24 East Main St.
Researched and Written by Ruth Ann Montgomery
Published in the Evansville Review, January 3, 1996, p.7 & 10, Evansville, Wisconsin

George Magee, builder of the Magee Opera House on East Main Street, also owned the lots directly east of the hall.
In 1883, he built a store at 26 East Main and two years later, he built a two-story building between the hall and the
first store. The dimensions of the building constructed in 1885 at 24 East Main were 22 x 48 feet. A plate glass front,
typical of store fronts of the period, was put on the Main Street side of the building.

The building, often described as "one door east Magee's Hall" was built as a rental property and George Magee's
first tenant was John F. Rice of Delavan, who opened a drug store on first floor of the building. Several times during
the construction of the store in the spring of 1885, Rice came to Evansville to supervise the installation of shelving
and check on the progress of the building.

It took just two months to build-the store. The Evansville Review first announced Magee's plans for construction in
their April 11, 1885 issue and on June 12, John F. Rice, Pharmacist, had moved his stock of goods into the store.
Rice also moved his family into the apartment above the store to be near his business and advertised that he would
carefully compound prescriptions day or night.

The owner of the building, George Magee, realized that he was in failing health in the early winter of 1888 and
began to deed the property that he owned to his sons and daughters. Jennie Magee Sherger received the building
at 24 East Main as part of her father's generous gifts.

To keep his children from cashing in on his property bequest, Magee wrote into the deed that Jennie could not sell
the building to anyone except an heir of her father for the next ten years. George Magee need not have worried,
because Jennie held onto the property until 1915, when she sold it to her son-in-law.

The drug store changed hands in February 1888. John Rice sold his stock of drugs to S. H. Cowles and W. M. Carr
of Madison. Cowles remained an absentee owner while W. M. Carr operated the drug store.

In addition to his pharmacy business, Carr had the first public telephone in Evansville installed in the store in
December 1888. Carr fitted up a small room in the back of his store for the telephone office. However, it was not a
sound proof room and customers complained that it was impossible to send a private message over the all too
public telephone. Despite the complaints, the telephone remained in the store for ten years, until the phone offices
moved to rooms in the back of the Bank of Evansville on the corner of Main and Madison Streets.

Carr managed the store for Cowles until 1893 when Carr moved to Rhinelander. Charlie Graves succeeded Carr
and remained only a short while because in a few months Cowles sold the business to Karl Snyder. It was one of
three drug stores operating in Evansville.

The Wisconsin Druggists' Exchange, a newsletter of the Wisconsin Pharmacist's Association, highlighted the three
Evansville drug stores in 1893. The writer noted that Evansville, with a population of 1523, was blessed with a rich
and prosperous surrounding country.

The newsletter described the drug store next to the Opera House in glowing terms. "The walls and ceilings are nicely
papered in neat design, the shelves and fixtures are enameled white with faintest blue trimmings. They also have a
good soda fountain. The store is also the public telephone office and is quite handy to trade."

Karl Snyder, like the other pharmacists before him, could not keep the business going and was only able to operate
the store for two years. In March 1895, he was forced to sell the contents of the store at auction for $625.
Jennie Sherger's store at 24 East Main had changed tenants three times in ten years. The first opportunity she had
to rent the building in September 1895 was to George H. Stanton who wanted to open a lunch room and fancy
grocery. His wife managed the restaurant.

For the next few years, the building housed a restaurant, operated under several different managers. Stanton was
in business until 1902 when two men, known only by their last names, Bonahoom and Baccash took over the
restaurant. A year later, their store, known also as the Italian fruit store, was the scene of a fire.

The City of Evansville had installed their water works system and it was operational by 1902. The primary purpose of
the system was to provide protection from fires, but more important on a day to day basis for Evansville residents
was that the water works' provided water to homes and businesses. It was more than a year after it was installed that
the water system was used for a fire.

On April 23, 1903, a gasoline stove exploded at the Bonahoom and Baccash restaurant and the Evansville firemen
proudly announced that they were able to put the fire out in just six minutes. With the new fire hydrants, the firemen
hooked up their hoses to several different hydrants and threw six streams of water on the blaze, a feat impossible to
perform without the water system.

The fire caused damage estimated at $1,000, but the firemen reported that if there had been no water system, they
would have lost at least four businesses located in the wood sided buildings near the restaurant. A former fireman,
James Powles, wrote in his diary: "Quite a fire at the Italian fruit store. First time they had a chance to try water
works. It was OK."

Over the next few years, several other businesses were located in the store. Some were successful, others failed.  
Del McKinney opened a restaurant in the Sherger building in November 1907.

In 1910,  William and Blanche Brook had opened the Dresden Restaurant in the Sherger building and apparently
had little cash to support their venture. The Brook's had given their bake oven, tables, chairs and other equipment
as collateral for a loan they received from Herbert Wright. When the business failed a public auction was held to
satisfy the mortgage held by Wright.

The last restaurant to operate in the building was managed by George Rosenthal of Whitewater. He opened the
restaurant in May 1913 and by September he had moved on to another business.

In November 1913, the store once again became a drug store. In November 1911, William Groh, a pharmacist, had
married Daisy Sherger, the daughter of Frank and Jennie Magee Sherger. Groh had been working in Lew Van
Wart's pharmacy since 1907 and after his marriage to Daisy, decided to go into business for himself.

William G. Groh was born in Sheboygan and after he graduated from high school he attended Marquette University
to study pharmacy. For two years after his graduation, he worked at a drug store in Manitowoc, and then Groh came
to work for Van Wart in Evansville.

