Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...


Everything but tech support.

0824, 26 Dec 15

Around the Bend by Judy Steffes

Remember Jimmy Gish

Jimmy Gish has died. Gish owned and operated Bradley Auto Salvage in West Bend.  He later built, owned and operated Soft Touch Car Wash in West Bend which is now Scrub A Dub. Later he purchased Beaver Dam Raceway and renovated it into the current facility that operates today. More details on funeral services for Gish will be posted shortly at

Temporary problems at Perkins

A tough morning for the Sunday after-church breakfast crowd as Perkins Family Restaurant, 2400 W. Washington St., was closed. “Temporarily closed until Tuesday” according to a sign on the front door. The closure was due to a sewer backup discovered sometime Saturday evening.  The city was called as was AAR Plumbing.  There’s a visible ice patch on the east end of the parking lot. There was also a steady parade of cars through the lot as hungry neighbors got the news and were forced to sniff out other alternatives. Perkins reopened on Tuesday, Dec. 22.

Help available for winter heating bills

Help is available to families in Washington County that need assistance with winter heating bills. Kay Lucas is program support supervisor with Washington County Human Services Department which oversees the Energy Assistance Program.

“Even though we’ve had a rather warm winter so far, we still want people to apply,” Lucas said. “Income, home heating usage and family size will determine eligibility and the amount of benefit.”

Applicants for energy assistance need to meet with Lucas, if they’re receiving assistance for the first time. Mail-in applications require copies of a photo ID, social security cards for all household members and proof of income for the previous three months for all household members. Other information required involves a copy of a lease if renting and the current utility bill. For more information contact Lucas at 262-335-4677.

West Bend firefighters sworn in

A pair of new firefighters were sworn in by West Bend City Clerk Amy Reuteman this week.

Alexander Hakes took the oath to protect and serve. Hakes is a graduate of Menomonee Falls High School, a graduate of UW-Oshkosh, completed paramedic and firefighter certificates at Waukesha County Technical College and had worked part time at the Menomonee Falls Fire Department.

James Kammueller started with the West Bend Fire Department on Dec. 14. He grew up in Wisconsin Rapids, graduated Northland Lutheran High School in Mosinee, earned a fire degree from Fox Valley and completed paramedic training at North East college. He was with the Delavan Fire Department before coming to West Bend.

A couple promotions were also announced by Chief Gerald Kudek as firefighter Kyle Demler was promoted to Motor Pump Operator, firefighter Robert Schafer was promoted to Lieutenant and Motor Pump Operator Dan McCreary was promoted to Lieutenant.

Also recognized were Lt. Dan Bruesch who served over 33 years with the department, Lt. Jeff Peterman served over 29 years and Capt. Jon Coutts served over 29 years.  Bruesch, Peterman, and Coutts were all praised for their bravery, dedication and service to community.

Firefighters volunteer to move Albrecht Clinic

Members of West Bend Fire Department Local 2025 brought the muscle on Monday as the crew volunteered their time to work the business end of a hand truck and move the Albrecht Clinic across town to its new digs at 908 W. Washington Street. In a rather odd twist the West Bend Fire Department had to call the Fire Department because of an oil spill in the parking lot of the new Albrecht Clinic.  Crews were on scene about a half hour and were unable to determine where the oil came from. The best guess was possibly another truck that made a delivery.

The clinic will reopen Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016 at its new location. Hat tip to JL Business Interiors for providing the moving truck.

Husar’s Diamond Dash donates over $5,100 to Enchantment in the Park

The inaugural Husar’s Diamond Dash 5k run/walk at Regner Park raised over $5,100 for Enchantment in the Park. Santa kicked off the race at sunset Dec. 6 with 309 participants dashing through the holiday light display. Participants were asked to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Full Shelf Food Pantry, with many people bringing bags full of groceries.

Tim Zellmer, 23, from Elm Grove was the overall winner with a time of 15:37. The fastest female was Sue Miller from West Bend with a time of 19:23. Both winners took home a watch donated by Husar’s House of Fine Diamonds, valued at $500 each. Custom ornaments were given out to the top three runners in each age division.

