Highland News Leader

A Thought to Remember: Kuhner family had a saloon, then milk delivery business in Highland

This photo is of Highland Public School in the Square, Room 9, in 1912. Do you have this photo, with names added? Please call Roland Harris at 654-5005 or (618) 303-0082, as this is the first of four pictures, that Mark Frey, now of Louisville, Ky., the son of the late Vernon “Bo Bo” Frey and Ruth “Tootie” Neubauer Frey. Mark is sure that these are all Neubauer pictures. Mark had written the “Frey Book,” and his Frey genealogy book is available for sale at the Highland Home Museum.
This photo is of Highland Public School in the Square, Room 9, in 1912. Do you have this photo, with names added? Please call Roland Harris at 654-5005 or (618) 303-0082, as this is the first of four pictures, that Mark Frey, now of Louisville, Ky., the son of the late Vernon “Bo Bo” Frey and Ruth “Tootie” Neubauer Frey. Mark is sure that these are all Neubauer pictures. Mark had written the “Frey Book,” and his Frey genealogy book is available for sale at the Highland Home Museum.

“In 1910, Joseph Kretz became the proprietor of a saloon at the corner of 6th & Cypress.” (Highland News Leader, Good Old Days of 1960, 50 years ago column.)

I don’t know when it changed hands, but in 1913, it was the Gehrer Saloon of Alfred Gehrer, located at 6th and Cypress. The two-story, brick building at 1306 6th St. has now been made into a duplex by Matt Bugger.

The Jan. 31, 1973, Good Old Days, in the 60 years ago column, had the following: “Alfred Gehrer sold his saloon business on north Cypress Street to Theodore ‘Teddy’ Kuhner.” That was January 1913.

I don’t have additional information on Kretz or Gehrer, but I do have much information on Teddy Kuhner. Theodore A. Kuhner (1887-1957) and his older brother, Julius J. Kuhner, where the sons of Joseph Kuhner (1862-1949) of New Baden and Maria Wanger.

Julius Kuhner was the barber at 1216 Main St. (Today, it’s the Cutting Connection.)

The first information I have on Theodore was that he married Ottillia Pletcher in Trenton in 1911. The Good Old Days of Jan. 31, 1913 reads: “Alfred Gehrer sold his saloon business on the southeast corner of 6th and Cypress St. to Theodore Kuhner.”

It was then that an advertisement for Kuhner’s Saloon was touting a dance to be held on the second floor of Kuhner’s Saloon.

I had contacted Teddy Kuhner’s daughter, Verna Kuhner (Mrs. Lester) Walther, and she remembered growing up at that corner and her mother being anxious to have a different life, so Teddy started the St. Louis Dairy delivery of milk in Highland. They located at the southwest corner of 12th and Cypress (today an apartment building). They also sold milk, cheese and ice cream from the old summer kitchen at their home. This later was called Sealtest Dairy.

Her brother, Howard Kuhner, was one of the drivers and delivered the milk. They were still delivering milk by horse and wagon. When a car scared the horses, they ran. An upset wagon horse once stepped on Howard’s back, injuring his spine.

Howard Kuhner had married Irene Hotz in 1933, and they had two sons, James (Jim) Kuhner and Ronald (Ron) Kuhner.

Howard became an invalid from his accident with the milk wagon and was the first person buried, in 1957 ,from the new Harris Funeral Home at 920 9th St.

Irene Hotz Kuhner was a great granddaughter of Joseph Rupf, who was a cabinet maker and also sold caskets. Rupf built his own two-story frame business building and residence. His was the second furniture and undertaking business in Highland. In 1860, he located at 704 Main St. This Rupf store building had a lithograph in color, made about 1860, and was hanging in the front hallway of Howard and Irene Kuhner’s home.

My wife Lorna had been Howard and Irene’s flower girl when they were married, as Irene’s folks lived at 1408 12th St., and Lorna’s parents, Arthur and Myrtle Raeber Ritt, lived at 1404 12th Street.

Irene’s aunt, Miss Tillie Bellm, lived in the Charles A. Bellm home, at 1400 12th St., and Howard also lived there after his accident. Irene let me take the lithograph to Voegele Studio, and I had a copy made and framed. This litho was in my collection of Highland buildings and is now hanging in the new Highland Home Museum Art Hall, on south end.

Also in 1973, Irene Davis gave me the book, The Settling of Highland, written by Solomon Koepfli and published in German in 1859. This book had been her great-grandfather Joseph Rupf’s copy, and these two remembrances of Irene are today some of my prized possessions. The framed lithograph and the original book, The Settling of Highland, will both be given to the Highland Home Museum and Art, thanks to the late Irene Hotz Kuhner (Eugene) Davis.

(Quotes from the Sesquicentennial History of Highland, genealogy by Roy Worstell, my files, and my columns No. 614 of June 14, 2007 and No. 844 of Oct. 28, 2010.)

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