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Fond du Lac Buildings Recycled Through the Years

Posted on: Oct 29th, 2013

By Linus Doll, Fond du Lac Reporter Columnist

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when someone mentions “recycling?” Perhaps it is plastic milk containers or glass jars? Or maybe newspapers and magazines? There are a lot of items that we recycle today, but how many of us think of recycling buildings? Generally, when a building is constructed, it is done so with one purpose in mind.

Driving around the city recently, I couldn’t help but notice the many buildings that are now home to very different subjects than what they started out as.

I certainly can’t list all that I have researched but here are a few that should be of interest. I will start with some that have impacted my life from the time we moved to Fond du Lac to the time I retired. When we entered our first small home at 498 W. Scott St. in 1934, it was just that. Not today. Over the years, it became home to State Farm Insurance and now is used as some form of medical facility, for office space I guess.

When I graduated from Fondy High in 1943, my first employer was the Northern Casket Company on North Brooke Street. That building has been recycled from manufacturing caskets to a bingo hall from 1996 to 2011. At one time, Wells Manufacturing had assumed ownership until the Singleton family took over in 1996, and now it is known as Singleton Square.

My long time employer was the Fond du Lac Lumber Company and today the old office and main building are home to the Cornerstone Worship Center. What a change has been made from the noise of my millwork shop to the quiet of a church.

My own neighborhood has had plenty of recycling also. Who remembers the building across from Bizz Lemke’s tavern that was home to Archway Cookies, but today is home to Firl Industries and Fond du Lac Tent and Awning? Cross Mill Street from Lemke’s and you find Oreck Floor Care Center. As a child, I remember that building being an ice cream parlor and later Harold Nimmer had his woodworking shop in the front part. Go a little farther west on Scott Street and you find a small building that was an auto repair shop and now is home to Brad Tagliapietra’s American Family Insurance agency.

Head down to the corner of Johnson and Seymour and you find, since 1999, Wisconsin Auto and Title Loans. The building was once home to Diamond Drive Inn.

Even taverns get into the act. Fred Sampson’s place on West Division Street now is home, for eight years, to Mexicana Mini-Market. Augies Bar, across from the old Chapparel did a double recycle: From a tavern to the Moose Lodge back to another tavern. And don’t forget Eggers tavern, also on a corner of Johnson and Seymour. That went from a tavern to a parking lot for old farm tractors to a nice empty lot.

Now, KFIZ has been involved in some recycling also. At one time it occupied the building on the corner of West Scott and Doty streets that now is home, for approximately 18 years, to Mary Linsmeier Schools, for our little angels.

And let’s not forget our latest, very important, recycling project. Just recently completed, the Children’s Museum of Fond du Lac, that is part of the old Pick ‘N Save store on West Scott Street. That’s a happy recycling job in more ways than one.

Perhaps I should say that this building, where I sit and write this article, has been recycled more than once. First in 1950, it was constructed as a family shelter. It later became a sort of school to teach our children right from wrong and a place for them to grow to adulthood. After that happened, it then became a place for my wife’s and my retirement. After my wife left for heaven, I just recycled it once more to an “old folks” home. Just one occupant now, but a ton of very lovely memories.

I have to stop writing now because I have to take some items out to my recycling bucket.