221 S. Main: Blacksmith Shop
The brick building on 221 South Main Street has been known as "Plumbing and Glass" since the 1970s. Before that, this building and an earlier one on this site have been host to a variety of Verona businesses, including at least three known blacksmith shops.
(Above image: Plumbing and Glass at 221 South Main Street, July 2020).
(Above image: The historical marker placed on this building on July 28, 2020)
Timeline of this site:
Please let us know if you spot errors or have additional information or photographs!
Pre-1922 building on this site:
An earlier building here housed the John Schwartz blacksmith shop. Blacksmith William Wild Sr. purchased the building in 1915, and raised it in 1922 to build the one that stands today. (Source: Behnke, 1972).
Current 1922 building:
Built and used by blacksmith William Wild Sr. in 1922.
The current building was once divided into two separate sections, later combined. The north portion (219 South Main) was smaller than the south (221 South Main, now the sole address), perhaps only a fourth of the building. The merging of the two parts may have happened during Palmer Peters ownership.
Early in the building's existence, Jim Brown's auto dealership was housed in the south portion of this building. An old photograph shows an auto entrance on the front of the building:
(Above image: The building today known as Plumbing and Glass, when it was both a blacksmith shop and auto dealership. Source: Verona Press, 1972)
George Batker's blacksmith shop was in the north portion of this building, possibly as early as the 1930s. George had all the typical tools of the trade. He made horseshoes and would actually shoe horses in front of the building. George left around 1946 and moved into the Quonset hut that still exists on North Franklin Street, the second lot north of East Verona Avenue. He was Verona's last blacksmith (confirmed by those we've interviewed who were in town and remember this time period well) and sold that location in 1967 to George Grinstad. Grinstad did machine repair and did not do typical blacksmith activities, he was more of a mechanic.
Before WWII, Ernie Feller operated a feed store in this building. Ernie was drafted into WWII, and during that time Palmer Peters started "Peters Feed and Seed" here. We are not sure the circumstances of that change; whether Palmer bought Ernie out or some other arrangement took place. After he returned from the war, Ernie opened up his feed store a few properties to the north, where "Blooms" is today in 2020. Ernie would later move his feed store to the former Niglis Implement building that used to stand where the veterans memorial fountain is today in 2020, between the railroad and Railroad Street.
At some point before 1967, a fellow named "Buzz" operated "Paint and Glass" out of this building.
Around 1967, Ron and Kathy Norder bought the business from "Buzz" and renamed it "Plumbing and Glass". The belonged to a group named "NFL" bought the building and George Batker's former house next door (217 South Main).
The current owners of Plumbing and Glass are Ken and Joyce Buczak. They bought in to the business around 1972, bought the building and former Batker house next door around 1977, and became sole owners of "Plumbing and Glass" in 1994. They are very proud of the role this building has played in Verona's history.
On July 28, 2020, the historical marker shown above was mounted on this building.