“We’ve heard nothing but positive reviews,” race director Amanda DeRuyter said. “For a first-time event, everything went smoothly and Husar’s is excited to help our community again next year.”

Updates & tidbits

– It was like a class reunion combined with homecoming combined with Sunday Christmas Mass as retiring West Bend High School choir director Karen Wysocky led the largest alumni rendition of Hallelujah Chorus on stage at the Silver Lining Arts Center. After 30 years Wysocky is retiring at the end of the school year.

– The crew from Janke General Contractors removed the old Ziegler Bridge in downtown West Bend this week. It was a pretty stubborn bridge with lots of rebar. Apparently they built them pretty solid back in the 1970s.

– Deacon Bernard “Bernie” Joseph Wendt from St. Peter Parish in Slinger passed away on Monday, December 21, 2015. Wendt was 82.

-Forward Dental, 1006 S. Main St., has a new sign. The new clinic is set to open in the coming month. The property was formerly home to The Coachman House and later Club Ten 06.

-Couple of positions filled this week at the county level as Scott Schmidt was appointed the new Highway Commissioner. He had been serving as interim Highway Commissioner for approximately six months following the former Highway Commissioner’s resignation in June. Eric Diamond is the new Director of Human Services for Washington County. Diamond will begin the post effective January 1, 2016. Diamond has been serving as interim director since July and joined the County first as Behavioral Health Manager in April 2013.

-Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin St. Joseph’s Hospital welcomed Noelle Braun, from Casa Guadalupe, and Jeff Marble, past owner of Frabill, to its board of directors. Each will begin a three-year term in January 2016 and is eligible to be re-elected to two additional three-year terms.

 – Former West Bend High School band directors Brandon Yahn and Robert Dittmer, members of Quattro Horns (a French Horn quartet) will participate in a concert at the Old County Courthouse on Monday, Jan. 11, 2016 at 7 p.m. The concert, entitled Honor the Day, will represent Quattro Horn’s commitment to performing a wide range of styles, many not typical for the horn. The concert is free, open to the public and will be followed by a reception.

– Stopped at All in Books on Saturday to visit with Santa. He was busy taking Dominic’s order and then spent some time with a 1-year-old girl whose mother was book shopping. I waived and said, “Hi Santa.” He gave a head nod and said, “Hi Judy.” I was a little stunned. I leaned over and whispered in his ear, “That’s kind of creepy Santa.”

Remembering N. Main Street

The picture, courtesy Steve Kissinger, looks north on Main Street. City Bakery remained on the corner of Highway 33 and Main Street through the 1970s.

“Gonring’s Tavern was on the corner; I was in that building,” said 96-year-old William Kirchner of West Bend.  “The men’s entrance was on the corner and the women’s entrance was on the end of the building because women didn’t go to the bar years ago.”

Kirchner, who made 18-cents an hour when he started work in 1933 at West Bend Aluminum, remembered coming to town as a kid and parking his horse and wagon by a big horse barn on Seventh Avenue. “You could put your horses in that barn, leave your wagon on the street and then go shopping. You’d put whatever you bought in the wagon and go and get a drink if you like and then hitch your horses back up and go home,” he said.

The beer of choice at Gonring’s Tavern was “West Bend Lithia of course,” said Kirchner. “The kids had West Bend soda; either root beer, green river, cream soda or orange.”

Kirchner said the building next to Gonring’s was John Baren’s Hardware, next to that was a harness maker, and then Tessman’s shoe-repair shop and Schnepf tavern.

John Gonring of West Bend also recognized his grandfather Matt Gonring’s Tavern.

“Grandpa remodeled it in 1932, moving the barroom to the street level, added a ladies’ entrance to the north, and renovating the second and third floors to very nice living quarters. To the west up the hill was a horse barn. Previous property owner was M.B. Goeden who was Matt’s father-in-law.”

