16 Ojbects  — 4 C’s Divisions

Only one can be CHAMPION!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2022 Museum Madness Tournament.  We are proud to announce that with a resounding 74% of the final vote, the Jumes Restaurant Neon Sign has taken home the 2022 Crown!!


Neon Sign, Jumes Restaurant, 1955-2016 (#5378.1)

Through the generosity of Patrick Ortlieb of Ortlieb Commercial, the new owner of the building, and RLO Sign, the iconic Jumes Restaurant sign arrived at the Museum in June 2016. One of the largest single free standing objects in the collection, the neon sign hung outside Jumes Restaurant for generations. In June 1951, the city issued a permit to Coney Island Lunch Counter for a projecting sign. The sign was originally installed in the summer of 1951 as the restaurant prepared to open in their new location, just south of the original restaurant. The neon sign features prominently in August 1951 advertisements for the Grand Opening of the new location, though the top reads “Coney Island.” The advertisement also credits Norman Thiex, Inc. of Sheboygan for manufacturing the sign. 

Jumes Restaurant, as it came to be known by 1955, began with George Jumes purchase of Sheboygan’s Coney Island Lunch Counter in October 1929. Jumes, who originally emigrated with his parents in 1902 from Greece, had just returned to Sheboygan after spending a number of years in La Crosse. George operated Coney Island Lunch at the original location until moving just a little south near the corner of Eighth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. All the members of the family worked in the restaurant and eventually George’s son, Louis took over the restaurant. Although Jumes suffered a devastating fire in 1990, the restaurant was able to reopen after nearly a year rebuilding. Unfortunately, the return was short-lived, as the economic downturn following September 11, 2001 was more than the restaurant could survive.  The final Coney Dogs were served in 2003.

Divers Helmet, Conrad Bauer, 1930-1950 (# 5035.1)


In the early 1930s, Conrad Bauer paid fifteen cents for a Popular Mechanics magazine that contained plans to build a diving helmet. He and his brother, Harold, constructed two helmets from hot water tanks and lead salvaged from the scrapyard. Each helmet split seventy-five pounds of lead between the front and the back to help weigh the piece down. Most of the dives were done in shallow water, typically less than thirty-five feet, with air supplied via modified water hoses, an Electric Sprayit air compressor, and a used Briggs and Stratton engine. 

Bauer was inspired to start diving after experiencing a nearly intact shipwreck just off the Sheboygan jetties. The prevalence of wrecks in Lake Michigan, particularly from southern Kewaunee County thru mid Ozaukee County, led to the June 2021 creation of the Wisconsin Shipwreck Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Covering 962 square miles, the sanctuary has a known thirty-six wrecks and the potential for an additional sixty or more. The area corresponding to Sheboygan County has thirteen known wrecks, including five listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The area contains not only a diversity of vessels, including sailing, passenger, and freighter ships, but also several with intact cargo. Included within the borders of the County is the wreckage of the 1833 Gallinipper, the oldest known remains of a commercial vessel in Wisconsin waters. 

tsho khuam and kaus mom (vest and hat), Mayor Richard Schneider, 1987-1988 (#2004.0025.0001 & 2004.0025.0002)

This matching vest (tsho khuam) and hat (kaus mom) were gifted to Sheboygan Mayor Richard Schneider during the 1987 Hmong New Year Celebration by Xia Vue Yang, along with members of the Yang family.  Both pieces, made by Ying H. Yang, are made of a black material, decorated primarily by brightly colored and metallic floral patterned embroidery and stitching. The vest features 2 front pockets, while the hat has a small bright red tie that passes through a reproduction coin at the crown. The following year, Mayor Schneider wore the clothing to the 1988 Hmong New Year.

The vest and hat are typical of clothing that would be worn by Hmong men during the Hmong New Year Celebration, along with other special, celebratory occasions, such as weddings. The Hmong New Year traditionally occurred at the end of the harvest season in Laos. Since the early 1980s, Sheboygan’s Hmong New Year has typically occurred in November or December, organized by the Hmong Mutual Assistance Association and local Hmong clans. The festivities begin with family based celebrations before the larger gathering when the clans and the community come together to celebrate ancestors, culture and the coming year.

