Researched and written by Ruth
The earliest records of the ownership of the store at 9 West Main occur in the Rock County Court House deed records. Justin Pettigrew owned the property and mortgaged it several times in the late 1860s, first to Andrew Munger in 1868, for $500, then to John C. Frederick in March 1869 for $600 and again in March 1870 to Elnathan Sawtelle, Jr. for $600. Pettigrew also owned other property along West Main Street and jointly owned property south of Church Street with his siblings.
In 1870, Pettigrew leased the building at 9 West Main to C. B. Morse, who opened a jewelry store. Morse had arrived in Evansville in June 1870 and opened a shop in the Evans and Smith's Drug Store at the corner of Main and Madison Streets, until he could find a permanent location.
Morse was listed in the census of Evansville in 1870. He told the census taker he was 29 years old and gave his profession as jeweler.
An ambitious young businessman, who wanted to expand his jewelry shop, Morse soon moved out of the drug store space and rented the Justin Pettigrew store. C. B. Morse advertised himself as a watchmaker and jeweler who "will attend strictly to watch and clock repairing also mending jewelry in a neat and tasty manner."
For many years, Morse advertised the Elgin Watches, made in Elgin, Illinois. He also sold silverware, cake baskets, napkin rings, cups and diamond spectacles. "Every Thing in the Jewelry Line, fine cutlery, razors and pocket knives. Price for goods and work to defy competition, " he advertised in the May 22, 1872 issue of the Evansville Review.
In 1872, Pettigrew advertised his property, including the store leased by Morse, for sale. Pettigrew had plans to move to the Dakotas and make his fortune in the new settlements in the West. He sold the store to Morse for $600 and Pettigrew held a mortgage for $300.
Pettigrew established a business in Vermillion, South Dakota, but maintained close ties with Evansville friends and family. He died in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 1891 and his body was returned to Evansville to be buried in the Pettigrew family plot in Maple Hill Cemetery.
Morse remodeled the interior of the store in August 1875. Carpenters James West and Homer Potter designed new cases and shelving for C. B. Morse. They built a large black walnut show case and extended the shelving on the walls by installing French glass shelves. This allowed Morse to display his plates, clocks and other items to create an atmosphere of "attractiveness and pleasure of a first class jewelry store".
The Morse's had one daughter, Belle. She lived at home with her parents. A Brooklyn man, Thomas Neville, had decided he wanted to date Belle. One night in 1880, Neville followed Belle to her home and demanded to come into the house. Mrs. Morse asked him to leave and when he refused, she went to a neighbors for help. Neville left the premises, but it was not the last the Morse's were to see of him. When C. B. Morse was told about the intruder, he contacted Neville and told him to leave his daughter alone.
The following year, in January 1881, Neville entered Morse's Jewelry store and accused Morse of sending people to his house to annoy him by ringing bells. According to reports, Neville was intoxicated and "became violent in his outburst". During the verbal confrontation, Neville pulled a gun from his coat and threatened to shoot Morse. The frightened jeweler was able to escape through the store's rear entrance and notified the authorities.
Neville continued his rampage through several other stores, including the drug store at the southeast corner of Main and Madison Street, where he tried to buy whiskey. When the clerk, a Mr. Griswold refused to sell him liquor, Neville once again pulled his gun, but Griswold made an exit to the basement and locked the door behind him.
Neville next went to the Smith and Eager store and found William Smith working. He again made such frightening remarks that Smith made an escape from his store. Neville eventually left the Smith and Eager store and was walking to another store when Deputy Marshall Dresback caught up with him and wrestled him to the ground.
With the help of W. H. Hamilton, George Hayward and L. F. Palmer, Dresback was able to take Neville's gun away from him. Neville was arrested and put in the village jail. He was later prosecuted and judged insane and taken to the county asylum. However, he was released in a few months.
Neville was injured during the fracas and his relatives sued W. H. Hamilton, George Hayward and Lucian Palmer for assaulting Neville. They were each fined, because Deputy Dresback testified that he had not asked for their help. The escapade was the talk of the town for several weeks.
