Law Office

Built in the mid 1920s the Law Office at Pinecrest Historical Village was formerly Kohlbeck's Barbershop, 2015 Western Avenue, Manitowoc.

The building was moved to the Village in March of 1979 and was sponsored by the Manitowoc County Bar Association.

Even though they never practiced in the same firm, local attorneys Patrick A. Dewane, who headed the Law Office Project Committee for the County Bar Association, and John P. Nash were instrumental in the original transaction and were major donors to the project. Therefore the law office at the Village was named Nash & Dewane Law Office in their honor.

When settlers first came to Manitowoc County it was their hope to acquire land on which they could begin farming, build a home or start a business. Since the purchase of land required the drawing up of legal papers to transfer ownership, it was common that real estate transactions were handled by a lawyer. Lawyers also had a part in the legal aspects of marriage and the inheritance of property (probate law).

The first lawyer to settle in Manitowoc County was Jeremiah H.W. Colby, who arrived in 1846. He was a graduate of Dartmouth College and had the honor being the first postmaster of Manitowoc and the first county judge. Colby, along with James L. Kyle and E.H. Ellis, were the original members of the Manitowoc County Bar Association, founded in 1848. Colby died of tuberculosis May 10, 1853.

Prior to 1885 it was not required for a person to attend law school in order to be admitted to the Bar. In those early years, many lawyers received their training in the office of a practicing attorney, like an apprentice, and by reading law books at home. They were also required to pass a written and/or oral exam given by a practicing attorney and were then admitted to the Bar.

The actual Nash Law Office (now Nash, Spindler, Dean & Grimstad) was founded in 1881. It is now the oldest law firm in Manitowoc County and one of the oldest in Wisconsin. Since 1872 there have been no less than 10 lawyers in the Nash Family. The actual Dewane Law Office (Dewane, Dewane, Kummer & Lambert) is located in the old Odd Fellows Building in downtown Manitowoc with Patrick’s sons, John and Patrick, Jr., partners.

The roll top desk under the window was originally purchased by Manitowoc County Circuit Court Judge Michael Kirwan around 1906 and was used by the Circuit Court Judges until 1973 when retiring Circuit Court Judge F.H. Schlichting arranged for it to be donated for the Law Office project.