Blue pedal car designed to look like a Cadillac

Kidillac, Garton Toy Company, circa 1950 (#4726.21)

The 2021 Museum Madness Champion is back to defend its title! Perhaps Garton’s most famous and best loved pedal car, the Kidillac, was designed to be a miniature replica of the real thing. The company employed one of the designers of the original Cadillac in creating the “streamline, 1950 design, built low for ease of propulsion… made of one-piece steel, no seams or joints to come apart,” which could be customized to match the family car. Like their other pedal cars, the Kidillac featured the quality details that Garton was known for — numbered license plates, detailed instrument panels, rubber wheels and more. This particular Kidillac was one enjoyed by the Garton family for generations.

Established in 1879 as the Garton Company, the firm initially produced common utilitarian products, including cigar boxes and washboards. By the early 1900s, Garton had transitioned into wheeled riding toys, establishing an impressive network of distribution centers and showrooms across the country. Sales offices in New York, Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles, alongside a program of national catalog sales, supported the growing business as the company expanded into sleds, wagons, croquet sets, water skis, and toy cradles. The expanding market, coupled with Garton’s attention to changing styles and designs as the century progressed, made the company a leading producer of pedal toys for over 75 years.

Blue pedal car designed to look like a Cadillac

Soda Bottle, Hi Ho Bottling Company, 1945-1955 (#5201.1)

Hi Ho was one of a number of national and regional brand sodas bottled in Sheboygan County. Using a private label based on the first two letters of their last names, Donald Holzschuh and Joseph Hildebrand created Hi Ho to offer soda in a variety of flavors. Utilizing pyroglazing, a technique that applied a color label to glass, the pair created a joyful soda bottle that not only carried the liquid, but also provided visual advertising. Like many sodas of the day, all flavors came in the same style bottle and the bottle crown was used to differentiate the varieties.

Hi Ho Bottling Company of Plymouth was a late entry into the Sheboygan County soda water business.  Established in 1945 by Donald Holzschuh and Joseph Hildebrand, the pair used Holzschuh’s sugar ration from serving during World War II to start the business. In 1948, a case of their soda could be purchased for one dollar, plus the bottle deposit, compared to $1.25 for the equivalent of Coca-Cola. The company also sponsored a local bowling team, the Hi-Ho Sodas, for a number of years. In 1949, Hildebrand left the partnership and by 1955, Holzschuh sold the business.

Parade Flag, Sheboygan Youth Band, 1972 (#4620.15)

This parade flag for the Sheboygan Youth Band was part of numerous performances for the organization. In 1965, Frank Parisi organized a group of twenty-six students in grades eight through twelve, primarily as a summer concert band in hopes of providing young instrumentalists in the area with additional performance opportunities. Parisi was already a well known area musician, having settled in the city in 1923. A french horn player, he was a charter member of the Sheboygan Municipal Band and also played with the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra. He also founded the Sheboygan Crum and Bugle Corps, along with the Sheboygan Youth Band. In 1972, a mayoral proclamation designated Parisi as “Mr. Music” of Sheboygan in recognition of his many contributions to area musical groups.  

The Sheboygan Youth Band was one of several musical performance groups organized for the young people of the community during the 1960s. In their first few years, SYB performed regular concerts at Fountain Park, along with providing entertainment for a variety of events such as the Lantern Parade, Soap Box Derby and local church picnics. By 1969, SYB had expanded to include more traditional marching performances in addition to the concert performances. As more marching engagements were added to the schedule, a color guard section created a visual interpretation of the music played by the marching unit. Soon, SYB was also participating in marching band competitions, often bringing home recognition and trophies. Concert performances also grew to include spring and winter concerts as well.

Executive Desk, Jung Shoe Company. 1892-1980s (#5530.1)

The shoe industry’s growth in Sheboygan County was particularly impressive. Already home to numerous tanneries, the manufacturing of finished goods utilizing processed leather was natural. Coupled with the mechanization brought about by the Industrial Revolution, the area soon had a number of shoe manufacturers. This roll-top desk was used by at least three generations of the leadership of Jung Shoe Company – Otto Jung (1870-1956), Otto Jung Junior (1899-1976), and Otto Henry Jung (1933-2020). It also served Henry as a personal desk for many years, with nooks and crannies (or drawers as it were) for all the different things he was involved with. Another fun fact about the desk relates to the hole on the left side of the upper portion, which allowed a phone cord to be run through when a telephone became a necessity of business.

The Jung Shoe Company, established in 1892, was first established as a shoe wholesaler. It was not until 1909 that the company added manufacturing their own line of work shoes to the business, establishing the Sheboygan Shoe Company.In 1937, the two entities were combined into the Jung Shoe Manufacturing Company, operated by Otto Jung and his sons. Over the next forty years, Jung became a well regarded manufacturer of outdoor footwear. It was not until the 1970s when the import of inexpensive shoes wiped out the domestic footwear market that many of the long standing shoe manufacturers in the area began to struggle. Despite efforts in the 1980s to save the business, the end of an era came for the company in January 1989.

