Saloon (Fritzi-Carstens House)

The log structure representing the Village saloon was originally a home built by Edward Fritzi, a German immigrant, in 1886. Fritzi took logs from his farm land and hewed them with a broad axe and adze. The exterior of the building was sided with clapboard, while the inside walls were originally covered with lathe and plaster.

The home was purchased in 1875 by Fritzi’s neighbor, Christian Carstens. Christian lived in the home for nine years. The house was then owned by succeeding generations of Carstens, first John Sr., then John Jr. and finally Leonard. In 1904 the building became rental property until 1978 when it was donated by Leonard Carstens to the Manitowoc County Historical Scoiety.

During renovation, the original lathe and plaster ceiling on the first floor was replaced with rustic wood boards. Front and side porches were also added and the exterior of the log building was covered with vertical wooden boards. Much of the work was accomplished by CETA (Comprehensive Employment Training) workers under a federal government work program.

The typical Manitowoc County village in 1900 had at least three buildings: a general store, a cheese factory, and a saloon. Only men were allowed in the bar room of the saloon while proper etiquette of the period required women and children to stay in the side room. At times, couples would dance in the side room to the music of a player piano. A mug of beer in those days cost about 5 cents and was usually served warm since most saloons did not have any cooling system.  The bar in the saloon was previously located at Schaffer’s Tavern in Branch.