Thursday, February 23, 2017

Bunker Hill in the Days Before the Automobile

Pictured: (l-r) The business buildings seen thin the picture start at the corner of East Warren and Washington Streets.  Hale Drug Store, Bastian's Barber Shop, Frank Teichgraber's Saloon and Boarding House, and Charles Folkert's Grocery with saloon in the rear.

    Folkert's Grocery and Provision Store was at the corner of East Warren and Pine Street (the alley) and was the home of the Gazette-News in the 1940's.

Pictured: Folkert's Grocery and Provision Store (Now Gazette-News)

Pictured: The new building on the west side of Washington Street (February 28, 1894)

    There have been some changes made in the corner since those days.  The hitch racks, well, lamp post, and beer barrels are gone as is the Huggins pear orchard, which covered the ground from the Huggins House, which is now Dr. Bley's office (where Dr. Hess's office was located) over to the Congregational Church.  Pine Street (the alley) was then unopened and, where we travel with cars now, there was at the rear of the Gazette-News building a large gate into the pear orchard.

First Automobiles in Bunker Hill
Gazette-News - August 18, 1905

Pictured: An early Bunker Hill automobile

    Up to Tuesday, there were no automobiles in Bunker Hill.  Within 2 hours, there were two.  W.P. Powell came in with a Cadillac at 6 P.M. from Staunton and Al Goodall from Galesburg with a Gales two hours later.  There are others contemplating buying autos and within a month there will be 4 or 5 in town.

Pictured: Bunker Hill Business District (circa 1947)

 ...Read this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, February 23, 2017.

Redford, Carol, and Betty Triplett. "Bunker Hill History." In Reflections: A History of the Bunker Hill-Woodburn Area, p. 26. Bunker Hill: Bunker Hill Publications, 1993. Provided by the Bunker Hill Historical Society.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Weishaupt's Cafe'


Pictured: Weishaupt's Cafe' on East Warren Street

Reprint about Weishaupt's Cafe' from our earlier blog posting at

Article by the late Carolyn Scroggins    

    Ask anyone who lived in Bunker Hill in the late 1920's through the early 1950's, about Weishaupt's Cafe' and you will hear nothing but good comments about the delicious meals served there.

    Clara and Ed (Cappy) Weishaupt were the proprietors.  They lived on a small farm at the southwest edge of Bunker Hill (the Vollmar place).  The restaurant business began in the Warner Building about 1926 then moved across the alley where Dia's Beauty Shop is today (now House of Styles).  The property was two stories with rooms for boarders and other rooms downstairs besides [sic] the restaurant.  Mrs. Freeman, who taught Latin, with her daughter Shirley, roomed there and many others through the years.  Mrs. Weishaupt was a hard worker.  Cappy usually sat in a rocking chair by the front window.  Someone said he and Warner Rull liked to go to the races. 

    Weishaupt's was a favorite place for the working man to eat and generous portions were common.  Marie Kampwerth remembers her husband took a silo filling crew to town to eat in September of '46 when she wasn't up to cooking for the gang.  The men and cooks lined up across the street in front of the former Gazette-News building for a picture.  

    The Sunday chicken dinners were popular with townspeople.  Even in the 1930's, it was reported that "People drove miles to eat Clara Weishaupt's sumptuous chicken dinners".  During the week, when school was in session, hamburgers were fried ahead of time and kept warm in a very large dishpan lined and covered with towels.  I wonder how many hamburgers could fit in a large dishpan.  Some refer to them as greasy but everyone says they were good.  We used to like grease, remember?

    Ralph Gerdt remembers the Commercial Club met for supper in her dining room which was followed by their regular meeting.  She also served family groups there.  She catered large groups such as alumni banquets in Lincoln Hall over the drug store.  Ralph remembers men telling about the strong coffee Mrs. Weishaupt made in her big coffee pot, but she also had a smaller pot that wasn't so strong which Bill Behrens preferred.