Groh redecorated and furnished the Sherger building before the grand opening of the Red Cross Drug Store in
November 1913.  As an incentive to attend the opening, he offered a box of chocolates to the ladies, a cigar or box
of candy for the men and a balloon to each child. When the event was over, he told the Evansville Review reporter
that his promotion had been successful and he had given away several hundred balloons.
In 1915, Groh purchased the building from his mother-in-law and for the next thirty five years, he operated his drug
store out of the building at 24 East Main Street. The Groh family, which eventually included his two daughters, lived
above the store in the second floor apartment.

Few changes were made to the building over the years that Groh lived there. Elmer Sherger, a brother of Daisy
Sherger.  Groh, built a cement block garage for his car, behind the building in 1923 and in 1937, a news report
noted that the exterior had been repainted.

Groh gave up the drug store business in the late 1940s, after his daughters had graduated from college. He and
Daisy rented the store to Mr. and Mrs. R. B. Bradford who opened a clothing shop for women and children in May
1948.

As it had in its early history, the store became home to a succession of businesses after Groh's drug store. William
Groh died in 1949, but his wife, Daisy, continued to own the store building until her death in 1972.

Juliette Meredith first opened a dress shop in her home on West Liberty Street in 1953. When she decided to move
into the business district in 1958, she rented the Groh store. She remained in the store known as "Julie's"
throughout much of the 1960s. She used the large plate glass windows in the front of the store to display manikins
wearing the latest fashions available in the store.



































When Daisy Groh died in 1972, the property was deeded to her daughter, Betty Walsh. Mrs. Walsh sold it in May
1974 to Roger Berg and for the next twenty years, the property was owned by members of his family, including Jean
Petterson, his sister, and his mother, Pleasy Berg.

Various businesses operated out of the store, including a bicycle shop, a Surge dealership, and more recently, Jim
McGoey's, Evansville Fine Arts business.
In July of 2005, Walter Shannon, an attorney from
Michigan, who grew up near Edgerton and attended
school in Milton, purchased the building from Vele
and Parks.  He established the Shannon Law
Office, LLC on the first floor of the building and
rented out the second floor apartment.  

After purchasing the building, Shannon hired his
sister-in-law, Ann Bond a professional designer
from Indianapolis, to design an exterior and interior
color scheme for the building. In the summer of
2006, the exterior was repainted by Cheryl Fuchs of
Otter Painting, a local Evansville company.  Later
that fall, the interior was repainted by another
sister-in-law, Kathy Greve, an artist from Salem,
Mass.

During the exterior painting, bricks were removed
from the lower front façade and exterior trim work
was repaired by local craftsman, James
Cunningham. A ramp was added to the rear of the
building to provide handicap access to the building
and provide an entrance during the 2007 Main
Street reconstruction project.  

In May of 2007, Shannon welcomed Attorney
Rebecca DeMarb as a partner and the firm
changed its name to Shannon & DeMarb, LLC. The
building is once again bustling with activity and with
care and good fortune; the building should serve
the Evansville business community for another 100
years.  
In the mid 1990s the store was sold to Kim Vele
and her husband, Steve Parks who have
renovated the building for use as a law office.  
Vele and Parks also purchased the vacant lot to
the west of the store that had once been the
Magee Theater.

Kimberly Vele had started her law firm in 1985 in
her home located on Highway 14, east of
Evansville.  For a number of years she has also
been a Tribal Judge with the StockbridgeMunsee
tribe. As her business grew, Kim was joined in
private practice by Christe McKittrick and the firm
decided to move into the business district in
Evansville. When Carla Andres joined the firm, it
became the largest women's law firm in Rock
County. Kay Hughes became their office manager.

Vele and Parks made every effort to maintain the
original character of the building. With help from
family, friends and local craftsmen, they have
painted and repaired the building at 24 East Main
and landscaped the vacate lot to the west.  They
installed a wrought iron fence to make the area
into an attractive park-like green space.
Vele McKittrick Law Offices
September 7, 1995
Destruction of the Magee Theater in 1968.  Building at 24 East Main can be seen to the
right of the theater.  Both structures were at one time owned by the Magee family.  
Photograph by Richard Luers.
October 2007 view of 24 East Street (left) &
26 East Main Street (right)
24 East Main October 2007
Sunny Day on East Main Street in Evansville in October 2007.  

24 East Main.  Offices of Walter Shannon.
In July of 2005, Walter Shannon purchased the
building from Vele and Parks.  Walter, an attorney
from Michigan, opened his new law office at 24 East
Main Street.  He grew up near Edgerton, attended
school in Milton and practiced law in Michigan for 15
years prior to opening his business in Evansville.  

Shannon wanted his new law office to reflect the
historic past and the proposed future and created a
new name for the building, “The Grove Law
Building.”  Walter hired local business man Ed
McCarten to hand paint, in gold leaf, the new name of
the building on the windows to the right and left
above the front entrance.  McCarten painted a scale
on the center window.  Shannon Law Office LLC, and
other information about business hours  were painted
on the door window.  McCarten completed the work in
the autumn of 2005.  

In 2006, Shannon hired his sister-in-law, Ann Bond a
professional designer from Indianapolis, to create an
exterior and interior color scheme for the building.  
That summer, the exterior was repainted by Cheryl
Fuchs of Otter Painting, a local Evansville company.  
In the fall, the interior was repainted by another sister-
in-law, Kathy Greve, an artist from Salem, Mass.  
During the exterior painting, bricks were removed
from the lower front façade and exterior trim work was
repaired by local craftsman, James Cunningham.  

In 2007, a ramp was added to the rear of the building
to provide handicap access to the building.  This also
provide an entrance during the 2007 Main Street
reconstruction of the brick street in front of the
building.  

With care and good fortune, the building should
serve the Evansville business community for another
100 years.