is first directed to a German Gasthaus, which is concealed by the mill. For many years David Roehr was proprietor of this hostelry, which was torn down many years ago.

The three-story building next in regular order, was the Quitquioc Hotel, built in 1850, and said to have been the first frame tavern in the village. For many years this hotel was conducted by G. M. Bowman. The top floor was used as a dance hall. The building was razed a few years ago and an oil filling station now occupies the ground upon which it stood.

The building seen at the right of the hub and spoke factory - the one having five windows on the second floor - was the Central Hotel, owned and conducted by William Fischer. The hotel is still located at the same corner, opposite the Laack block, although it has been rebuilt several times.

On the corner where the exchange bank now stands was Carl Schwartz' foundry and machine shop. John Schwartz, brother of Carl, was also interested in this business, and Fred Thurman later became associated with the firm.

On the site now occupied by the post office building was Schneider & Schibler's brewery. This brewery was originally started by Andrew Schneider.

Church Built In 1856

The first church building seen in the center of the picture is St. John's Catholic church, the construction of which was started in 1856. The first work done for this edifice was by Lawrence Zeigler, who got out the first timber and hauled the first stone used in the foundation walls. The first services were held in 1860, "Father Schmidt" officiating.

The one-story building east of this edifice was the first frame school house in the village. It was erected in 1849, on the site east of the present Curtiss brewery. The original schoolhouse was later moved to E. Mill street where it served as a post office when Captain Brooks was postmaster. A. D. Barrows attended this school during his early boyhood days.

At the right of the Catholic church is seen the First Congregational church building, which was built in 1859. The present house of worship stands upon the same site as the one shown in the picture.

The small church facing left in the picture was the first meeting house for the St. John's Lutheran congregation, which was organized in 1858. The handsome brick edifice, which replaced the original building, was erected in 1883. The city clock was placed in the tower of this church. Directly behind this church building is shown the original high school.

The low building which appears east of the St. John's Lutheran church, is the St. Paul's Episcopal church. The original house of worship has since been remodeled and stands upon the same lot, which is situated directly across the street from the Public Library.

The last building visible at the extreme right in the picture was the home of David Frisbee, a pioneer settler and early blacksmith in the village.

Laack Hotel

The Laack Hotel at Plymouth for many years was the leading hostelry between Sheboygan and the Fox River valley. It was established many years ago and is located in the splendid brick block erected by H. C. Laack and a large addition later built by his widow.

Last September Buster Brown, pitcher for the Plymouth baseball nine, took over the hotel and made many improvements, including the re-decorating of the interior. A dining room is maintained in connection with the hotel, meals being served at reasonable prices.

There Is A Wonderful Picture Of August Laack and the following is written about him:

Above is a likeness of August Laack, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Laack, pioneer settlers of the town of Plymouth.

Mr. Laack was born in Germany in 1846 and came to this country with his parents in 1854. The family settled on a farm in the eastern section of the town, where the parents continued to reside up to the time of their deaths.

August Laack remained on the homestead until seventeen years ago when he retired from active life as a farmer and moved to Plymouth with his wife, where they now reside in a comfortable home at the extreme east end of Eastern avenue.

Despite his advanced years, Mr. Laack is still hale and hearty and enjoys the simple life, recalling many discomforting experiences of early years in a new country. During his younger days, he was an expert wood chopper and competed in contests of cutting down large trees, which were cut into logs for the sawmills. He is one of the very few direct living descendants of the pioneers of the town of Plymouth, who still resides in the town.

There is also a picture of mrs. John Knowd (Anna Johnson) with the following written about her:

Mrs. John Knowd

Above is a picture of Mrs. John Knowd, who before her marriage was Anna Johnson, the first white child born in the town of Plymouth.

On June 14, 1924, a boulder marker was unveiled at the intersection of Highways 57 & 23, and dedicated by the Plymouth chapter of the Daughters of the Revolution to commemorate in history the Indian trail which later became the Fond du Lac-Sheboygan Plank road, as well as the birth of the first white child in the township who was born near the spot where the two highways cross each other near the east limits of the city of Plymouth.

Mrs. Knowd, after having reared a family of seven children, passed away on March 8, 1888. Her husband was the first agent for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway company, beginning when the Chicago and North Western railroad was built through Plymouth in April, 1859.

Heinecke Co.

The Heinecke company meat market at Plymouth was opened in June, 1924, as a branch of the main market which is located on Indiana avenue in the city of Sheboygan. Since it was first opened, the Plymouth market has been accorded a liberal patronage. In addition to the main market at 805 Indiana avenue, the Heinecke company owns a chain of three other shops in Sheboygan. All the sausage for the Plymouth market is made in Sheboygan.

The present officers of the company are as follows:

President - Ernst Heinecke
Vice President - Charles Otto
Secretary - Mrs. August Heinecke
Treasurer - Otto Heinecke

Arthur Bohnhoff is manager of the Plymouth market.

There is also a picture of a drawing of the "cold springs" tavern. Here is what's written:

Above is shown a picture of a log tavern, in and around which some of the most interesting history of the town and village of Plymouth has been made and written. It was known as the "Cold Springs Tavern" and was erected by Henry I. Davidson and his son, Thomas P., who came to Plymouth from their home in Hartford, Conn., in July, 1845.

