Highland News Leader

A Thought to Remember: Corner of Main and Laurel has long been a hub of commerce

This photo from the early 1900s shows C. Kinne & Co.’s three buildings, with the Highland Bank on the right. It is on a postcard from the late Udell and Cecelia Harris collection.
This photo from the early 1900s shows C. Kinne & Co.’s three buildings, with the Highland Bank on the right. It is on a postcard from the late Udell and Cecelia Harris collection.

“1906, Feb. 7th, the Highland Dramatic Club was formerly organized, under the direction of Charles Schiettinger.” (This quote is from the Bicentennial Calendar for 1976.)

Also in 1906, “The Marine Milk Condensing Co. was organized, with a capital stock of $20,000.” (This quote from the Good Old Days of Feb. 11, 2016.)

“1906 was also the 50th anniversary of C. Kinne & Co., the general merchandise store that started in 1856, on Lots 10 and 11, Block 14, which is just north of the Square, or Plaza.

Charles Kinne, originally called “Kuehne” when the family came in 1840, was just a young man when he purchased the residence of Garrett Crownover in 1848, on the north side of Main Street. (Crownover later built the two-story brick building at 1000 Laurel, which was diagonally southwest of the Charles Kinne Store. Today, it’s Marx Bros. Lounge.)

Charles Kinne conducted a saddler and harness shop for a number of years. Then, in 1856, he opened a general country store in the original Crownover building, on the north side of Main Street, which had been his saddler shop.

“Mr. Kinne’s integrity, fair dealings and his observance of his motto, ‘The best obtainable goods for the least possible money,’ won him a constantly increasing trade. His eldest son, Louis E. Kinne, then a boy, took his peddler wagon out to the farmers, picking up their country produce and eggs later in the day, exchanging them for goods, groceries or credit. This same Louis Kinne was the 1906 manager and president of the firm.”

“1861, Charles Kinne was appointed postmaster of Highland and had the post office in his small store. This also helped to increase his trade. Also in 1866, Kinne erected a 30-by-60 brick building on the west side of his dwelling/store. This same year, he took in his oldest son, Louis E. Kinne, and his son-in-law, Selmar Pabst.”

By 1870, they were able to buy the corner, Lot 12, from his father’s estate, according to the No. 1 Book of Abstracts, now at the Louis Latzer Memorial Public Library. They built the three-story brick building on the corner lot. (These three building were restored in 2007 by Willie Frey, principal of Frey Properties of Highland, LLC.)

“1885, the banking firm of Kinne & Pabst was started in this store, when the F. Ryhiner & Co. bank failed. This bank, in 1891, became the Highland Bank, and by 1903, became the First National Bank. (Reread my column of Jan. 28, 2016 for these details.)

“John B. Menz, the son of Jacob Menz, become a partner in 1890.”

John B., the-great-grandfather of Jeff and Brad Menz of Highland, gave a talk to the Highland Rotary Club in 1956, about the 100th anniversary of C. Kinne & Co., and I have Mr. Menz’s copy of his presentation, which he gave to me, with his initials included. And I quote: “Some years ago, the dry goods, shoes and clothing department had been sold to Dimig & Doane, then purchased by Clarence Dimig and known as Dimigs Inc. After Clarence Dimig’s death, Orville and Helen Phillips operated the store as ‘Highland Department Store.”

(Later, the store became Gano’s, then Hug Leader Fashion Express. This was followed by Michael Gilomen’s Machine Shop in 1998, until 2005, when Frey Properties purchased the buildings to restore them. Today this is Starlight Gallery, plus Visual & Performing Arts Studio at 903 Main St. Mike moved the Machine Shop to Dr. Reuban Baumann’s former residence at 518 Broadway.)

The C. Kinne & Co. grocery department, became a Tom Boy Grocery franchise, and this was transferred to the Gutzler brothers, Wayne and Maurice. They operated on that corner until they built their new Gutzler’s Tom Boy Supermarket in 1964 at 1304 Broadway. (Gutzler’s now own Highland’s Tru Buy store at 610 Broadway and Family Video is in their old store building.)

(Quotes from the Highland Sesquicentennial book, Pages 12, 14, 23 and 37; Bicentennial calendar, Good Old Days, John B. Menz, Terry Clayton and my files.)