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VIDEO | Ghost sign discovered during demolition of Fleet Farm

August 28, 2020 – West Bend, WI – As the final chapter of the old Fleet Farm, 1637 W. Washington Street, in West Bend comes to a close there was a brief glimpse of history caught as the demolition neared its final stage.

The northeast corner of the building is the oldest part of Fleet Farm. Barely visible on the dirty white brick is an arrow symbol pointing to the left with the words entrance. That same sign can be seen in the submitted photo below. The blocked windows can also be seen in the video on the back side of the building.

Fleet Farm
Note the entrance arrow and windows in photo can be seen in video

 

According to Terry Becker with You Know You Are from West Bend….

“the northeast portion of the old Fleet & Farm building dates back to March 1, 1949, the date the old “West Bend Pilot” newspaper was sold to brother investors Alan and Robert Pick along with their nephew Andrew J. Pick Jr.

The new endeavor, “The Pilot Press Inc.”, combined newspaper publishing and commercial printing all under one new roof built on W. Cherry (now Washington) Street during their first year at the helm. Tragedy also struck that first year when the young, vibrant Andrew Pick Jr. age 35 died of a cerebral hemorrhage on January 20, 1950 just three days after becoming father to his new baby daughter.

The grueling newspaper portion of the business merged with the West Bend News in 1954. The commercial printing portion of the business continued on until 1959 when it was sold to Alfred Ramsthal’s Serigraph Sales. Equipment and files were moved to Serigraph’s new plant on Indiana Avenue, thus ending the final chapter of the “Pilot.”

The vacant building would soon become home to West Bend’s “Fleet & Farm.”

Fleet Farm

A couple recollections from the old, old store.

Andrea Peterson Riding into town with Dad, stopping a Tri Par for gas and candy cigarettes then on to Fleet Farm and holding my breath in the stinky garden/lawn chemical aisles. Backing your cart all the way down an aisle or going 3 aisles over so you can get your cart near the checkout. Decades later shopping there for my kid’s Christmas present when the seasonal toy shop opened.

 

Matt Smith Small squared off room was the ammo room. I helped expand it in 2001 when we started to fill CO2 tanks and also did fishing line spooling. Also the NE corner rumor had it was a former machine shop. The original blue prints for the build when it turned to fleet farm were in a crawl space up in the SW corner of the store. Many memories in that building.

Fleet FarmFleet Farm

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