Bruce the Spruce Coloring Book, H.C. Prange Company, 1973 (#4514)

As the national retail landscape changed in the late 1960s and 1970s, Prange’s adapted to the times, finding additional ways to bring people inside the store and not just to the sidewalk to view the holiday window displays. In 1972, Bruce the Spruce, a magical talking Christmas tree was introduced as part of the Magical Kingdom of Christmas. Originally found on the second floor in Children’s Wear, Bruce was “ a real chatterbox who loves to talk to little children,” along with having a direct line to Santa. By the following year, the company had developed an entire storyline about how Bruce and Santa became friends, all tucked neatly into a coloring book that children could take home. Of course, it also had a convenient reminder of where one could find our favorite chatty tree friend and complete the holiday shopping all in one trip.

Based at 8th and Wisconsin in Sheboygan, the H.C. Prange Company was a one-stop shop for the needs of Eastern Wisconsin residents. Founded in 1887 by Henry C. Prange, his sister Eliza, and Mr. J.H. Bitter, Prange’s began as a dry goods store. From day one, company leadership made sure that the newest merchandise was available to Sheboygan County residents and offered unique experiences, like the holiday window displays, life-size Steiff promotional animals, and popcorn for all.  An outstanding selection coupled with an unbeatable customer service policy — “It’s Not Yours ‘Til You Like It!” – helped Prange’s become the largest Wisconsin based department store chain with sales topping $250 million annually by 1984. The end of an era came in 1992, when Prange’s, including the Sheboygan flagship store, was sold to Younkers Inc.  

Pitcher, Conrad Langenberg, circa 1880 (# 3278)

This milk pitcher is one example of locally made earthenware made by German-born Conrad Langenberg. Most residents of Sheboygan County know that the predominant soil in the area is clay based. Langenberg took advantage of the red clay found along the banks of the Sheboygan River near present day Franklin and began making a variety of utensils useful not only to neighboring households, but also the growing dairy industry. Milk pitchers attributed to Langenberg are among the most common pieces of his pottery business found today. Though typically unmarked, many of his pitchers feature both an incised ring at the shoulder and a defined fingerprint, as seen on this piece, at the base of the handle. Nearly a century later, another local artisan donated the pitcher to the Museum as an example of Langenberg’s work.

Langenberg was one of several “Lippers” to settle in Sheboygan County. The first immigrants from Lippe-Detmold arrived in 1847, settling in the town of Herman in an area strikingly similar to their German home – rolling hills, wooded forests, and a growing population. Langenberg arrived in 1855, trained as a potter. He immediately put his trade to work, and quickly became part of a growing community of craftsmen providing for residents in what was then known as Lippers’ Mills. For at least the next twenty-five years Langenberg created pitchers, crocks, pots, baking dishes and more. At its height, the pottery production likely ranged in the neighborhood of 8,000 to 10,000 vessels. Though he continued as a potter, Langenberg also began to draw income from his farm. By the last two decades of the 1800s, a number of other competing products were making their way into the market. Around 1893, a semi-retired Langenberg is said to have remarked about potters, “Wir machen unser Geld aus Dreck” – we make our money out of dirt.

Kraft Cheese House Gang Quilt, Kraft Cheese Company, Plymouth, 1942 (#3641)

Like many women during World War II, Julie Powell went to work in one of the many factories of Sheboygan County in need of laborers. A single mother of two, Julie “commuted” to the Kraft Cheese Factory in Plymouth every week, leaving Sunday afternoon and returning Friday evening. During the week, she stayed in a rented room, along with other female Kraft employees, most from rural Sheboygan County. Julie made many wonderful friends while at Kraft and wanted to have something to remember them by. She asked each one to embroider a cotton square with her name, intending to make the finished blocks into a friendship quilt commemorating their time together at Kraft. Many squares were completed and returned to Julie, but time came and went, and the quilt never became a reality before she left the company in 1943. Fifty-seven years later, her daughter-in-law, Terri, completed the friendship quilt for Julie, privileged to have a hand in bringing those friends together again after so many years. 

