Highland News Leader

A Thought to Remember: Looking back at Highland’s 19th century businesses

The Brief History of the City of Highland, published in 1893 by the Highland Journal, had some unanswered statements about Highland businesses at that time.

I thought that some of the answers were in the Golden Anniversary of St. Paul Catholic Church, a book written by the Rev. J. Meckel, printed in German, except for about 2/3 of the advertising, which was in English. This book wasn’t published until September 1896. My copy of this book was a Christmas present from our niece, Kathy Bellm McDermott, who had received this book from her Grandma Bellm.

The Brief History booklet, on Page 14, reads: “Additional factories and businesses in Highland are: Two brick yards doing an excellent business, one run by steam and manufacture a very fine quality of dry press brick, that have found an extensive sale.”

The Golden Anniversary of St. Paul had the following advertisement on Page 140: “PRESS BRICK YARD, Louis Miller, Proprietor. Manufacturer of all kinds of brick.”

Then, on Page 130, it had: “Highland Brick & Tile Co. for fine brick and tile. Pavement brick a Specialty.”

Another Brief History quote was: “Two planing mills, with a capacity for turning out as fine work as can be had in the large cities. Both of these are locally owned and then operated by perhaps 50 persons.”

Opposite of Page 19, there’s this: “Jacob Christian & Brothers, New Planing Mills, Highland. Manufactures all kinds of Woodwork, Doors, Sash, frames, blinds Etc. made to order.”

In the 1892 Columbus Day parade, Jacob Christian had a float, advertising him as “Carpenter & Builder.”

The Centennial History of Highland, gives information on the other planing mill. “The first planing mill was started before 1858 in Highland, by Nikolaus Rohr, born in 1821 in France and died in Highland in 1899.”

In the 1882 History of Madison County, the business is listed as “Nic Rohr & Son.” The son was probably C. Nicholas Rohr (1852-1896) as the “N. Rohr Mill” had the contract to build the second addition to St. Joseph’s Hospital in 1890. Then, after the roof fire at the original part of the hospital on Jan, 24, 1892, Nicholas Rohr and Fred Harnist (or Harnisch) supervised the repairs.

The 1893 Journal book continues: “We have one butcher block factory that does thousands of dollars worth of business each year, shipping blocks to nearly every state, by railroad car. They consume about a thousand sycamore trees annually. The shop is fitted up in an excellent condition and run by steam.”

The butcher block factory is probably the reason we still have a shortage of sycamore trees in Highland.

On Page 138, the Golden Anniversary booklet, reads: “Henry Spengel, Manufacturer of Fine Butcher Blocks. Highland.”

Also on Page 138, additional businesses are listed: “Joseph Dumbeck, Prop. of Badischer Hof, choice Liquors and Fine Cigars.” This was located in the southeast corner of Main and Olive. Today, it is the west part of St. Paul Grade School.

Also on this page are many other advertisements, including some names no longer in Highland. “Western Hotel with First Class Livery and Feed Stables connected with the Hotel, Henry Utzinger, Proprietor.”

Then, in the Golden Anniversary booklet, it reads: “Western Hotel, best in the City. First Class Bar in Connection.”

The 1882 History of Madison County continues: “In 1854, James Reynolds sold out to Bernard Suppiger, who then again became a partner of the firKuntzmann, Prop. Feed and Livery Stable, Henry Rinderer, Prop. Highland.”

So, Henry Utzinger must have sold or leased the Western Hotel and Stable.

Also, Moses D. Tibbetts, a physician and surgeon, had his office at his residence in Highland. Today, this residence is The Chocolate Affair.

“Jacob Kircher, Feed and Livery stable, Highland and Highland Marble Works, Ed. Feutz, Prop.”

I also have an article that was in the Highland Journal on Aug. 30, 1894, which reads: “Ed. Feutz, the hustler, has let the contract for one of his new dwelling houses to F. Harnisch, J. Heberger and George Schwarz, which has already begun.”

The Ed. Feutz addition to Highland had been started about this time, and maybe this home was for that subdivision, south of Lindenthal, from Cherry, now called Washington, to Olive and on the south side, including the north side of 17th Street. If you live in that area, would you check your abstract to see when your house was built and the first owners?

Today, this Ed Feutz subdivision includes “Lila’s Garden” at the east tip of this subdivision.

Also on the page, opposite of Page 11, in the 1893 Journal booklet, it reads: “Ed. Feutz, Proprietor, HIGHLAND MARBLE WORKS, manufacturer and dealer in Monuments, Headstones & Tablets, of Marble or Granite. Works N.W. Corner Public Square. Highland.” Today, this building is occupied by Illinois Rep. Charlie Meier’s Highland office and on the east by Highland’s Geek.

“Stamm, the Grocer, Staple and fancy groceries, Highland; John Hebberger, Milk Delivered, fresh milk delivered daily; Louis Schwarz, Vestibule Saloon, East side of Square, choice grades of Liquors and Cigars.” Today, it’s the parking lot for Plaza Dental.

“Adam Weith, north of Louis Grantzow’s Store, for good Wines, Liquors & Cigars.” Today, it’s the northeast corner of Main and Washington, 1001 Main, remembered by many as Charles Schatte’s Gambels Store, then later Jack Ziegler Jewelry Store, then Hype Building by Holly Martin and today, three businesses: Riegel, a division of Mount Vernon Mills Inc., Hi-Tek Business solutions and Byrant Michael Law Office. (Thanks, Debbie Zobrist.)

(Quotes from the Brief History of the City of Highland, 1896; Golden Anniversary of St. Paul Church, 1869; 1882 History of Madison County, 1892 Columbus Day Parade, Centennial History of Highland, Debbie Zobrist and my St. Joseph’s Hospital files.)