The following month, in February 1881, after his encounter with Neville, Morse decided to sell the store and his home. The Evansville Review rain a short article about the sale. "C. B. Morse Esq., which also means jeweler, and keeps silverware &c for sale, ahs sold his store and dwelling house to Byron Campbell, the hog sculpturist, for $1900. We don't know what will become of C. B. if he leaves Evansville."
After selling his property, Morse changed his mind about leaving town. In April 1881, Morse purchased a building on the north side of East Main Street, where he conducted the jewelry business for several more years.
Campbell had been in the meat business for many years. He had started in a small shop on the south side of East Main Street. That shop had been moved to a spot near the creek and a new post office and Masonic Lodge Hall built on the spot of the old meat market at what is today, 11 East Main Street.
After he purchased the jewelry shop, Campbell had the building at 9 West Main remodeled. "Byron Campbell has the carpenters at work fitting up the building he recently bought of Morse and into which the City Meat Market will shortly be moved." the Evansville Review told readers in April 1881.
Campbell's partner in the butchering business, John Budlong, had been associated with Campbell for a number of years. The shop was advertised as the "Meat Market" and featured "the choicest sliced meats, sausages, hams, etc." Campbell and Budlong moved into the building in May 1881.
Meat for the shop was purchased from local farmers and Byron Campbell had a reputation for "square dealing." The store also advertised that they paid the highest prices for "fat stock, hides, pelts, etc."
After a year of business in the shop at 9 West Main, Budlong quit the partnership with Campbell. Byron Campbell brought his son, William, into the business and they operated as "B. Campbell & Son". Budlong stayed in Evansville and for a number of years operated a meat market in competition with Campbell.
Byron's new partner, William Campbell was his oldest son. William was born to Byron and his wife, Frances Libby Campbell, in Evansville, in 1864. He attended the Evansville schools. William graduated from the Evansville High School and was just 18 years old when he joined his father in the meat business.
In addition to the butcher shop, Byron Campbell also owned property on both sides of Allen's Creek near what is today the city park. The land served as a holding area for the stock that the firm purchased from local farmers. The creek provided water and the land provided pasture land. Campbell had holding pens and a barn that he used for holding and killing the animals for his market.
Blizzards and storms in the months of February and March 1881, created many difficulties for people and their livestock. Campbell had a number of pigs in a holding pen on the land he owned near the park. When the blizzard came, it covered the pigs and Campbell dug them out and placed them in a barn he used as a slaughterhouse.
One of the hogs was missing and Campbell searched several days before he found the pig emerging from a snow bank. The animal had survived the blizzard and although it had lost weight, Campbell hoped it could be fattened up and butchered. Campbell told the Review reporter: "his hog was rather thin, could grunt, and took to the trough quite familiarly, but he can't depend on him for bolognas for a number of days yet."
Occasionally one of Campbell's animals would stray from the compound. Campbell placed ads in the local paper notifying anyone who found the animals to return them. One ad read: "Strayed or stolen, on Monday; November 15 from the pasture of B. Campbell opposite Mr. Fish's residence, a spotted cow in good condition about 12 years of age color light red, with white spots, point of horns turned toward each other, and the bush of the tail absent."
Since Campbell's land at the north edge of Evansville included part of Allen's Creek, he sometimes created an ice pond. In the winter of 1882, Byron and his son, William constructed a temporary dam across the part of the creek that flowed across their land. When the small pond froze, they cut the ice to use for refrigeration for their meat.
Campbell and his son operated their store for nearly twenty years, usually with very little notice in the local news. They regularly advertised in the local newspapers of the 1880s, the Review and the Enterprise.
Although it was not the kind of publicity a businessman wanted, the Campbell & Son Meat Market was the center of attention in October 1887. One evening, burglars tried to rob the meat market, by entering the store through a rear window. Ad Barnum, who lived in the apartment above the store heard the noise. He yelled out the window and frightened the potential thieves away.
The building was remodeled in October 1895. Campbells added a workroom onto the back of the building. They also built new stairs and platform for the apartment on the second floor of the building.
The following year, the entire building and its contents was lost in the Great Fire of 1896. Ad Barnum rented the apartment on the second floor and he lost all of his belongings. Byron Campbell and his son, William, estimated their loss on the building and the contents at $1,000 and they carried no insurance.
