Highland News Leader

A Thought to Remember: 1893 Highland boasted on its streets, park, businesses

The Brief History of the City of Highlandreally promoted Highland in 1893. I like it, and I hope you do, too.

“It was an easy matter to govern the little village of Highland, acting with prudent economy, but as the village grew with the large number of immigrants that came to Highland, the prairies surrounding the town were converted from fields into Highland and the remaining fields into fields of plenty.

“The village developed rapidly. Many new businesses threw open their doors. Mechanics resounded with the bustle of busy labor and general prosperity set in on every hand and has continued with each passing year.”

The opposite side of Page 4 is a large lithograph of the C. Kinne & Co. building and the advertising below reads: “C. Kinne & Co. dealers in Dry Goods & Notions, Clothing & Furnishing Goods, Boots & Shoes, Carpet, Lace Curtains, Shades and Wall Paper, Groceries, Glass & Queensware. North side of School Square, Highland.”

Highland changed from a village to a city of more than 2,500 people in 1865, and the new city government followed in April 1865, with Jacob Eggen as president, and Joseph Speckert, Henry Weinheimer, Xavior Suppiger and Frank Appel as trustees.

“The first big expenditure submitted to the voters was Aug. 12, 1867, when a bond for $10,000 for the final construction of the Vandalia Railroad into Highland was proposed.”

The proposition carried, and the last payment of the bond was met in 1875.

On the opposite page is a half-page advertisement for Ammann Bros., which boasts “Fall & Winter Goods, Dry Goods, Notions, Boots & Shoes. Groceries, Queenswear Etc. at Rock Bottom Prices.”

On the lower half-page is: “Ben Merck, dealer in FURNITURE, Sewing Machines, Pianos, Organs and Sheet Music. Undertaking a Specialty, Highland.”

The Merck store was at the northeast corner of Broadway and Washington. It was replaced with the State and Trust Bank, which later became the Highland National Bank, and that building was replaced with the Plaza Dental Building.

“No town or city her size in the state of Illinois has more miles of macadamized streets or more and better sidewalks, than the present (1893) city of Highland. Her streets and alleys are constructed with a view to comfort, utility, beauty and practical service. The streets are wide, lined with beautiful shade trees of native timber, giving their glistening foliage to shield the venturesome from the penetrating rays of the noon day sun.

“The homes, yards and gardens amaze the passing stranger. The people are mostly of foreign decent, but the stranger that knocks on their door finds a smiling face and a cordial greeting. Their motto, ‘Do unto others as you would they do unto you.’

“Our building stones and our clay for the brickyards are superior and have been used for the last 60 years, with the durability tested to the satisfaction of all.”

The opposite page of Page 6 is this advertising: “Kuhnen & Siegrist Hardware Co. Highland, dealers in Farm Machinery, Hardware, Paints & Oils, Window Glass, Stoves and Tinware, (With Tin Store in Connection) Wagons and Buggies, Wind Mills and Pumps, Field and Garden Seeds. Also Agent for: John Deere Farm Implements, McCormick Harvester & Binders, McCormick Grass Mowers, Superior & Garland Cook Stoves, Majestic Steel Ranges and Round Oak Heating Stoves, the best stoves made.”

“The city is beautifully situated on high, rolling land, which makes for excellent drainage. Water we have in abundance, and our wells are of the finest kind. We even have a 1,200-foot mineral water well in large quantities at the Helvetia Milk Condensing Plant. It has been tested by Dr. Curtman of St. Louis, and this Mineral Water Spring is twice as concentrated as the well-known springs in Germany.

“A bath house has very recently (1892) been erected here as an experiment, and so great has been the relief obtained from the use of this water, that they have attained an extensive reputation. It is the intention of the people here, a sort of a good Samaritan institution, where the poor can find health, the same as the rich. It is open to all. Partake of it freely.

“Our people seldom resort to the law as a means of settling their difference, but use common sense, with the rule of right and justice. They pay their debts and thus save the expense of necessary legal contention. Being in the center of the fruit belt of Illinois, plenty of pears, peaches, apples, grapes, apricots and quinces can be had at nearly all seasons, for a small consideration.

“Highland is on the Vandalia Railroad, just 30 miles east of St. Louis, and can be reached from any part of the world at a very small cost to you. Good board and accommodations can be had at $3 to $4.50 per week in our hotels.

“Don’t forget our Lindendale Park, our beautiful summer resort on the outskirts of Highland, southeast of the main business portion of Highland.”

On the opposite of Page 10 are two half-page ads: S. Marti Lumber, which will be a June column, and “TIMOTHY GRUAZ, Notary Public, Financial Agent, Collections made, Money to loan on Real Estate with Homes and Lands for Sale, choice bargains. Also Drafts issued on all cities of Europe & the Orient.”

“Joseph and Solomon Koepfli, along with their father, Dr. Kasper Koepfli, were promoters of Highland, and the two sons gave the 31-acre park to the Helvetia Sharpshooters Association in 1861. They also gave the 3/4-mile roadway to Highland from Cherry (now Washington) to the west gate of the park. (This road way is now called Lindenthal Avenue.)

“The soft maple and the hardwood Linden trees had been planted in two rows on each side to create a canopy over the roadway. The towering trees in the roadway and park are bending their boughs overhead. After the Civil War was over, the park really grew with a Swiss Cross-shaped entertainment hall and dance floor, which can accommodate a thousand (or maybe 400 or more), a bowling alley hall, and shooting gallery for all sharpshooters. The southeast part has a fork of Sugar Creek winding its way and the northwest corner of the park has an open plat of ground, as level and as smooth as a parlor floor, where visiting baseball clubs meet our Highland teams. Lindendale Park has a wonderful reputation on both sides of the Mississippi River.”

The Highland Embroidery Works, has information on Pages 12 and 13, about its Swiss-made Schiffley embroidery machines. That will follow in April.

(Quotes from the Brief History of the City of Highland, 1893.)