Men were imported from Sheboygan Falls to roll up the logs which formed the original cabin, and which in the above picture, forms the right wing of the later imposing structure. The large log part and connecting hall was built and completed in 1847 by J. W. Taylor, who was proprietor of the tavern for many years thereafter.

The enlarged hostelry was formally opened on Christmas of that year. That afternoon occurred the marriage of Miss Elizabeth Coleman, (sister of Mrs. J. W. Taylor) to Thomas P. Davidson. The second story of the new part was converted into one room by removing the partition, forming a ballroom 26 by 40 feet, which was decorated for the occasion with green, fragrant cedar, and a number of bright new tin sconces on the walls reflected the candle-light used in those early days. The ball that night was attended by people from Sheboygan, Fond du Lac and intervening country, and is said to have been one of the gayest and most enjoyable social events ever held in Plymouth.

For a number of years Cold Springs Tavern was the most commodious building in that locality, and was the scene of many social functions, political conventions and other meetings. The first election of 1847 was held there.

The first post office, with Henry I. Davidson postmaster, was located in the right wing, and the Odd Fellows lodge, the first society in the town, was organized in the hall. When J.W. Taylor became postmaster, he placed the post office in the southeast room of the old part. Mr. Taylor was an active real estate dealer, locating many settlers in the central and western portions of the county, going on horse-back over the Indian trail to enter the claims at the general office located in Green Bay. The "Cold Springs Tavern" was a stage station, and the relays were kept in a large barn, which was located near the place where the railroad now crosses Elizabeth street.

After the plank road was completed from Sheboygan to Fond du Lac, and before any railroad was built through the section, there were three lines of four-horse coaches, often loaded with passengers on top as well as crowded inside, making three trips daily each way passing through town. In addition to the coaches, there were a number of four-seated canvas-covered spring wagons, called express, besides lumber wagons filled with new settlers, forming an almost continuous line of vehicles, passing over the plank road and all making stops at the "Cold Springs Tavern."

The Phenix Cheese company plant now is located on the site where this historical and unusually interesting log tavern stood.

There is a great picture of washington wright. Here's what it says about him:

Washington Wright

The above is an excellent likeness of Washington "Wadie" Wright, one of the oldest living settlers in the city of Plymouth. He was born in the state of New York in 1842, and came to Plymouth with his parents when he was four years of age. He has resided there continually since that time, watching the wilderness being transformed into a village and then into a progressive, thriving little city. Aside from an impaired sense of hearing, "Wadie" is physically sound, and weather permitting, takes daily walks from the home of his son-in-law, Peter FASS, with whom he resides, to the downtown section of the city.

Plymouth Business Men

Plymouth Foundry & Machine Co.


The Plymouth Foundry & Machine company, exclusive manufacturer of the Plymouth gear shift pulley and the Plymouth self-feed ensilage cutters for silo filling, enjoys the distinction of being the most extensive distributor of any Sheboygan county manufactured product.

The company holds patent rights in the United States and Canada for these special mechanical devices, which are shipped to all parts of the world. The gear shift pulley is designed as a belt power take-off for Fordson tractors, and it converts the tractor from field work to a belt-driven machine. Wherever there is a market for Fordsons, there is also a market for this gear shift pulley.

The self-feed ensilage cutter has been the main product of the company for many years, and has gained an enviable reputation in Wisconsin, although the company has a rapidly growing distribution of the machine throughout the United States. The plant is now operating at full capacity and many large shipments are enroute to the New England states, Buenos Aires, South America, Australia, and to many provinces in Canada.

The Plymouth Foundry & Machine Company is successor to the firm of F. Thurman & Co., which took over the foundry originally started by Carl Schwartz many years ago. The main office of the company is located in the building formerly occupied as the city hall on Stafford street, south of the bridge. The company was incorporated in 1911. The officers are as follows:

President - Dr. H. F. Deicher
Vice President - C. D. Eastman
Secretary-Treasurer and General Manager - R. W. Robertson

Barker Lumber & Fuel Co.

The Barker Lumber & Fuel company was started in Plymouth in 1902 with J. F. Goelzer as local manager. He filled this important position until his death, which occurred in 1924, since which time O. J. Skillicorn has been in charge of the business.

The Barker Lumber & Fuel company, which owns and operates a chain of lumber and fuel yards throughout Wisconsin, maintains a large branch at Plymouth, dealing extensively in all kinds of lumber and other building material, wood and coal.

The office and adjoining yards in the city of Plymouth are located on Stafford street, a short distance north of the bridge. The large stock of lumber is protected by being housed in spacious sheds.

F. A. Clore

F. A. Clore, owner of a neighborhood grocery store located at 229 Western avenue, has been engaged in this business at Plymouth for about one and a half years. He purchased the store and stock from W. J. Ford who established the business several years ago. Prior to going into business, Mr. Clore devoted several years of his life to the selling of groceries.

Recently he had his store remodeled and at the same time added modern fixtures. Among the latest additions is a modern system of refrigeration, which maintains a uniform temperature, thus insuring the preservation of perishable foodstuffs. Mr. Clore is progressive and conducts one of the neatest and most sanitary grocery stores in Plymouth.


Contributed by: Kay Reitberger

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