Jerry Mehring also chimed in. “The corner building was Gonring’s Tavern, then Five Old Guys and now the martini place, JP Foz’s, 302 N. Main St.”

“Highway 33 turned west there at the traffic light. A door or two north of the tavern was the Monaco Cafe,” said Mehring.

Janine Matenaer, 77, of West Bend grew up behind the Monaco Café. “That’s the fifth building from the left in the photo; my mom and dad, Walter and Ella Schnepf, ran that and we lived upstairs,” she said.

“I’d crawl up on the roof and I had a crush on this guy and he’d come walking down Wilson Avenue and I’d sit up there with my binoculars – oh, he was a lifeguard at the park and I’d spend all my summers out there.”

Matenaer recalled her grandfather Adolph G. Schnepf first had a harness and buggy business, Schnepf Bros., on that block. The Monaco, a restaurant and tavern, later opened in1940s – 1960s. “You went up a couple steps and it was the tavern and you walked straight in and it was the restaurant with an old-time counter and there was a back room and old wooden booths,” recalled Matenaer.

Recognizing the red brick building in the photo, Matenaer flashed back to Baren’s Hardware. “I remember going in there and it was run by Frank Wolf and every time I went in it would smell so hardwarey,” she laughed. Later Landvatter Inc. moved in and sold and fixed radios and black-and-white TVs.

“Next to that was an apartment building with two floors and then next to the third building in the photo was City Bakery and Arnold Kannenberg ran that,” said Matenaer.

The Monaco Café was later torn down when the fire department was built on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Highway 33. Records in the Research Center at the WCHS indicate the corner building in the photo is the Farmer’s Home and M. B. Goeden Saloon. Notice the stop-and-go light and the sign advertising Gonring’s Resort on Big Cedar Lake.

MEMORY LANE – In 1940, postcards were sent to neighbors around West Bend announcing, “On Wednesday, December 11, 1940, The Famous Lithia Xmas Brew will be ready for distribution. Best ever — try it — you will like it.”

Different labels were designed for the seasonal beer. One paper label featured a green wreath with holly berries and red bow. Inside the wreath was the familiar Lithia logo, underlined by the words “Christmas Beer” in thick German script. Other designs featured the words “Holiday Brew” above a profile of Santa, who was bordered by pine branches.

There was the red label special dark Christmas beer and the well known Xmas label with six bearded elves each working to stoke the fire under the vat of beer, or pour hops, stir the mix, tap a pint and test the product.

Lithia’s Christmas beer was available nearly all year long. You could only buy Christmas beer in bottles and you needed an opener to get the cap off. The beer didn’t come in cans and it wasn’t on tap.

Lithia’s Christmas beer was sold by the case at liquor stores and at taverns within the West Bend area. Berres Liquor Mart, Triangle Beverage Mart, The Oasis bar (by Gehl Company); Pat’s Tavern (owned by Pat Pault), Kuhn’s Liquor, Palashes Liquor and Janz Liquormart in Barton were just some of the local distributors.

West Bend 33 & Main2


0824, 26 December 2015


  1. Steve Austin

    Hmmm, what a surprise that the Ziegler bridge over the river was hard to demolish. /s

    That thing seemed to be built to carry an 18 wheeler over it if needed and looked in shape to still do so. I’m at a loss as to why the money was spent to tear it down. I get that the museum wanted a new bridge to the south but seems like you could have kept that existing bridge.

  2. T of B

    That bridge used to connect the Ziegler employee parking lots – one behind the building on the West side of the river, the other to the parking lot on the east side of the river – that lot was removed when Veteran’s Avenue was realigned. Pretty close to the Washington Street bridge, the Outlet Mall bridge was meant to be removed, the new bridge was meant to be a mid-block crossing.

  3. T of B

    And the Ziegler bridge had holes in the concrete deck due to freeze/thaw cycles – had temporary patches – would have needed a complete replacement of the concrete deck.

Pin It on Pinterest