James Lewis Kraft began his company as a wholesale cheese distributor in Chicago in 1903. In the following years, he brought his brothers into the business and in 1914, J.L. Kraft & Bros. Company began manufacturing their own cheese. Between 1915 and 1916, Kraft developed and received a patent for a pasteurized cheese product that did not require refrigeration. The well-timed product led to significant company growth as the U.S. Army purchased millions of pounds for World War I soldier’s rations. Between 1918 and 1919, the company established a presence in Plymouth, increasing its capital stock to one-million dollars in January 1920. The company became an integral part of the community over the coming years, including sponsoring an industrial league basketball team, the Kraft Loaves. In early 1949, Kraft announced that with the completion of a new manufacturing plant in Chicago, production in Plymouth would end in June of that year.

Blue pedal car designed to look like a Cadillac

Entrance Gate, Union Cemetery, Plymouth, unknown -1998 (#3558C)

Even though in the early years, cemeteries were seen as park-like areas, many still had some type of fencing surrounding the land. Organized in November 1854,  the land for Union Cemetery in Plymouth was purchased in 1850 at the cost of approximately one-hundred dollars per acre.  Located near the center of town,  early burials were overseen by the Cemetery Secretary Enos Eastman, who himself is buried in Block 1. Many of Plymouth’s prominent early residents are at rest in Union Cemetery.

Traveling through Sheboygan County, one would find a number of “Union” cemeteries – Cascade, Batavia, Cedar Grove, Plymouth and Howards Grove all have one. Union was a way to indicate that a cemetery was not associated with a particular religion or church. Typically, burial in a Union cemetery was open to anyone, though some exceptions did exist. Union Cemetery in Plymouth is one of two public cemeteries operated by the City.

Race Schedule Poster, Road America, 1972 (#4665.5)

This 1972 promotional poster for Road America highlights not only signature events for the year, but also the layout of the course itself. It is one of a collection of eighteen racing posters highlighting both individual and seasonal racing at the course, primarily from the 1970s and 1980s. The poster features two of the highlight events of the course – the June Sprints which has occurred annually since 1962 and the Can-Am Challenge Cup, which ran from 1967 to 1974, along with the double header L & M Grand Prix mid summer. The June Sprints that year were won by Pete Harrison, in a two liter Lola T-290, the first ever June Sprints win for an under two liter car. In the Can-Am race, 1972 marked the end of McLaren wins when a turbo Porsche driven by George Follmer debuted and blew away the competition.

Road America grew out of the street races run in Elkhart Lake in the early 1950s. Though exciting, hugely successful, and an economic benefit to the area, the difficulties of racing on public roads was unavoidable. Clif Tufte, a highway engineer by trade, saw the benefits and proposed building a dedicated road racing course on the outskirts of Elkhart Lake. Utilizing an area of farmland with natural topography featuring hills and ravines and the twists and turns he found on area country roads, Tufte created what we know today as Road America, the first road racing track in the country. The first races were held on September 10 and 11, 1955.

Blue pedal car designed to look like a Cadillac

Boxing Robe, John “Johnny Busch” Feldbusch, 1925-1930 ( #5326)

In the 1920s and 1930s, Sheboygan was a flourishing boxing town. Among those fighting was Johnny Busch, better known to his parents, who were not too thrilled about his career, as John Feldbusch. As a middleweight boxer, Feldbusch fought twenty-eight professional and five amateur fights. Following his fighting years, Feldbusch served as a trainer for Sheboygan area boxers, priding himself on “his boys” being “gentlemen.” A newspaper account read “Two clean cut, well groomed Sheboygan lads from the Johnny Bush stables of boxers, who outside the ring look like most anything but fighters stole the limelight away from the hometown boys…” Feldbusch also worked for a number of years as a promoter, along with arranging fights to be held at Turner Hall and Eagles Club.

Annex Billard Parlor relocated about two blocks to the south in 1924. The new location, below Victor Imig Clothing/ Kresge’s on North Eighth Street, offered more floor space, new furniture, brighter finishes and a new soda fountain. Originally established in 1914 by Arno Keppler, the business was taken over by George Mastoras in 1922. A few months later Charles Barker joined him. Eventually, the establishment was sold to Conrad Jurk. It is likely that Annex sponsored their hometown boxer Johnny Busch.

