By Joe Bachman
W. Grand Ave. and 3rd Ave. South has always been brimming with life — even 109 years ago.
The Mead-Witter Block looked a lot different in 1908. Now headed by the Trading Post, these set of businesses stood tall until they were replaced by the current block in the mid-1920’s. In the far distance the old Grand Ave. bridge can be seen. On the left side, after the noticeable J.J. Jeffery building, a restaurant stands where you can eat a hearty dinner for only a quarter — how times have changed. Close by is I.H. King barber shop, located at 348 Grand Ave, signified with a barber pole.
If you look down a few stores you’ll see the locally famous Johnson & Hill Co. establishment. On the right side of W. Grand Ave., real estate dealer and abstracter C.E. Boles’ office is seen next to E.J. Clark’s dentist office at 345 Grand Ave.
Closest to 3rd Ave. South was Sam Church drug store. Mark Whitrock, who started as an apprentice at Johnson & Hill would eventually graduate Lincoln High School, and move on to study pharmaceuticals at Marquette University, where he graduated in 1913. He would one day take the reigns as manager of Sam Church drug store.
W. Grand has maintained its’ unique charm through the architecture of the buildings, to the array of businesses that take up the block. Be it antiques, home-brewed coffee, books, spirits, or Chinese food — this piece of Wisconsin Rapids history continues to shine.