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1221, 18 Jul 15

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Coachman House sold to be razed for dental clinic

The former Coachman House/ Club 1006 location, 1006 S. Main St., has been sold. Matt Mehring with Anderson Ashton- Design/Build in New Berlin is purchasing the property. Adam Williquette from Anderson Commercial Group oversaw the deal.

Mehring said he plans on razing the building and putting in a Forward Dental. The franchise dental office has 30 locations across the state including Menomonee Falls, Glendale, Appleton and Green Bay. Design plans for the new Forward Dental will go before the West Bend Plan Commission on August 11.

Neighbors in West Bend have noticed it’s an ever-changing landscape on S. Main Street in West Bend. First the Dairy Queen, 1200 S. Main Street, is leveled to make room for a Panda Express. The Clothes Clinic, 1221 S. Main St., will be razed to make way for an expanded BP gas station and now the Coachman House.

The Coachman House has been closed since September 2012.  The supper club has been a landmark in West Bend since 1973. But it had a long life before that on S. Main Street.  In 1948 the location on South Main was home to Ott and Anne’s Custard. Later a couple sisters bought it and changed the name to Prudy’s Restaurant.

“They were a family restaurant known for their rotisserie chicken on Sundays,” said former owner Glenn Peterson. The restaurant had a counter with about 10 or 12 stools and there were three or four tables with two chairs a piece.

West Bender Jerry Mehring said he and his brother would go to Prudy’s regularly in the early 1960s when they were done with work around 11 p.m. “The grill was right behind the counter so you could watch them fry your hamburger,” said Mehring.

“They did big business with the Gehl Company serving lunch for the second shift. They would have the bags on the counter with the person’s name on it and what they ordered.  I don’t remember who delivered them but one of the gals was married and her husband was always around he may have done the deliveries. He had a wooden leg,” recalled Mehring.

In 1969 Peterson bought the business. At the time, Peterson already had Glenn’s Grill and Restaurant on the north end of town; it was near the Clark service station, what is now West Bend’s Rotary Skate Park.

Peterson called the place on South Main Glenn’s Grill II; some in town referred to it as Glenn’s Other Place.  Peterson ran the two Grills in conjunction for five years and then in May 1973 he remodeled the south-side location and changed the name to The Coachman House Supper Club.

“I just kind of thought I wanted to get out of the hamburger business and get into the supper-club business with steaks and dinner and cocktails,” he said.

Although Peterson retired in 1997 and sold the business he said that location will always be known as The Coachman House. “It’s been that for almost 40 years,” he said. “We were really in prime time; we were running when the Outlet Mall came into business and there were no better-dining places in West Bend.”

“It was just a wonderful, wonderful time in business,” said Peterson. “I had excellent help for more than 30 years. I really miss it.”

In 1997 after Peterson retired he sold The Coachman House to Harry and Joanne Zimdars; in July 2011 Meredith Immekus took over.

Regal Ware Museum sold

The building that was once home to the Regal Ware Museum, 18 E. Washington St., has been sold. Patricia Lutz, executive director with the Washington County Historical Society, said it was sold to Iron Ridge Properties.

The closing took place just after 4 p.m. Tuesday. The building had been for sale since April 2014. It was initially priced at $630,000; the price was dropped to $499,999. The WCHS Board of Directors decided to sell the building as it became too challenging to operate two museums.

The WCHS has its primary museum in the former county courthouse on Fifth Avenue. Lutz deemed the sale “a business decision,” and mentioned changes in the industry with fewer grants, lower donations and a downturn in staff. The museum was also struggling with low attendance, growing maintenance, and a loss of revenue after Glacier Hills Credit Union moved out.

Bargainmart to open in West Bend

Bargainmart to open in West Bend: Bargainmart is preparing to open in the coming weeks at 325 Chestnut Street in West Bend. The location was formerly home to the Habitat Restore and prior to that it was a fire extinguisher company.