Circus Poster, Seils Sterling Circus, (#5066.1)

The larger Seils Sterling Circus poster at the Museum was uncovered during a building demolition in Caspian, Michigan in 1995. The practice of attaching promotional posters to buildings in advance of the circus’s arrival was a common way to drum up excitement for the upcoming performance. The 1935 season took Seils Sterling across nine states and 9,086 miles. The season opened on April 6 in Missouri, before traveling through Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. They arrived in Michigan for a June 26 performance, visiting several cities before the July 1 performance in Iron River. By November 9, Seils Sterling had returned to Farmington, Missouri to hold the final performance of the year. In this case, the posters advertising the Iron River stop were likely covered up shortly after the performance with siding, preserving the varied “scenes” that were pieced together. Thought to be one of the largest advertisements of its type left, museum staff member Sonia Lindemann Barta (granddaughter of Pete), Sheboygan’s Circus Fans of America Tent 76, and a numerous other local businesses and individuals worked together to bring the advertisement, still attached to the building wall, to Sheboygan in 1996.

The Seils Sterling Circus was the largest of the Lindemann brothers Sheboygan based circuses. From 1924 to 1938, brothers Pete, Bill and Al traveled the country with up to sixty-five trucks, employing primarily Sheboygan based performers. The circus became one of the largest motorized circuses in the country. However, the impact of the ongoing Great Depression took a toll and Seils Sterling held their final performance in Iron Mountain, Michigan on July 4, 1938. The circus was sold at auction in September of that year. All three brothers were inducted into the International Circus Hall of Fame in 1965.

Sno-Flake Snow Saucer, Garton Toy Company, circa (#4726.1)

Garton Toy Company expanded their sled offerings in 1955 with the introduction of the “Sno-Flake” saucer. The coaster pan style sled was made of 20 gauge steel and came in three colors – red, yellow, and blue. That year, the sled could be purchased from Prange’s for $4.95. Between 1959 and 1961, the company introduced the “Litho” Sno-Flake, featuring a brightly colored winter sledding scene on the seat area and a yellow bottom. The decorative Sno-Flake became a popular sled option, retailing at a slightly lower price than many of the wooden Garton sleds. The 1968 catalog offered a third version of the Sno-Flake. The “Poly” Sno-flake featured hi-density polyethylene in three popular, vibrant colors – blaze orange, signal green and aurora pink. Two additional designs were added to the steel Sno-Flake – a yellow smiley face version and a patriotic red, white, and blue style featuring stars and stripes.

While Garton is often remembered for their variety of wheeled pedal toys, the company’s sled business was equally successful. Wooden sleds with steel runners were first introduced around 1915 and manufactured on a seasonal basis. In February 1938, Garton announced the purchase of fellow Sheboygan sled maker Globe Manufacturing’s toy making assets. The purchase led to the proclamation that Sheboygan was now the “largest toy center in the world.” Garton’s sled business continued to grow and at peak production, the company was producing two-thousand sleds per day. The introduction of the coaster pan sled further grew the business – in 1958, Garton announced the manufacture of their one-millionth sled. The two-millionth sled rolled off the production line just four years later.

Velocipede, Dr. Adolph Bock, 1860-1880, (#517)

Like many early bicycles, this one, originally owned by Dr. Adolph W. Bock, was primarily made of wood and metal. The wheels resemble those on a wagon, with wooden spokes and felloes (inner rim) surrounded by an outer metal rim, with the foot pedals attached to the front wheel hub. The frame itself is metal, as is the seat, though that was likely originally covered by leather. The rough, uncomfortable (and sometimes dangerous since there was no brake mechanism) ride earned this popular style of bicycle the nickname boneshaker. Dr. Bock was a well known Sheboygan pharmacist. Born in 1855, Bock apprenticed in the pharmacy trade beginning at age 13. In 1875, he established a pharmacy on N. 8th Street in Sheboygan in partnership with his father. Over the next forty years, Bock Drug Store was not only a community name, but a teaching establishment for numerous area pharmacists. Adolph Bock died October 16, 1916.

The original two-wheeled, leg powered bicycle debuted in Europe in 1817. Throughout the late 1860s and 1870s, numerous patents were issued for bicycles similar to the one owned by Dr. Bock. An article in the August 1868 Scientific American features a photo of a remarkably similar velocipede, developed by the Hanlon Brothers, touting that “these vehicles were used merely as playthings for children, and it is only lately that their capabilities have been understood and acknowledged. Practice with these machines has been carried so far that offers of competitive trials of speed between them and horses on the race course have been made.” Additionally luxuries like chain drives, suspensions, and rubber tires came around the turn of the century, while air-filled tires and the banana seat came later. Interestingly, the first electric bicycle occurred in 1897, but it did not come to widespread production until nearly one-hundred years later.