History Mystery: Kenosha teacher was among first to own Ford Mustang


Last week’s question: A Kenoshan woman living in Turkey was one of the very first people to own a Ford Mustang and drive it on Kenosha’s streets? Who is she?

Answer: Julie Harbert’s love affair with the Ford Mustang was probably genetic, considering that her father, Louis Harbert, was the owner of Harbert’s Auto Parts, which was at 2011 63rd St. in Kenosha.

The 1954 graduate of Kenosha High School was living in a penthouse apartment in Ismer, Turkey, working as a third-grade teacher when she heard about the hot new American car.

History Mystery: Clothing store became popular gathering spot


Last week’s question: What downtown men’s clothing store was founded by the Epstein brothers in 1904?

Answer: Adolph and Emanuel Epstein established Bell Clothing House in August 1904 in the location where they would remain for more than 70 years: at the southwest corner of Sixth Avenue and 56th Street in downtown Kenosha.

History Mystery: Short-lived company also made fire trucks in Kenosha


Last week’s question: Pirsch was a longtime Kenosha maker of fire apparatus, but two other Kenosha companies made the motorized truck chassis. One was Jeffery. What was the other Kenosha company?

Answer: The Winther Motor Truck Co., which made the chassis for three motorized fire apparatus in the Kenosha Fire Department.

Kenosha residents shopped at local Woolworth’s for nearly 80 years


Last week’s question: What was the last of the old five-and-dime stores to close in Kenosha?

Answer: F.W. Woolworth Co., located downtown on the southwest corner of Sixth Avenue and 57th Street. It closed on Sept. 25, 1992, after nearly 80 years in business.

The History Column: Lincoln Park once housed small zoo


Over the 33 years I’ve been writing local history columns, every once in a while a reader would ask me about the existence of a zoo in Kenosha.

We had one, but by all accounts, it wasn’t much of a menagerie. It was located in Lincoln Park, somewhere in the area of 22nd Avenue and 69th Street.

History Mystery: Little Theatre flourished in Kenosha in 1940s


Last week's question: What was the former name of 1967's Civic Theater of Kenosha amateur theater group?

Answer: The Kenosha Little Theatre Inc., which worked under the auspices of the Public Recreation Department of the school district. For many years it was one of the oldest amateur theater groups in Wisconsin.

Kenosha’s Orthopedic School educated children with special needs


Last week’s question: What school had cots in the hall for students to take a mandated rest period?

Answer: It was Kenosha’s Orthopedic School. Built in 1929, it was the first school in the state constructed for the education of students with special needs.

Fox River County Park once home to CCC camp


Last week’s question: Where was a camp of the Civilian Conservation Corps located in Kenosha County in the mid-1930s?

Answer: The camp was at Fox River County Park and was, according to Park Operations General Manager Jonathan Rudie’s speculation, the first such camp in Wisconsin.

Block brothers rebuilt store at same site after 1932 fire


Last week’s question: What downtown Kenosha department store was significantly damaged by fire on New Year’s Eve 1932?

Answer: It was the Block Bros. Department Store on the southeast corner of 58th Street and Sixth Avenue. Owned by brothers Sam and Leo Block, the store was housed in a two-story brick building that had been built near the end of the Civil War.

Kenosha Cardinals never rallied enough football fans


Last week’s question: What was the name of the local semi-pro football team that played pre-season games against the NFL’s Packers, Bears, Eagles, Giants and Rams?

Answer: That would be the Kenosha Cardinals.

Ice no stranger to Lake Michigan


Last week’s question: How many times has Lake Michigan frozen over so much that it stopped all navigation?

Answer: OK, it’s a bit of a trick question. You’d be hard pressed to find any kind of watercraft on Lake Michigan now. Even the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., which allow ships to pass down into Lake Michigan from Lake Superior, close from Jan. 15 to March 25.

Market Square was the place to buy and sell


Last week’s question: Where was the original Market Square located in Kenosha?

Answer: Market Square was on Market Street (56th Street) between Main (Sixth) and Chicago (Eighth) streets.

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