grauvogl home + tavern during prohibition

I talk a lot about my Scandinavian roots.  Today, I’m sharing a few photos from the Irish-German side of my family.

My maternal great-grandmother and great-grandfather owned a bar in Plain, Wisconsin from about 1900 until 1940.  I am very fortunate to have some photos of their business and residence during this time.  Despite prohibition and the subsequent depression, you can see that they lived very well.  (For instance, they always had hired help and they had the first indoor plumbing in Plain.)  My great aunt and uncle, Herb and Stella, ran liquor during prohibition and there is still a house in Plain with a steel cellar door to protect the alcohol that they bootlegged.

The photos below are from 1920 to 1932.  At some point, there was a fire and so, if you look closely, you’ll notice that some of the decor, such as stenciling, is different from one photo to the next.  On the sofa (1932), George Grauvogl; Margaret Conley Grauvogl; Mary Margaret Elizabeth Conley Grauvogl; Estella Conley Grauvogl Kraemer (after whom X is named); and Elnora Conley Grauvogl.  (Side note: Aunt Stella was voted the most beautiful woman in Plain circa 1925; She raised my mom and was like a grandma to me.  I’ve only really gotten to know my grandma as an adult.)

I own several of the items in the photos, including my grandmother’s sitting chair (as seen in the second photo) and a few dining chairs, as well as the family photo with bubble glass that is hanging next to the davenport.  I also have her cast iron cooking pan, which is at least 120 years old and still works like a charm.

I once inquired about all of the fancy pillows throughout the house.  My grandma told me that they were made by the maids, who loved my very kind great-grandparents.


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