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VIDEO | Remodeling update at Wallace Lake Supper Club

July 30, 2020 – Town of West Bend, WI – A unique opportunity this week as Kevin Zimmer provided a rooftop tour of Wallace Lake Supper Club. The former Walden – A Supper Club is undergoing a serious remodel / expansion.


The colorful facade was unveiled as contractors pulled back the exterior siding.

Wallace Lake Supper Club

 

Kevin and Amy Zimmer purchased the restaurant on Wallace Lake in February 2020. “We are committed to keeping the restaurant open while making improvements, yet preserving the Wisconsin supper-club feel,” said the Zimmers.

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During a review of every nook and cranny, Kevin Zimmer managed to find a hidden treasure above the ceiling on the second floor on the southwest side of the building.

“We’re really trying to identify how old the building is…. I thought it was the early 1930s…. but then you find things like this…,” said Kevin Zimmer.

Zimmer climbs a ladder and reaches back above the ceiling tiles and into the rafters and pulls out a pair of brown, pointy, well-worn shoes.

Sewn on the inside of the shoe is a label for Leonard, Shaw and Dean; a manufacturer of men’s footwear in Middleborough, Massachusetts. “This shoe style was made from 1885 – 1910,” said Zimmer. “The shoes were together with this bottle; a 12-ounce prescription bottle and I found it ironic they were placed between the joists.”

Leonard Shaw & Dean shoe

The firm, established in Middleborough in 1892 at the time consisted of partners Cornelius H. Leonard, Samuel Shaw and W. Henry Dean. Additions were made to the factory in the summer of 1905 when a three-story addition was constructed, as well as the summer of 1911 when local contractors Bryant & Harlow added an addition with a basement below. In 1920, the plant came close to being destroyed by fire, but the previous installation of a sprinkler system prevented that.

Leonard, Shaw & Dean was an important contributor to both the economic and social life of the town during the first decades of the 20th century. It organized baseball teams as well as a rifle team for its employees, and supported the local war effort during both the Spanish-American and First World Wars through bond-raising efforts and sending care packages to men in service.

Zimmer thought the building for the supper club dated to the 1930s, however the shoes were last produced in 1910. “The other thing that’s kind of interesting is the two different laces in the shoes,” he said. “One set is more traditional and the other seems to be a wire replacement.”

shoes at Wallace Lake Supper Club

Mike Paul, owner of Paul Auction Co., in Kewaskum has volumes of local history knowledge. When consulted on the find in the rafters at Wallace Lake Supper Club he said the whole scenario seemed a bit odd.

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“The odds that shoes made in Massachusetts would show up here from that time period when Wisconsin was almost awash in shoe factories was odd,” he said. “Why they’re in that attic is beyond me and the drug bottle from Louisiana is a head scratcher too.”

Questioned if the house along Wallace Lake was used as a boarding house, Paul said those type of residence would have been closer to the railroad. “If you look at developments along the lake at that time they were probably few and far between,” he said.

Back to the shoes, Paul classified them as “toe-pinchers for sure.”

“These were sensible shoes worn into the 1930s and 40s and not out of the ordinary,” he said. “As far as the different laces if you need a shoelace you improvise with what’s available. All shoes at that time were rebuildable, and rebuildable, and rebuildable; you could have them resoled a number of times, it wasn’t until the uppers gave out that they got moved along.”

medicine bottle found at Wallace Lake Supper Club

With regard to the medicine bottle, Paul said most were small at that time except for bottle of cod liver oil.

Wallace Lake Supper Club, bottle

The Zimmer’s have uncovered hidden treasures in the past. In September 2014 a 12-ounce Marie’s salad dressing bottle was found in the wall at the old Schwai’s in Cedar Creek; currently doing business as Bibingers.

time capsule Schwai's

The white lid was stamped in green writing; Marie’s Blue Cheese Dressing – 59 cents. Inside, six sheets of rolled up note paper dated April 24, 1972 and a message written in cursive by long-time store owner Lu Ann Schwai.
“It’s a lovely letter,” said Zimmer.

The note begins, “Hi! We are remodeling this place to make it larger for our tavern and bottle goods business. The store was no longer profitable so therefore we are using this space for bottle goods. The reason we are discontinuing the store is because the large chain stores are open on Sunday. We will keep on with our homemade sausage until the State Health Dept. would close us up.”

The note provides detail of the Schwai family business, “making baloney, summer sausage, ring blood, and head cheese.” Prices included, “pork sausage is $1.09 per pound, ham sandwiches are ¼ lb. and sell for 75 cents, 16 oz. tub of beer is 35 cents.”

There’s a paragraph on the history of the building and business which dates to 1941 when “Mr. and Mrs. Joe Schwai, Sr. bought the place …and sold it to…. Click HERE to read the rest of the story.

 

Zimmer said they will collect history stories and finds as they remodel the former Walden – A Supper Club and then they will rebury a time capsule in the walls for another generation to discover.

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