    There was a well in front of the cafe' about 10 feet in front of the sidewalk.  Grandma Ladendorff used the well water in her store and living quarters but we don't know if Clara did.  Marie has a picture showing the pump and the drinking cup.

    Lilly Welch (Brueggeman) and Clara Weishaupt were good friends.  Clara was almost like a second mother.  Lilly rode in early every morning with her brother, Ross, who worked at Ed Bruckert's garage.  She stayed at Weishaupt's until it was time to go to school, then after school, she stayed there until Ross got off work.  She remembers Clara was such a good cook.  She made delicious pumpkin pie by using her hand packed ice cream which made it rich.  Her dressing, made with currants, was delicious.  

    Thelma Roberts remembers when she was in grade school, Angie Bertagnolli took the kids money for hamburgers.  Bob Woods mother, Lula, worked in 1929 and '30 and again in 1937 and '38.  He said she and others worked very hard.  His mother killed and dressed chickens, and she did the boarders laundry and other people in town brought laundry at times.  Mrs. Weishaupt had a gasoline powered washing machine.

    Delores Kehr (Davis) who began work there in '46, said when you were hired, it wasn't just to be a waitress but included many household chores.  Most people I've talked with seem to think that the restaurant closed following the tornado, but Delores said it was open into the early to mid 50's.  The tornado took the top story so her business wasn't the same.  No doubt her health was the cause of the closing.  Thelma remembers Mrs. Weishaupt lived with the Gerhardt's in her latter years.  

    Marie Kampwerth says the weekday menu always included roast beef, roast pork, and baked ham, and meals were ready to be served by 10:00 a.m.  The Noll's bread man always ate his noon meal at Weishaupt's at 10 a.m. after he'd finished his town delivery.  The Sunday specialty was delicious fried chicken dinner including dessert.  

    Orland Snedeker said his mother, Laura Dingerson, worked at Weishaupt's Cafe' and that is where she met Orville Snedeker whom she later married.  Through the years, Laura used Clara's recipe for cole slaw dressing which included a bit of mustard and it was quite tasty.  Orland remembers that patrol boys were feted to a chicken dinner in 1955.

    Last week, I mentioned that family dinners could be held in Clara's dining room.  Mary Vaughn said the story brought back memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners when the Hess family and grandmother gathered in the Weishaupt's dining room.  

   In March 1956, Joe and Dorothy Blevins moved to Bunker Hill.  They remember eating at Weishaupt's.  She recalls how the counter defined the edge of the kitchen and you could watch the cooking and serving.  She remembers the large block tile floors, the metal top tables, and ice cream chairs.  Joe thinks the cafe was possibly open as late as '57.

    Speaking of the Blevins makes me think of the Wisch's who made ice cream and sold it from their home in the next block south of the Dairy Queen.  Dorothy and I don't remember whether Russell Rigg started making ice cream or Wisch.  The Blevins bought the home and ice cream making equipment and for a couple of years tried their hand at the business.  Dorothy remembers making cups of ice cream for the Baptist Sunday School picnic at Simmermaker's Grove.  They made a cherry garden flavor with cherries and nuts which was the favorite of many.

From Bunker Hill Revisited, Volume Six, 1920-1940:

April 6, 1928: A very fine building occupied by the former Rubber Works Plant, was remodeled last summer by the Rull Brothers and is now occupied by the Weishaupt Hotel and Restaurant and Charles Rull Pool Room

June 28, 1940: Enjoy a Spring chicken Dinner for only 40 cents, Sunday, at Weishaupt's Cafe, in Bunker Hill (advertisement).

...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories here at

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, October 8, 2014, February 16, 2017.