Campbells and their neighbors, Dr. C. M. Smith, and Almeron Eager, "express their willingness and anxiety to rebuild at once, a handsome block of brick and stone."
Construction began immediately after the fire. The second story of the building, shared with the Smith building, was built as a hall for Odd Fellows Hall.
During the construction of the new store, William, the junior member of the firm, went to Wauseka to purchase new stock for the store. Byron went to Chicago to get a new refrigerator for the meat market in January 1897, while the new building was under construction. The new equipment arrived in late January and the Evansville Review of January 29, 1897 announced, "B. Campbell & Son expect to have their new meat market ready for business Monday, and it will be one of the finest in this section.
By the beginning of February, 1897 the Evansville Badger newspaper announced that "B. Campbell & Son are located in their new market which is equipped in the most approved style. They are there to meet their old customers and serve them with lamb, sheep or mutton."
Owning and operating a meat market and butcher shop were only part of the community activities that Byron Campbell conducted. He was also one of the principal organizers of the annual Charity Ball that helped pay the expenses of the poor families in the Evansville area. Held in January or February, the ball was one of the social highlights of the winter season.
In April 1900, Byron Campbell retired from the meat business. He was Evansville's oldest businessman at the time of his retirement. There are several news articles documenting livestock sales to Byron Campbell after his retirement, indicating that he did keep an active interest in the business, even though he was not at the shop on a day-to-day basis.
After retiring, Byron Campbell took a strong interest in the preservation of Evansville's history. For several months, articles about Evansville's history appeared in the Evansville Review. Eventually the Antes Press published Campbell's book "Pioneer Days of Evansville and Vicinity". The book is still available at the Eager Free Public Library and is read as a source of early life in "The Grove".
Active in local politics, Byron Campbell served on the Village Board in the 1890s, and at least one term as Village Board President. He also served two terms as mayor of Evansville from 1915 to 1919. He died in May 1919, just shortly after finishing his second term.
Throughout his retirement, Byron Campbell continued to own the building at 9 West Main. When he decided to be less active in the meat market, he sold his interest in the business to George Wolfe. Byron's son, William Campbell, continued as a partner with George Wolfe in the firm known as Campbell & Wolfe Meat Market.
William E. Campbell, like his father, was interested in local politics and served as Mayor of Evansville in 1904. He was also active in the Fair Association and served as president of the Rock County fairs held in Evansville in the early 1900s.
George Wolfe had tried many careers, painter, hotel keeper, and butcher. The business that he most often pursued was the meat market. It was a very competitive field and Wolfe moved in and out of partnerships through the next 30 years.
Wolfe came to Evansville in 1876 from Camache, Iowa, where he had a painting and decorating business. For a number of years he operated the Hotel Commercial (today's Coach House). then he went to work for Baker Manufacturing Company as manager of the paint department.
In 1888, Wolfe became a partner of Elmer and Irving Libby in the Libby and Wolfe Meat Market. In the 1890s, he operated the Columbia Meat Market as a sole proprietor.
Wolfe moved to Janesville for a brief period of time in the late 1890s, then returned in 1897 and went into business with Harry Hayward in the Baker Block. By the early months of 1900, Wolfe was looking for another partner and another location.
The Campbell & Wolfe meat market was in business until May 1904, when it was announced that Wolfe had bought William Campbell's interest in the business. Campbell had been elected Mayor of the City in the April election and the announcement of the sale said that he "is giving generously of his time to the duties coming to him at the City Hall."
Once he sold the market, Campbell seemed at a loss for an occupation that pleased him.
For a few months, Campbell worked in the livestock shipping business. Elmer Bullard and Campbell purchased sheep in Colorado and shipped them by train to markets in St. Joseph and Kansas City, Missouri.
In May 1905, Campbell purchased a half interest in the livery business with Dr. C. S. Ware. Together they operated the Central House hotel livery. However, by November 1905, Campbell had sold out his interest in the business to Ware and by January 1906, William Campbell had moved to Madison.
Wolfe intended to run the meat market with the assistance of his only son, George, Jr. The Wolfe's maintained a slaughterhouse for preparing meat for their market.
In March 1906, George Wolfe sold his business at 9 West Main to S. Gammon and William Lee. The March 20, 1906 Tribune reported that S. Gammon of this city and Wm. Lee of Cooksville have purchased George Wolfe's meat business and expect to take possession the first of April."
