From Millinery Shop to Irish Pub: Building History of 811 Jay Street, Manitowoc

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The two story commercial building located at 811 Jay Street, Manitowoc, can be traced back to the early 1880s as the millinery shop of Mrs. Christine Drost, which operated from 1882 to 1894.

The Drost Family was very prominent and well known in the community. Before the millinery shop, it is likely that the family used the space for their box manufacturing business. The obituary for Max Drost, son of Christine, states: “At the Jay Street residence, Alfred Drost, a brother of the deceased conceived the idea of manufacturing boxes. Without machinery he began whittling out boxes with a paste pot as his only other tool, started in a small way. He was soon joined by his father, Henry, and brother, Max. A short time later the firm became known as H. Drost & Sons and moved to a frame factory building on South Ninth Street where machinery was added and the business expanded. In 1904, the company incorporated as the H. Drost Box Manufacturing Company.”

In 1894, the site became Scholten Bros, operated by Henry Scholten. In 1898, Henry’s three sons, Henry, William, and John, joined the business. William was married to Margaret Kellner, daughter of Michael Kellner Sr., of whom the village of Kellnersville was named after.

The Manitowoc City Directory lists the building as unoccupied in 1916. The next listing for operation at 911 Jay Street is the Haupt Bros. Bowling Alley in 1920. The bowling alley was operated by Ray and Elmer Haupt for 23 years. Ray Haupt continued to operate the site until 1942 as National Bowling Alley and Billiard Hall. Ray was also a member of the American Legion Drews Bleser Post No. 88, which would later occupy the site. In August 1942, the building became the Shipbuilders and Boilermakers Service Club.

Webby’s Tavern operated at the site in 1947. In April 1949, the building became the American Legion Club and Tavern. The Manitowoc Herald Times on April 28, 1947, page 4, wrote: “Legion Club Rooms Are Formally Opened”.

“Formal opening of the new club rooms and tavern of the Drews-Bleser post of the American Legion on Jay Street, took place Saturday afternoon and evening. The program was preceded by a parade on Eighth and Washington streets led by the American Legion band, and with the 40-8 engine taking part.”

“Adolph Stangel presided as master of ceremonies at the hall following the parade. Short talks were given by mayor Herbert Schipper, Commander John Allen of the Drews-Blesser post, John Osleczanek, commander of the Oas post, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Frank Tomchek.”

In 1955, the American Legion moved to the upstairs of the building and B.F. Goodrich Tire operated on the first floor. The first floor of the site was vacant from 1970 to 1978. It was at this time that the American Legion Drews-Bleser Post 88 would operate the full building until 2016. Moore’s Irish Pub opened to the public in October, 2017.