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Fred H. Keller | Retrospect


Sussex Main Street with a street car?

This post card shows Main Street in Sussex looking to the East from just West of Maple Avenue in approximately 1910-11 and was created by H. Montgomery Studios.

This post card shows Main Street in Sussex looking to the East from just West of Maple Avenue in approximately 1910-11 and was created by H. Montgomery Studios.

Jan. 21, 2014

This is 1911 street scene was taken by a Hartford photographer, H. Montgomery. Apparently he returned to his studio and made two different post cards of the photo.

There is a good chance that this set of post cards were sold at the General Store which is the building on the immediate right side of the photo. In one post card, the shot of Sussex Main Street is taken from about 400 feet west of Maple Avenue looking to the east.

The second shot shows the same area but a trick has occurred — a street car was superimposed with its track going down Sussex Main Street.

The Sussex Lisbon Area Historical Society has over the years collected local post cards. The most valued are those from the period of 1905-15.

The SLAHS museum has two copies of sent street car post cards with one cent stamps and a message.

There is one postmarked Templeton PO Aug. 16, 1911 by "Otto." He informs Alfred Wileden, who lives on Good Hope Roadthat Otto took a job at the John R. Small Sussex Mills (Sussex Elevator) which is today the site of Sussex Mills Apartments.

Today, the store on the right of the postcard is the Jon DeBelak Plumbing and heating business at N63 W24043 Main St.

The second street car post card in the possession of the museum was sent June 21, 1912 from "HOC," possibly Hugh Campbell to his sister Mildred Campbell in Antigo. The text of the card reads, "How is it going for you? I got a letter yesterday from Westley and he wanted to know if I could keep you busy. What do you know about it. I am going to Lakeside next week (Pewaukee) and pick strawberries and go swimming. Father Benson is coming out Sunday ... don't you wish you were there? Tell Lioneal not to work the Katznejammers to hard. HOC"

The Katzenjammers were coming page characters of that era who were always getting into jams.

The store was built around 1870, as millionaire Richard Weaver, had one surviving daughter, Serena (1850-1921) who married at age 18 to the then 26-year-old David Topping from Wisconsin Dells. His father-in-law built the huge house on the southwest corner of Maple and Main Street for his new son-in-law, and followed that up with building a business for him next door. Topping operated it from 1870 to 1900 when he sold it to "Doc" Sam H. Worthington. The next owner-operator for a short time was the Lees family, George and Clance.

The next owner was Fred Boots, and his daughters, Pearl and Claibell, who had the store in the Boots name until about the coming of the 1940s, with the last store proprietor being Tony Meyers, who had it in the early '50s, when it finally went out of business, and downtown Sussex, across from the Main Street School, became the total business center.

The street cars never happened. It was just a trick of photography that tickled the fancy of Sussex residents that they were progressing. Pictures can lie.

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Joe Hite: 7 p.m. May 27, Okauchee Lake Yacht Club, W340 N6338 Breezy Point Road, Oconomowoc. 7 to 11 p.m. Joe Hite will perform, and all proceeds will benefit the Okauchee Fireworks Fund. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Minimum $10 per person.

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