Wolfe announced that he was going to be operating the Central House Hotel. Wolfe placed a notice in the Tribune for his creditors to settle their accounts. "Notice to Creditors. Having discontinued the meat business and being very desirous of getting my account all settled at once I respectfully request all who are indebted to me to call and settle at once."
There is ample evidence that Wolfe and his son continued in the meat business and competed with Lee. He went into business at his old stand of 17 West Main with his former partner, Ernest Libby and later with Charles Barnum. Barnum and Wolfe advertised as the Palace Meat Market.
William Lee and his partner, Sam Gammon opened their business in April 1906. Little is known about Gammon and it appears that he and Lee did not have a very long partnership. Gammon moved to Milwaukee, but continued to visit Evansville frequently, according to local news items.
By 1910, Lee was advertising as the sole proprietor. Lee was a native of Milwaukee and had moved to Dane County were he operated a farm in Stebbinsville. Lee had also operated a meat market in Cooksville before purchasing the meat market from Wolfe and moving to Evansville in 1906.
Lee's business at 9 West Main Street was advertised in the Evansville Prospectus, published in 1910 by the Evansville Review. The writer called the Lee business, "one of the best meat markets in this section, and Mr. Lee has won success by furnishing first class goods only and by being up-to-date and modern in all his methods."
According to the Illustrated Prospectus, Lee was one of the first markets to put in a machine slicer. Lee employed two other men in the market. They slaughtered all of their own meat to insure freshness and quality. Their slaughter house was also rented from Byron Campbell and was the same one used by Campbell and Wolfe.
A picture of the market showed the wainscoted walls of the interior of the building with
sides and halfs of beef and other animals hung from meat hooks on the west side of the long, narrow building. On the east wall were advertisements and the wood counter where customers were served.
Just two months after the Illustrated Prospectus appeared, the slaughter house that Lee rented from Byron Campbell burned to the ground. The fire was discovered at midnight and before the fire department arrived, the building was consumed by fire. All of the livestock in the building escaped. The cause of the fire was never discovered.
City officials were considering the purchase of Campbell's land to expand the park and gain a gravel pit that could eventually be made into a park. The paving of road required a 12 inch stone base and the Campbell quarry could provide cheap stone for this purpose, according to some citizens. With the potential sale offer, Campbell did not rebuild his slaughterhouse on the property.
The location of Lee's slaughterhouse after the fire is unknown, but he continued to purchase most his own livestock for sale in the shop. He promised to pay the "highest prices for hogs, cattle, poultry, hides, etc." in his newspaper notices.
William Lee died in June 1911 and his wife, Minnie and son, Ellsworth took over the meat business. Mrs. Lee placed ads in the Evansville Review advertising her market business. One ad placed in the December 14, 1911 issue read: "The choicest meats from the Blue Ribbon Fat Stock Show Cattle from Swift & Co. We also handle first class good steers."
Prices for poultry for Christmas dinners were also listed. Turkeys sold for 20 cents a pound and chickens for 15 cents a pound.
From 1913 until the present time, the building at 9 West Main had to be remodeled several times to accommodate the succession of businesses that operated at that address.
The Lee Meat Market at 9 West Main was sold in April 1913 to Howard Van Patten. The new owner, Van Patten, rented the building from Byron Campbell for only a few months.
In January 1914, Campbell remodeled the building for the new renters. A barbershop operated by William "Billy" Phelps and Henry Dixon moved into the building as soon as the remodeling was complete.
The new shop was painted white and big mirrors were set in white marble. Phelps and Dixon installed four barber's chairs. "The shop is equipped in such a manner as to make it a credit to the town", the Evansville Review of January 15, 1914 reported.
In 1915, the partnership was dissolved. Phelps decided he wanted to try his luck in Hollywood, California. He sold his interest in the barbershop to Willliam Dake.
Dixon and Dake were business partners until January 1919 when the terrible influenza epidemic hit Evansville. Dixon was one of many Evansville victims of the dreaded disease.
After Henry Dixon's death, Dake purchased his partner's interest in the barbering business from the Dixon estate. Dake paid Henry's widow an undisclosed amount of money so that she would have an income to raise her three small children.