Stanton, Carl L. . "Bunker Hill News 1920, 1940." In Bunker Hill Revisited, Volume Six, 1920-1940, pp. 57, 236. Bunker Hill: Bunker Hill Publications, 2006. Provided by the Bunker Hill Historical Society.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

George Lee's Livery Stable in the 1890's

Pictured: George Lee's Livery Stable in the 1890's.  On the left are Lee and Tom Payne.  In the center buggy is Bull Hutson and on the right is John Payne and Abe Turk.

     In the days of old, the the livery stable business was one of the most thriving that was engaged in Bunker Hill.  One of the old livery barns was owned and operated by George Lee, who purchased it from Dr. S.F. Hale in 1895.

    In this livery barn, Mayor J.R. Richards kept some nice horses.  Mr. Bastien and Dr. Milton had some nice race horses which they also boarded at the barn.


Pictured: Phoenix Insurance Company calendar.  Many horses from insurance salesmen were boarded at George Lee's Livery Stable. 

    Back in those days, the insurance and other salesmen came into Bunker Hill, where they remained for several days before they drove out the team.  Matt Gaunt kept his funeral hearse in the barn.  Some of the Gazette-News' old readers will recall the two hotels, Goodalls and Mrs. Lee's, both of which always were filled to capacity.  Oil tanks were erected and mechanics came in all around to set up the condensery plant and equipment.

    A vinegar works by the Big Four tracks had several men with it, while the Wise and Mercer flour mill flourished following its rebuilding after the fire destroyed it.

    This livery barn was headquarters later for the builders of the hard road through Bunker Hill, housing office quarters, machinery, cement, and trucks.

...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, October 15, 1937, February 9, 2017.

Stanton, Carl L. . "Bunker Hill News 1937." In Bunker Hill Revisited, Volume Six, 1920-1940, p. 200. Bunker Hill: Bunker Hill Publications, 2003. Provided by the Bunker Hill Historical Society.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Dr. Hess Building Destroyed By Fire


Pictured: Dr. Hess building being destroyed by fire

Article by the late Eldon Duelm

    Sunday Night, February 17, 2005 at 10:17 p.m. a young lady rushed into the Bunker Hill Police Station saying that there was a house on fire up town.  The Fire Department was dispatched.

    By the time I arrived on the scene at about 10:30 p.m. fire lit up the sky and flames were shooting out of the back of the building.  It appeared to me that the fire traveled up the wall and came out of the peak of the roof.  Smoke was getting thick and everyone was scurrying around.  Police were setting up roadblocks at the Post Office at Morgan Street and at the flagpole.  Fire department equipment and firemen seemed to come from everywhere.  Fire hoses were hooked to hydrants, a portable tank was set up in the center of town parking area.  Lights were flashing, equipment was being unloaded and firemen were attacking the flames.

    Tank trucks started pulling into the area emptying their load of water into the portable tank.  A pumper was pumping the water from the tank into the lines which were directed onto the base of the fire plumes from the front yard, north side, east side, and from the roof of the United Community Bank just a very few feet from the south side of the burning building.

    The Bunker Hill Area Ambulance and ambulance personnel set up nearby standing at the ready, "just in case".  They also provided water to the firemen.

    Soon spectators started swarming into the area standing on the sidewalk, Chiropractic Center parking lot and around the Lincoln Statue, some taking pictures, some taking videos, and some just standing there in awe to see this historic building being destroyed by flames.

Pictured: The Dr. Hess Building after the tornado of 1948

Pictured: Dr. Hess's building location at the time of the 1948 tornado.  Bunker Hill was devastated by the tornado in the morning of March 19, 1948.  Much of the uptown area was destroyed.

    The building was something like our own being taken away from us - this historic building which was part of so many of our lives.  We knew that it was soon going to be removed anyway, either by being relocated or by being dismantled, but we didn't expect it to go this way.  We stood there in unbelief that this was happening.  It was like, "pinch me to wake up and realize that this is like a bad dream".   As the roof started caving in, windows began crashing, and the building started turning black at all the openings, we realized that this was not a dream, but reality.

