Downtown 1958

Downtown 1958

Monday, August 31, 2015

Major Bowes

Daily News-Times, January 31, 1936

I'll bet Menasha and the surrounding area was all agog by Major Bowes' Amateurs at the Brin Theater in 1936.  Comparing it to today, it was somewhat akin to the winners from "America's Got Talent" or "American Idol" appearing in your hometown.  Of course, back then, this was radio and except for, perhaps, a few photos in entertainment magazines or maybe a news reel, this was the only means to physically see the people one heard on that particular radio show.

His "Amateur Hour" had been a very popular radio program since its inception in 1934Even a later luminary like Frank Sinatra gained a level of early fame with his appearances with his vocal group, the Hoboken Four.  

I love how the local businesses tailored their sponsorship of this full page ad in conjunction with the Brin

Friday, August 28, 2015

John Roberts and His Resort

Pictured above is John Roberts in 1871, who at the time of this photo was proprietor of R.M. Scott's National Hotel in Menasha.  Later, he gained much notoriety and fortune as the owner and keeper of Robert's Resort in Neenah, built on the grounds of Governor Doty's former farm in 1877.  That business did very well in attracting customers, so well in fact that three guest cottages were built on the grounds in 1881. Mr. Roberts died in July of 1895 after a nasty fall.  

The Roberts Resort property was sold in 1905 to John Strange who remodeled the hotel as his home. He donated Doty Cabin to the city of Neenah in 1923 and had it moved to the park just west of his property.  The property remain with the Strange family until 1965 when it was sold, subdivided and the old resort was razed.

see also:
for more details on Roberts Resort

from Memories of Doty Island : a link between two cities (1999)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Gilbert Bond Bats 1.000

American Bar Association Journal, August 1967
This ad featuring the Baltimore Orioles is one of a series of ads in the 1960's that Gilbert used to feature major corporations and business entities touting their use of Gilbert Bond paper. Others in the series included Braniff Airlines and Green Giant vegetables.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Huge Boulder of Basalt Rock

Popular Mechanics, October 1909
From our oddities department- how the Nicolet Monument in Smith Park was included in a magazine story entitled American Freak Monuments, I'll never know.  It would take up too much space to show the whole story but a feature about monuments to dead pets, real estate agents, and blacksmiths among others, must have required a lot of filler in order to include our monument.  Really?  By the way, this is the first time I've seen the monument referenced as being made of "Winnebago Stone" or "Spirit Rock." 

You can read it and judge for yourself at:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Grand Reopening of Mihm's

April 21, 1961 N-M Northwestern
Originally located in the shadow of the Bank of Menasha, Mihm’s Charcoal Grill has been a mainstay downtown since 1958.  The above photo shows the original grill.  Now located right across the street, Mihm’s continues to satisfy Menasha’s discriminating palate for fried cheese curds and ground steak sandwiches.

Monday, August 24, 2015

All Points in the Fox River Valley

from 1882 Wisconsin State Gazeteer and Business Directory
The Green Bay and Western Railroad was formed in 1896 from the bankruptcy proceedings of the Green Bay, Winona & St Paul and the Kewaunee, Green Bay and Western.  In turn, the GB & W was absorbed into the Wisconsin Central in 1993.  This poster is a bit misleading; while the Green Bay, Winona & St. Paul didn't actually route itself through the Fox Cities, feeder lines like the C&NW helped connect Neenah-Menasha to Green Bay. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Valley Fair Leads the Way!

February 17, 1961 Appleton Post-Crescent

It's been a while since we've featured an ad or photo from Valley Fair.  Seems as good a time as any to close out the week with this gem from 1961.