For a time Mark Moore was a partner with Dake in the building at 9 West Main Street. Dake also hired Homer Norton to work in the shop. A revolving electric red and white barber pole was installed to let customers know he was open. It was said to have been the first of its kind in Evansville.
Ownership of the building changed when Byron Campbell died on May 7, 1919. His two sons, William and Bert received shares in the business and residential property that Campbell owned. Bert inherited the building at 9 West Main, but had no interest in using it and sold the property to Archie E. Harte in July 1919.
The new owner of the store was a local jeweler and optometrist. Harte was born in Farmington, Minnesota and after graduating from high school in 1894, he moved to Albany, Wisconsin. In 1896, he married Lena Wallace, a native of Bloomingdale, Wisconsin.
Harte moved to Sumner, Iowa in 1901 and continued to farm. Archie and his family came to the Evansville area in 1903 and rented the Anson Baldwin farm on the county line west of the city. His sister, Mrs. Charles Webb lived in Evansville and he was drawn here by her reports of the opportunities available.
In 1906, Harte moved to Evansville and purchased a house on Liberty Street. He was hired to work in the newly opened jewelry store and optometrist shop in the Grange Store on West Main Street.
After he became a Grange Store employee, Harte attended the Stone School of Watch Making and the Columbia Optical College at St. Paul, Minnesota. By 1909, Harte was named manager of the jewelry department and in 1910, he became a stockholder and director of the company known officially as the Evansville Mercantile Association.
After preparing himself to give professional jeweler and optometrist services, Harte became a member of the Wisconsin Association of Optometrists, attending their conventions and workshops. He became known state wide for his quality work and was actively involved in the promotion of the professional qualifications for optical services.
In 1915, local optometrist Archie Harte was considered to be one of the top men practicing in Wisconsin. Wisconsin Governor Phillip, appointed Harte to serve a three-year term on the first Optometrical State Board of Examiners.
The state legislature passed a law in 1915 requiring optometrists to pass written and practical tests before they were issued a license to practice in Wisconsin. A news release in the November 11, 1915 Evansville Review noted the importance of the new regulation. "The new law will weed out incompetent optometrists. Such a law should have been passed years ago".
The first examinations were given in Milwaukee during October 1915 and about 150 people took the exam and the Harte and other members of the Board refused to grant licenses to 30 of the candidates. Three times a year, the Board met in different cities to hold the exams. Harte was reappointed for a second term on the Board and served for eight years.
In March 1916, Harte became the sole owner of the Grange Jewelry Co. The purchase involved the trading of the stock he owned in the Evansville Mercantile Association, owners of the Grange Store.
In 1919, Harte began investing in real estate in Evansville and other parts of the state. In the spring of that year, he purchased a farm near McCord, Wisconsin. "He is quite impressed with the agricultural future of the northern part of the state," the Evansville Review reporter stated.
Even after he purchased the Campbell building in 1919, Harte used his new building at 9 West Main as rental property. For the next 8 years, until 1927, W. A. Dake continued to operate his shop in the building that Harte owned.
Harte remained in the Grange Store, leasing the space from the Evansville Mercantile Association. Harte's optical and jewelry business was advertised in every issue of the Evansville Review.
"Harte, the Optometrist. Aches May Be Caused by the Eyes and if it is so caused nothing in the world will stop it but wearing of the right glasses. If you are troubled with headaches it is very much to your interest to have your eyes examined without delay", read one of weekly advertisements.
He emphasized the importance of good eye sight to Review readers. "The average child loses two whole grades, in the course of eight years schooling, through not being able to see perfectly," read another ad. Never shy about publicity, Harte's picture often appeared with the advertisements.
In 1921, Harte was elected president of the Wisconsin Association of Optometrists and after serving one term was elected secretary and treasurer of the organization. He represented the Wisconsin organization at national conventions in San Francisco, Louisville, and Washington D. C.
When the Wisconsin Legislature was in session, Harte also acted as a lobbyist for the Optometrists. He also promoted programs for children that were from poor families who could not afford professional eye care. Free examinations and eye glasses were given to children of these families.