Josh Frigge of Kewaskum closed on the purchase of the property June 9. He bought it from Stevens Specialty Services for $95,000. Stevens Specialty Services made quite a profit as it bought the building from the bank in July 2014 for $25,000.

Bargainmart sells items acquired from a company that sells off inventory from major retailers at a fraction of the cost. If you drive past the building it just had a new walkway poured by the front door and there are boxes inside and shelving loaded with toiletries, detergents, and pet items. There’s already a Bargainmart in Jackson, W208 N16900 N. Center Street Door 2.


John McGivern show in West Bend

There was a celebrity sighing in West Bend this week as John McGivern’s show ‘Around the Corner’ was busy filming in West Bend. McGivern and his crew including producer Lois Maurer, a photographer and sound woman, visited a number of local businesses including Toucan’s Custard, Café Soeurette, Shalom Wildlife Sanctuary, Timmer’s Resort, Husar’s House of Fine Diamonds, Century Farmhouse Soaps, A Conversation Piece, Doc Gonring Athletic Complex, M&M Custom Trombone, Delta Defense, Meadowbrook Orchard, and the home of local reporter Judy Steffes.

The show staff also lunched at West Bend Tap & Tavern. “We saw the poster for Washington County Insider in the window and knew this had to be a good place,” Maurer said.

Behind the scenes, McGivern was filming the show intro next to the Eisenbahn Trail on Veterans Avenue on Tuesday. “John Gurda told me to meet him on the Eisenbahn but Green Bay has such a nice downtown Main Street,” said McGivern.  Take two…. It’s West Bend.

The West Bend edition of ‘Around the Corner’ will air in early February 2016.

Raymond Lefty McWilliams  

Neighbors in West Bend added Raymond McWilliams to their prayer chain this week. The man, better known as Lefty, entered the Kathy Hospice last weekend. He has been diagnosed with cancer.

Stopping in to visit Lefty was sitting at a desk in his room putting together a 500-piece puzzle. “I’m OK, I just need a place to stay where I can breathe a bit easier,” he said. Lefty has been part of the fabric of West Bend for the past 40 years. Neighbors recognize him as the one-armed man who delivers newspapers.

Lefty said he was “doing better” at the Kathy Hospice. He said he welcomes visitors but…., “Don’t bring me flowers, I ain’t dead yet.”

New group forms in West Bend to help keep community safe

Former Dist. 4 alderman Randy Koehler is stepping up to make a difference in West Bend as he has started a group, Concerned Citizens of West Bend, to take a proactive approach to improving safety and security in the community.

The first official meeting was Thursday evening in Koehler’s garage. Three people showed up including Jacqui Gumtow and Jody Aderman. The brainstorming session included thoughts on improving community awareness and action, obtaining crime statistics from police and questions about how to reach everyone, of all socioeconomic levels, in the community.

Within 16 hours of the informal meeting Koehler said he had a Facebook page underway and 60 people eager to join. “Dist. 6 alderman and former police officer Steve Hoogester called to say he wants to be involved and I got a call from Eric Loebel with Delta Defense who wanted to give a talk on situational awareness,” Koehler said.

Discussions are underway to determine if neighbors can work with police as Crime Prevention Officers and if Neighborhood Watch programs can be revived. Police all across communities in Washington County have been reporting an uptick in vandalism and vehicle break ins. Koehler said, rather than complain about it he thought he’d do something about it.  More details on the organization can be found on the Facebook page Concerned Citizens of West Bend.

Prepping for Germanfest

This year will be the last dance for Germanfest, Aug. 28 – 30, in downtown West Bend. Suzanne Tennies was busy distributing Germanfest pamphlets during German Night at Regner Park this week. Music on Friday will feature the Cedar Singers, Jerry Schneider, Goodtime Dutchman and the Polka Family Band. At 8 p.m. rock band The Boogie Men will take the main stage.

