As I Remember Edgerton
By C. M. Callender
From The Edgerton Earth
this, as in previous articles, I shall deal with happenings and conditions before and soon after the turn of the century in
shall first consider the method of merchandising. There were no supermarkets or self-serve stores. In the grocery stores most
merchandise was on the shelf. Sugar was under the counter on a tip out platform. Crackers were in bulk only and were usually
stored in a glass case at the end of the counter.
farmers brought their eggs and home churned butter into town and exchanged them for groceries. Sometimes they would owe money
and sometimes the merchant had to pay the extra to them. There were a lot of good butter makers and a lot of poor ones. The
good butter was kept separate and used for the retail trade. The poor was dumped into a barrel and sold along, with the eggs
to produce man once each week. Sometimes it became very smelly or rancid. However you would not dare tell any woman she was
not a good butter maker. Some of the better butter makers would receive a cent or two more per pound. Arbuckle and Lion Brand
coffees were tops.
had no exclusive clothing or dry goods store during this period. There were three general stores and all carried groceries
and bought eggs and butter. As I can remember there were two hardware stores. Previous to the turn of the century there were
thirteen saloons at one time, five doctors took care of the sick, one bank, three barber shops, two shoe cobblers, two pool-halls,
a lawyer’s office, two livery barns where you could rent a horse and buggy to take your girl friend a ride.
that time there were two blacksmith shops, a wagon making shop and a 'cooper's shop where barrels were made.
grocery and barber shop was located just south of the railroad on the corner. One blacksmith shop was across the street east
of the Catholic Church and one where the Fisher Implement store now holds forth. There was also a woolen mill where farmers
brought the wool and had it woven into blankets and batts. This mill was located on south main street at the corner that leads
to the cemetery.
to the big fire, the buildings were of wood construction, excepting the three-story building where the state bank now stands.
The fire took all the business section from where Days Furniture now is to the Edgerton Hardware, excepting the three story
brick building on the bank corner. The fire happened in 1893. Most store buildings were heated with wood stoves and there
were very few furnaces previous to 1900.
grocery store where most of the loafing was done had a large pot-bellied stove and a square frame around it on the floor which
was filled with saw-dust. Cuspidors (called spittoons) were set around but most of the tobacco spit missed these and the saw-dust
had to be renewed quite often. Also every morning the cuspidors had to be emptied and scrubbed. Around the stove sat the men
who spinning their yarns and exploits of former days. Many of these yarns remain with the writer who was a clerk in one of
the grocery stores in his younger days. (Who began work at the age of 15).
to give you some idea of some of the hardships encountered in the way or transportation. There were no paved streets. In the
spring or the year when rains came and the ground thawed the mud would sometimes reach to hubs of buggies and wagons. The
winter sleds were used when snow permitted. A favorite winter sport was hopping bob-sleds for the boys. Some farmers would
slow their horses to a walk, then when the sled was filled on each side he would whip-up his horses so one was afraid to Jump
off. He would sometimes take you out in the country a mile or two and you were compelled to talk back.
streets were dusty in the summer time and the dust was kept down with a sprinkler wagon. The wagon was secured from a large
elevated tank which was pumped from the river. This method is used at race tracks as you no doubt have noticed. This service
was provided by the property owners and business people. However not all streets had this service.
were no paved streets, no electricity available, no water system, no sewer. The house used oil lamps. On each street comer
of the town there were lamp posts about 8 ft. high, with an oil lamp inside a glass enclosure. Every evening the lamplighter
with a horse and small wagon would light these. In the morning he would gather up the lamps refill oil and clean the shades
(as the oil caused them to soot up) for the next day. This method did not provide much light in the middle of the block, but
you could tell where the next comer was. The sidewalks were made of wood and a loose board caused many a fall.
town hall was extensively used for shows, commencement exercises, debates held often, band room where practice was held once
or twice a week by the city band. Boxing was very popular and the council permitted the use of this room for this purpose.
Road shows would make a stand of a week or so and were usually well attended. The auditorium of the hall was heated by 2 wood
and coal stoves. When seats were reserved for events no one wanted a seat near these stoves and no one desired one at the
far end of the room. Those who sat near the stove nearly roasted and the ones in the corners shivered.
will be all for this time and in future articles more will be written about the town as I remember.