In 1927, Harte decided to leave the Grange Store and operate out of his own building at 9 West Main. Dake moved his barbershop across the street into the basement of the Central House Hotel and the remodeling began on Harte's building.
The store once again became a jewelry store, as it had been in the 1800s. A new front was put in the store with new plate glass windows in bronze fixtures. The front of the building was decorated with enameled bricks, adorning the building with what is today called the Art Deco style.
Harte designed the building so that the front portion of the building was used for the jewelry shop. Two new interior walls were installed creating two rooms in the back of the building. One was used for a waiting room and the second for the office where Harte served his optometry customers. Before the store opened, Archie Harte and his wife traveled to Chicago to visit the wholesale shops and purchase goods for his new store.
In 1937, Harte again had his building remodeled and redecorated. Dot's Gift Shop, operated by Dorothy Louise Jahn, the sixteen-year-old granddaughter of Harte, opened in May 1937.
Dorothy, or Dot, as she was known, had taken commercial courses at the Evansville High School and with her Grandfather's help had decided to go into business for herself. The Evansville Review called Dorothy, Evansville's "youngest merchant". She advertised clothing, costume jewelry, candy, nuts and other gift items. Dorothy married Jens Norum, Jr. and by 1940 had withdrawn from the gift shop.
Archie Harte's first wife, Lena died in 1939. An announcement was made in the February 15, 1940 Evansville Review that Dr. Archie E. Harte was to be honor for 20 years of service at the state meeting of the Wisconsin Association of Optometrists in May. The following week, he announced his retirement from the business and sold his optometrist business to Myron Haack.
Haack moved all of the equipment he had purchased from Harte to Joseph Straka's jewelry store at 16 East Main Street. The store at 9 West Main, while still owned by Harte, was about to close as Harte intended to move to the home he had purchased in Bradenton, Florida for a winter retreat. The Harte home at 251 West Liberty was also advertised for sale.
The retirement lasted just a few months, as Harte's health began to fail. Archie E. Harte died in late May 1940, at the age of 66, never fulfilling his dreams of a retirement in Florida. The building became the property of his widow, Archie Harte's second wife, Cora Harte.
In September 1944, Cora Harte sold the building at 9 West Main to Robert L. Collins, a local pharmacist. Collins purchased the store as a rental unit. Oscar Lehnherr operated the Railway Express business in the building until 1946.
The next renters were Eli and Mary Belle Habeger. The new occupants opened a children's clothing store, known as the Juvenile Shop. Eli Habeger was a master butter maker at the creamery in Brodhead, when the couple decided to open a business and work together.
Although they had no retail experience, the Habeger's learned the business quickly. To promote their business, the Habeger's held style shows. Local Little Theater volunteers helped with the productions. Mark Bruce worked on the sets for the style shows that often used nursery rhymes or children's fairy tales as themes.
The building was for sale by the estate of Robert L. Collin's widow, Constance Collins. The Collins' daughter, Roberta sold the shop to the Habeger's in 1954. Though the Habegers had been novices in the retail business, their success in the shop gave them courage to purchase the building and continue the business.
The interior was remodeled in the 1971 to allow the owners to rebuild the store front and change the rear door. The interior walls were paneled, covering the wainscoting and a natural brick wall.
The Juvenile Shop closed in the mid1980s and the building once again became an optometrist's shop. Dr. Gene Prudhon, who operated an office in Brodhead, opened an Evansville branch at 9 West Main.
The February 25, 1986 issue of the Evansville Review Business Scene carried the announcement of the opening. "Prudhon has given this old building new life in downtown Evansville."
Prudhon was an Evansville High School graduate and had received a degree from the Illinois College of Optometry. He had served on the staff of the College as a clinical instructor. He had opened his first practice in Brodhead.
The building was remodeled once again in 1986 when Prudhon removed the paneling. The interior walls were recovered with wainscoting as they had been when Campbell owned the meat market in the early 1900s. The interior rooms were redesigned so that there was a reception area for Jane Pierce, Prudhon's optometric assistant. The exterior was decorated with new awnings over the large display window and front entrance.
Prudhon's purchase of the building from the Habegers was completed in July 1990. He sold the shop a few years later to Lori and Randy Leader. For the past few years, the building has been the site of Lori's Family Hair Care.