The History of 1223 Front Street
The Cremer Homes
by Michael L. Hansen
Cornelius Cremer born about 1785 in Germany was issued a land grant in 1859 for 80 acres in Pine Hollow which is 1 to miles east of 1223 Front Street in Cashton.
He had 10 children with his first wife Anna Catherine. One of the children was Mathias born in 1826. Mathias and Eva Kremer had 4 children, the youngest John, born November 12, 1859 was the original owner of 1223 Front Street. John also had a brother named Cornelius H. was born May 16, 1858.
Cornelius Cremer born about 1785, (the same as above) was remarried to Ursula on April 28, 1834 after the death on February 9, 1834 of his first wife. Together Cornelius and Ursula had 3 children. One of them, Heinrich Hubert Cremer was born July 25, 1837.
Heinrich and his wife Maria Catherina had 13 children, one of them being Cornelius Hubert born April 14, 1864. Cornelius became a doctor and practiced in Cashton during his entire career. Cornelius and his wife were the original owners of the home at 418 Broadway Street in Cashton.
The John Cremer home, a Queen Anne style frame house is almost identical to the one built for John's half-cousin, Dr. Cornelius H. Cremer and his wife Clara, at 418 Broadway Street. Racine architects Chandler & Parks designed the homes in 1902. A Sparta area builder, Lewis V. Huschka, for a cost of $4,000 each, began construction that spring. The two and a half story structures, 36 x 40 feet, also featured a three story tower with an octagonal roof topped by a pinnacle and cut-away bays. The original interiors featured oak woodwork, oak and maple floors, a "Turkish nook" and a winding stairway from the front hall to the upper floor. Initially there were nine rooms on the lower floor and six rooms on the second.
The John Cremer's moved into their new home in December of 1902. In 1918, the property was sold to the Sacred Heart Parish for $6,000, an amount considerably less than than the value of the property and Rev. William Jeuck took up residence in January of 1919.
In June 1923, the exterior of the rectory received a new paint job. The colors of chocolate and ivory along with the splendid trees and lawn and its profusion of flowers made the residence an attractive asset to the community. The three-car garage was built in 1966.
The Cremer families were very instrumental in the early settlement of Cashton, having served as businessmen, politicians, inventors, and members of many civic organizations.
The John Cremer's owned and operated Cremer's Department Store in Cashton from 1885 until 1915. From 1900 until 1915 they operated the store at the location of the current Badger Crossing Pub and Eatery. Chandler and Parks also designed the Cremer store, built in 1900. The building also featured a second-story Opera Hall. Unfortunately that building was completely destroyed by a fire on November 23, 1929.
John as a young man was a timber buyer, providing white oak ties for William H.H. Cash' s new railroad from Sparta to Viroqua. He also owned a saloon, a store in Rockton, and The Cashton Milling Co. In the early 1900's he encouraged his sons to become landowners. Several of them would later own several thousand acres in the Dakota's and Montana. John would also go on to purchase land in the Texas Panhandle. He believed that "Land was a measure of a man's worth." John and his wife Mary were both appointed as Postmasters for the Postal Service. John's father Matt served as the Postmaster in Pine Hollow where the family operated a saloon and boarding house.
Dr. C.H. Cremer, Physician and Surgeon, practiced medicine above the A.A. Dumez Drug Store. He was known as a "horse and buggy doctor" and made house calls. He was also the owner of the Cashton Telephone Company, which operated out of the same building. Today the Cashton Veterans of Foreign Wars own the building.
Thank you to Mike Hansen for his history expertise! Do you have a Cashton history question? Reach out to us! We would love to explore our village history with you in a future blog post.