Saturday kicks off with Carol and the Keynotes at 8 a.m. followed by Julie Lee & Her White Rose Band, the Bockfest Boys, Polka Family Band and at 8 p.m. it’s country music’s Crossfire.

Sunday the River City Blaskapelle begin at 11 a.m. followed by Pommersche Tanzdeel Freistadt, Hauser’s Hotshots and at 5 p.m. there will be recognition of volunteers.

On a side note: The Goodtime Dutchmen played at German Night this week. Herb Tennies said that band was one of the first to play at Germanfest 30 years ago. “They were a local band and when Germanfest first started they were kids in high school,” he said. “I had to write a note to their teacher so they could get out of school and come play. Now they’ve grown up to be a big famous band.”

Updates & tidbits

Long lines Tuesday at Cousins Subs on Paradise Drive in West Bend as franchise owner Keith Novotny held a fundraiser for the Dove sisters in Jackson. The twins are both fighting leukemia. “We did $4,100 in sales and we had $642 in the donation buckets including a $100 bill. I’m going to match that so my check will be $1,284!  Thanks to ALL involved in making this even such a success.” Signed Keith Novotny  Franchise Owner

-James Knepler is going to be appointed Monday to the West Bend Library Board. Knepler is the Controller for Office Copying Equipment Ltd. He is a certified first responder, part of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washington County and is with the local Volunteer Center.

-Craig Anderson and his son Jeff have qualified for the Wisconsin State Amateur golf tournament to be held at Erin Hills, July 20 -23. The pair are members at Hon-E-Kor in Kewaskum. Craig Anderson was the former boys gold coach at West Bend West High School.

-Over the Moon opening August 1 in Barton: Debbie Slais is moving her women’s boutique Over The Moon, 139 S. Sixth Ave., to 1720 Barton Ave. Slais is busy remodeling the store space with her husband Jeff. The new store will be open just in time for Barton Day, August 8.

– A new record attendance last Saturday at Regner Park Beach, thanks in part to the Dirty Ninja Mud Run. Carolyn Hein with the Park & Rec Department said the previous record attendance of 1,411 was July 4, 2012. On Saturday, July 11 there was attendance of 1,180 “but when you factor in all the free Ninja’s who got a free wristband the attendance was a record breaker,” Hein said. Over 1,300 kids signed up for the Dirty Ninja Mud Run.

– The water tower on Summit Drive in West Bend is showing off its new coat of paint. The project began several weeks ago. The tower is located just to the north of the old St. Joseph’s Hospital, the current Spaulding Clinical. It’s just to the west of McLane School. The tower is a powder blue on top and a rich dark blue on the base.

History photo – remember the Washington County Fair

Today’s 1925 photo, courtesy the Washington County Historical Society, features the Washington County Fair which gets underway July 21.

Here’s a Fair Flashback: Remember in 2004 when country music legend Loretta Lynn sang at the Washington County Fair and the next week a haggard Lynn was on the cover of the tabloids and the headline read that the county fair put her at death’s door? “I don’t recall that particular headline, however, I do know that she performed a few songs and most of the concert was completed by her daughters as she was sick,” said the Fair Park’s Sandy Lang. Loretta Lynn was born in Butcher Hollow, Ky., in 1934, Loretta Lynn is now 81 years old.

Washington County Fair 1925 in WB


1221, 18 July 2015


  1. Steve Austin

    Owen, always glad you post these and glad Judy writes them. Very comprehensive.

    Sad to drive past the razed Dairy Queen the other day. As the Kinks said “part of my childhood died. Just died”

    Ah well, things march on.

  2. Owen

    Thanks, Steve. I’m not sure why the Daily News stopped running them, but I sure do appreciate the chance to run them here! It’s usually my favorite read of the week in the paper.

  3. Kevin Scheunemann


    Judy was about the only thing I found regularly interesting in West Bend News.

  4. Kevin Scheunemann

    …Owen’s column excepted of course…which I usually read here vs. thw WB News.

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