Nennig Dance Pavilion

Built in the 1890s, the dance hall is unique in its eight sided shape.  The building stood at the corner of Highway XX and West View Road in Cleveland before it was moved to its new site on 2003.

The Nennig Tavern and Dance Pavilion closed its doors in June, 1991 to make room for the improvements to the intersection of West View Road and XX. The property was recorded as being owned by Charles Franke in 1860.  In 1863 tax rolls show the land taxes were paid by Joseph Helferich, father of Marie who would grow up to marry Mr. Francis Nennig. 

Joseph Nennig was the owner and builder of the dance hall. Joe was born on April 5, 1869.  His father, Francis (commonly referred to as Frank) and his mother, Marie (known as Mary) had ten children. Joseph was the second oldest. 

According to court records Frank Nennig bought the property in 1869 from Joseph Helferich, the father of Marie (Mary) Helferich Nennig.

On November 24, 1894 Joe Nennig married Helen Bayer.  In the Manitowoc Pilot newspaper on December 6, 1894, the marriage is announced:

“Married—Saturday Nov. 24 at the home of the bride, Mr. Joe Nennig of our town and Miss Helen Bayer of Sheboygan.  Joe is a hearty good fellow and full deserves the companionship of the young lady whose heart he captured.  We therefore extend our sincerest congratulations to the young couple and hope that their bark may glide smoothly o’ver life’s mystic sea.”

When Joe and Helen married, he was working for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad Company.  The couple lived in Port Washington.

Joe and Helen had eleven children.  He served as the clerk for the town of Centervillefrom 1922 until his death in 1928. He also served as Justice of the Peace and in 1928 Joe was on the Board of Health. 

The year 1928 marked a trying year for the Nennig family.  In April of that year, the family lost their youngest daughter, age 10, from an illness.  On November 1 Joe was killed in front of his place of business. 

The following is taken from the Manitowoc Times, Friday, November 02, 1928, Page 1:

Joseph Nennig Dies Instantly When Hit by Car

An inquest into the death of Joseph Nennig, 62, Town of Centerville soft drink parlor proprietor, who was killed almost instantly when he was struck by an automobile driven by Donald Green, Chicago salesman, on Highway 141 at the junction of Highway 140 late Thursday afternoon, was called today for 3pm Saturday at the courthouse.

Green is voluntarily remaining in the city pending the result of the inquest. The coroner’s jury which will hear the testimony had not been completed this noon. Nennig was struck by the salesman’s car when he stepped around the front of a truck directly in the path of the approaching Chicago car.  The accident occurred in front of Nennig’s soft drink parlor and dance hall. Green had been in Manitowoc and was driving to Milwaukee via Sheboygan. The truck which Nennig and R. Stoltenburg occupied was parked on Highway 141, facing south, hence both cars were facing in the same direction. The accident occurred at about 4:05 pm.

Nennig got out of the truck on its right side, walked around the front end of the car and intended to cross the highway to his soft drink parlor. He walked directly into the path of Green’s car. Nennig was struck by the right front fender, hurled up against the wind- shield and was thrown to the ground. The windshield was shattered, hood and front fender on the right side of the Chicago car were damaged.

Green is said to have stated he was traveling approximately 30 to 35 miles an hour when the accident happened. He stopped his car immediately, rendered what assistance he could and voluntarily returned to Manitowoc to await the investigation.

Sheriff R.H. Beduhn and Dr. W.G. Kemper, county coroner, were summoned to the scene of the accident. They proceeded with the investigation. It appeared that Nennig was killed almost instantly. His skull was fractured and there were other injuries.

Nennig was clerk of the Town of Centerville, a position which he had held for the last eight or ten years. He had also served a number of terms as clerk of the school board of Centerville. The deceased was born in Centerville April 5, 1869. He was married to Helen Bayer November 25, 1894. Except for four years during which they resided at Port Washington, Mr. and Mrs. Nennig had resided at Centerville during their wedded life. Surviving are the widow, eight children, Miss Emma Nennig, Sheboygan; Mrs. Gerhardt Schieble, Sheboygan; Irvin Nennig, Sheboygan; Joseph, Jr., Millhome; William, Jerome, Helen and Theresa Nennig at home. He also leaves five brothers, George and Alfred Nennig of Sheboygan and Frank, Albert and Jerome Nennig of Cleveland and two sisters, Olive of Sheboygan and Marion of St. Paul, Minnesota. Funeral services will be held Monday morning at the residence and later at St. Wendel’s church. The Rev. Emil Schmidt will officiate and burial will take place in the adjoining cemetery.

An inquest was held and Mr. Green was not charged.

The tavern was transferred to Joe and Helen’s daughter, Theresa, upon Joe’s death.  The Nennig Tavern, later named Theresa’s Tavern, and accompanying Dance Pavilion closed in 1991 with planned road improvements for the intersection of the building’s location in Cleveland. The tavern was torn down to make room for a new wider highway.

Various newspaper articles ran the story of the Nennig Tavern and Armond Kueter, who was familiar with Theresa having grown up in northern Sheboygan County, and Bob Fay, the Executive Director of the Manitowoc County Historical Society, made contact with Theresa Nennig at her tavern in regards to the future plans for the dance hall. Ms. Nennig would not commit or permit the Historical Society to move the structure at the time.

In the 1990s, the Historical Society continued to search for a “Bandstand”, as was reported to the Long Range Planning Committee Meeting of June 20, 1993 and decided to begin looking at design, locations, and cost for such a structure at the Village.

Little progress was made on the project to construct a bandstand. 

In the fall of 2002, a realtor contacted the Manitowoc County Historical Society.  Peg Harder, long time Society volunteer and Board Member, asked if the Society would be interested in the Nennig Dance Pavilion. Theresa Nennig had passed away in August, 2002 and left the property to Leroy Ertel, who in turn desired to turn the property into a possible future subdivision.  With no need for the structure, it was donated to the Manitowoc County Historical Society.  The Nennig Dance Pavilion wason its way to Pinecrest Historical Village on October 7, 2003.

Don Janda, Board of Directors President, coordinated much of the restoration. About 1,900 man-hours of labor by Janda and four other volunteers went into the building, which was renovated from top to bottom. 

Once at Pinecrest Historical Village, the building received a new roof and a new foundation.  The exterior was painted its original green while the interior wood was repaired and restored to its natural finish. The hall’s stage was so badly deteriorated that it was rebuilt.

The eight-sided roof meets at a peak and its interior shows off an intricate work of exposed rafters and two-by-four framing.

The Dance Pavilion was officially opened with a public square dance on October 15, 2005.