Remember When - Rose Buildings

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Remember When . . .

            The Rose buildings on the north side of Chestnut Street west of Milwaukee Avenue are shown in this circa 1908 photo published as a colored post card by John G. Rose, who owned the two buildings. The post card was found in a scrapbook kept by Mark Hannas, a lifetime Burlington resident. The scrapbook, along with other Hannas memorabilia, was donated to the Burlington Historical Society after his death in 1991.

            The rose-colored building with the “medallions” over the upper windows was built by Rose in 1895 to house his bakery and restaurant business. It remained as “Rose’s Bakery” for nearly 80 years as John’s son, William, and grandson, Alex, and their families continued the business until 1973. Occupants of the building after Rose’s Bakery closed have included the Realty Shoppe, Dr. Arnold Grossman’s optometry office, and Neighborhood Optometry LLC.

            The large yellow brick building to the right of the bakery was also built by Rose. It replaced two smaller store buildings which Rose had purchased in 1894 from the Wendelin Miller estate. Those buildings were moved off the property in 1906 to clear the site for the large Rose building. Rose leased the first floor of the new building to William Rosenberg for his dry goods and clothing store. An apartment and offices occupied the second floor.

            Rosenberg had started his business, which he then called “Boston Store,” in 1899 in the building on Pine Street where Beaches Tanning Salon is now located. Rosenberg moved in 1902 to the building on Chestnut Street that later housed the Garvey and Henney drug stores and is now occupied by Oldenburg Insurance. Rosenberg remained there until 1906 when he moved to the newly built Rose building.

            The Rosenberg store occupied the Rose building until 1915, when William moved his store to the Keuper building on Pine Street, which was most recently occupied by the Schuette-Daniels Furniture Store. The Rosenberg store remained at that location until 1939, when it went out of business and was replaced by a Montgomery Ward store.

After Rosenberg’s moved out of the Rose Building in 1915, John Rose leased part of the first floor to a tailor and opened a five and ten cents variety store in the remainder. After the tailor shop closed in 1916, Rose used the entire first floor for his variety store.

            In 1920 Rose sold the bakery business to his son, William, and turned to helping his daughter, Cecilia “Cele” Rose, in the variety store. In 1939 Cele bought the Rose building from her parents’ estate and joined Butler Brothers’ Ben Franklin chain of variety stores as a franchiser. At that time, she was the only woman among that chain’s 400 franchisers.

            Cele continued her variety store until 1943, when she leased the Rose building to the Kroger grocery store chain. The Kroger store remained in the Rose building until 1949, when it moved to a new store building next to the Plaza Theatre. Following a short-term occupancy of the Rose building by a women’s clothing shop, the Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. leased the building in 1952 and operated an A&P grocery store there until 1966. Since then, the building’s occupants have included a Western Auto store, a Goodwill budget store, the Bridal Suite shop and A Cut Above Hair Salon, Art Etc., El Chava Super Market, and the current Los Corrales Super Market.

            The shorter building partially shown to the left of the bakery building housed Frank Zwiebel’s Burlington Steam Laundry. Zwiebel had purchased the lot from John Rose in 1906 and put up the building for his laundry business. In 1931 Frank’s nephews, Raymond and Louis Zwiebel, bought the business from Frank. The Zwiebels closed the laundry in 1943 when, because of a wartime wage and price freeze, they could not obtain employees. The laundry was reopened by Robert Zwiebel early in 1945 under the name Snowhite Laundry.

Later in 1945, George Rider, who owned Academy Cleaners, bought the laundry building from Raymond and Louis Zwiebel, and Rider and Martin Schroeder, who formed a partnership, bought the laundry business and equipment from Robert Zwiebel. Renamed Sno-White Laundry, the business remained in the building until 1969. Subsequent occupants of the building have included Casuals Unlimited, Karow’s II Kitchen and Bath Shop, Country Home Center, Custom Floor & Wall Co., Edward D. Jones & Co., H & R Block, and the current Racine County Opportunity Center.


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Last modified: 10/13/2015