Highland News Leader

Bricks that helped build early Highland were made in town

Roland Harris
Roland Harris

Ardeuser’s Saddler Shop, the brick building at 806 Broadway, was built in 1914 by Fred Ardeuser, after his original building at that location burned down.

Ardeuser operated a harness and saddle shop in this building until 1919 when he sold his stock and business to Robert “Bob” Mannhard. Robert’s father, John Louis Mannhard, a farmer south of Highland for many years, purchased the building. Robert continued in the trade of harness-making for many years, but with the invention of the automobiles, then tractors, the horse population of the Highland area took a big decline. Then came the Depression of 1929.

In 1930, Robert downsized. He built a small, frame building directly behind his big original shop at 806 Broadway. (This small building is still standing, just north of the alley.) Robert continued in the trade of harness-making, saddles and their repair. He also repaired bridles, canvasses and did carpet binding. he continued working in his small shop into his 90s. He died at 96.

Robert, in 1930, leased the original brick building to Mrs. Elise Jenny (Stuart) Drum, who opened a restaurant, which she operated for about 10 years. Elise sold her restaurant to Leslie Ellis about 1940, and he sold to Mrs. Gemoules in 1941, who continued until about 1943. Oscar Gruenenfelder then leased the building and opened a pool hall and taxi cab business, operating until 1952. (Oscar then worked for me, at Roland Harris Furniture on delivery and maintenance for a few years, until he retired again.)

Fred Ardeuser’s brick building had a new lease on life on July 11, 1952, as it was the beginning of the package liquor business in Highland, with the opening of “Walter’s Liquor & Sporting Goods Store,” owned by Edwin “Kid” and Delores “Toots” Walter.

The Walters, in May 1958, sold to Hugo Weber, and he operated as “Mi-Store” until Nov. 15, 1963, at which time Lawrence “Sonny” St. Cin purchased the business calling it “Sonny’s Liquor & Sporting Goods.”

In August 1973, Philip and Barbara Zurliene purchased the store and changed the name to “P&B Liquor & Sportings Inc.

In September 1973, the Zurlienes purchased the store building at 806 Broadway from Robert Mannhard. On Feb. 25, 1974, the business was purchased by Irvin and Gail Holtkoetter, with the Zurlines maintaining the building. The Holtkoetters closed the business in the mid-1980s.

Today, 806 Broadway is home to H&R Block tax preparation and Betty Voss Engraving.

(Information from the Highland Sesquicentennial Book and my files.)

Highland’s Eggen Brickyard was started about 1835 by Jacob Eggen on the property he owned in Helvetia Township just west of what became Highland in 1837.

My great-great-great-grandfather James Reynolds’ farm and the original two log cabins were built in 1830. The Reynolds farm is now where Holiday Manor and Silver Lake Park are. My family lore from Curtiss Blakeman II and his wife, Sarah Reynolds Blakeman, says that the brick home they eventually built was made of from Jacob Eggen’s brickyard. You can see a photo of the James Reynolds brick home in Art Hall at the Highland Home Museum.

This brick home was later owned by Simon Bargetzi’s family, and they made a two-story brick addition on the side of the story-and-a-half brick home. I do have a brick from the original brick home, from Leonard Keeven, who made the Holiday Manor subdivision.

We also have record that Squire James Reynolds, justice of peace, performed the marriage ceremony for Jacob Eggen and Rosa Koepfli Eggen on Feb. 3, 1836.

Highland Brick & Tile Works was established just south of Highland by Louis Q. Miller in 1887. The Miller brickyard was operated for more than 40 years and was located where the Willow Creek subdivision is today. Ralph Korte purchased this 30-acre farm land from Fremont Miller, Louis Q. Miller’s son, in 1986, and by 1987, he was starting the roads for the subdivision. (Thanks, Ralph, for the information.)

During the peak years, the brick yard produced over one and a half million bricks a year. The business was able to supply a good, hard brick for many homes and businesses of Highland and the area. Eventually, the clay fields no longer produced the good clay that was needed, and the yard was dismantled in 1930.


My sincere apology to Judy Voegele (Mrs. Clifford) Gruner of Grantfork, for omitting her name in last week’s column about her father, Alfred Voegele and Voegele Studio. Judy is the second child of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Voegele. It was my oversight, as I do know better.