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German-Owned Stores, West Washington Street, ca. 1890

German-Owned Stores, West Washington Street, ca. 1890 image

In 1885 Michael Staebler, a successful farmer from a pioneer German family west of town, constructed this building as the Germania Hotel. Balls, lectures, musical programs, and meetings of the Germania Society were held on the third floor. Staebler later added a fourth story and renamed the building the American Hotel.

He set his sons up in business. Albert managed the hotel and Edward ran a bicycle shop and coal business. The large box shown above in front of the store displayed different grades of coal. A third son, Fred, ran a grocery store across the street. Next door to the hotel, Heinzman and Son offered cash to local farmers for hides and furs.

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