River Street Antique Company is housed in two historic buildings. The River Street district was a booming place in the 1890s because the train depot, which welcomed all visitors to the community, was a mere block away, as well as the T.B. Scott Lumber Mill which was in the near vicinity.
The carriage house was built about 1895. It was partly disassembled and moved to its present location in July tf 1995. Its story was featured in OLD HOUSE JOURNAL in April, 1997. Many fine antiques are on display in this building.
The main part of our shop is housed in a brick building built by a William Buss in 1895 - 1896. It originally was built as a saloon and remained that until about 1900. The Buss family lived in the apartment on the second floor. Mr. Buss’ wife, unhappy with the rowdy lumbermen crowd that frequented the saloon, insisted on changing the business into a grocery. The 1905 city directory refers to the business as “GROCERIES, PROVISIONS, AND FUEL.” The 1922 city directory listed the “Grand Union Tea Company” at the 1500 River Street address and eventually this business closed during The Great Depression. The building sat empty and neglected for most of the next 60 years.
The building was purchased by Richard and Sharon Schmidt in 1993. Because of a leaky roof it had almost reached the point where it was beyond saving. Structural damage along the northeast wall had to be corrected, as well as putting on a new roof (12 layers had to be removed!) before any interior restoring could occur. The east wall of the building had never been bricked. An old brick house that was being torn down provided the bricks to finish off the exterior and blend well with the original brick facade. The original oak ceiling, the original oak wainscoting and the original floor were all saved. The inside of the building was stripped to the studs and new insulation, new plumbing. electrical and heating were installed. Many layers of paint were sanded off of the maple floor and the original wairiscoting was put back on. As much as possible, the original look of the old store was maintained and provides an interesting backdrop for the antique business. Except for the state-required plumber, all of the work was done by the Schmidts.
The upstairs living quarters has been restored to the time period in which the original owners occupied the residence, including a period kitchen and bath. Antiques are on display in each room and are offered for sale.
River Street Antique Company opened its doors in the newly restored building on April 18th, 1998.
|River Street Antique Company, L.L.C.
Richard and Sharon Schmidt, Proprietors
1500 River Street
Merrill, WI 54452
|Copyright © 2003 River Street Antique Company, L.L.C.
All rights reserved.
Web Design by Jackie Loos