    I saw Dr. Dan and Richard Jones, owners, standing on the sideline not being able to do anything to change the situation.  How frustrated and sad they must have felt.

    It wasn't too long, but seemed like a long time, the fire was knocked down and only smoke was coming from the building, and finally, that stopped too.

    This morning, as the light of day came, I came to work across the street at the Gazette-News, a sad feeling came over me as the burned out empty hulk became visible.  A relic of history was no more.  

Pictured: Dr. George Hess and wife, Lucile at a church dinner at Berean Baptist.

    I got to thinking about the history of the location.  Dr. Jones arranged for me to look at the abstract and here's what I found.        

    Jon Tilden, Moses True, and Ursula True, Moses' wife, received a certification survey dated April 6, 1836 performed by Luke Knowlton, Deputy County Surveyor.  It included lots 127 and 128, which are each 66 feet front by 165 feet in depth.

    The property conveyed to John Cavender for consideration of one dollar in 1836.  It was then conveyed to Philander C. Huggins in 1841.  Mr. Huggins departed this life January 18, 1892, and the property was left to his wife, Elizabeth F. Huggins.  Frank E. Huggins and Mary E. Davis, his children and heirs.  Elizabeth passed away May 17, 1903 and the property was left to Mary E. Davis and Henry S. Davis, Mary's husband.  The property was then conveyed to Dr. Robert E. Bley, Sr. and Dr. Robert E. Bley, Jr in January of 1917.  Dr. Bley Jr. passed away January 18, 1942 and the property was left by will to his wife, Gertie Mae Bley.  Mrs. Bley conveyed the property by Warranty deed to Frank Keirle and Annie E. Keirle, Gertie's parents in March 1942.  The property was then conveyed in December 1945 to Dr. George J. Hess and his wife, Lucile Hess.  The last entry in the abstract that previewed was a Certification of Abstract of Title dated September 25, 1979.

    The fire will apparently end of the story of the Dr. Hess building.  We will continue to watch the location to see what the future will hold and provide a history that others can watch after we are gone.  


Pictured is the Dr. Hess's building across from the Gazette-News

    The building has apparently been a doctors office since Dr. Robert Bley and his son, Dr. Robert Bley, Jr. acquired it in 1917 and then Dr. Hess in 1945.  Now that Dr. Jones has acquired the property, hopefully it will continue its tradition as a location for healing.

Pictured: The Dr. Hess Building before adding to the south side and putting the upstairs entrance inside.

It is Gone!!

Article by the late Eldon Duelm


Pictured: the Chimney came rumbling down on Sat. April 2, 2005

    The last remnants of a Bunker Hill Landmark came tumbling down Saturday morning about 7:45 a.m.  

    The Dr. Hess building started its demolition on Monday of the last week, March 25.  First the back side of the building was drawn down by a backhoe bucket.  The structure came down a little at a time and debris piled up and then hauled away.  The bucket kept nibbling away at the structure until only the large chimney on the south side stayed standing.  All of the other debris was cleaned away and out of the basement.  Then the bucket was placed behind the chimney about three-fourths of the way up and the chimney pulled northward.  It came down with an earth moving boom.  I was sitting in the car on the north side of the property and the earth shook like an explosion.  The chimney fell neatly into the basement like it was supposed to.

Pictured: The Apothecary Shoppe inside the front entrance of Dr. Hess's office area

    Mary Vaughn (Dr. Hess' daughter) and her husband Bill picked up several of the rocks that were part of the beautiful fireplace on the second floor and took them with them at momentos.  Mary said, "We had a number of pictures taken in front of that fireplace so I just had to have something to remember."  I also took a couple of the rocks to place in the museum.  They were white rocks and two sides were covered with ash from the fire that destroyed the home on February 27th.

    On Monday morning, April 4, the lot was leveled and there was no longer a basement.

...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, February 2005, February 2, 2017.