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Bluffton drinks coffee here today

But at the turn of an earlier century was a pharmacy, jewelry store, wallpaper shop and a place to buy stringed instruments - not to mention a telephone exchange on the second floor

Next time you have a cup of coffee in Twisted Whisk, 101 S. Main St., imagine being in that building 125 years earlier. What would it be like?

In 1898, you wouldn’t have a cup of coffee in your hand.

Instead, you might be talking with Andrews Hauenstein, who had the building constructed for his apothecary business. That’s an older word for a pharmacy.

Or, you might be looking at possible wallpaper to purchase for your house.

Or, you might be looking at a musical instrument to purchase.

Or, you might be having a pocket watch repaired.

If you had a reason to go to the second floor, you’d step into a room housing Bluffton’s first-ever telephone exchange.

At the turn of this earlier century, the Twisted Whisk was home to three separate businesses on the first floor and a fourth business on part of the second floor. These were a pharmacy, a wallpaper shop, a jewelry-musical instrument store and a telephone exchange.

Accompanying this story is a photograph of the building when it housed these businesses. Several things have changed since this photo was taken. But, the businesses occupying the building in 1898 are obvious.

First, the doorway is no longer in the center. It’s on the far right.

Second, that step up into the store is no longer there. That’s because Main Street continues to get higher and with that the sidewalks do also, leaving a very small incline into the building today.

Telephone exchange on second floor

The sign hanging on the building’s corner speaks volumes. It reads “Public telephone station.” That’s because in the second floor was Bluffton’s first telephone office.

Directly above that sign is a pharmacy pestle sign.

Now, let’s peek into the window. There is a stringed musical instruments display on one side, We can’t quit make out what’s on the other side. Except, near the sidewalk a sign reads “Wallpaper.”

And, finally, look at the size of those windows. We've downsized those today.

We believe N.C. Herr, jeweler and seller of musical instruments, stands on the left and Andrew Hauenstein pharmacist, on the right. The man in the center is not identified.

We date this photo between mid-1890s to early 1900s.

The photograph below shows the Bluffton Telephone Company switchboard. Linda Swank and Mabel Crawford sit at the switchboard. In 1903 the exchange had nearly 500 subscribers. The Bluffton News stated that this company had one of the largest customer bases of any town of its size in the country. Click here for the story on the telephone exchange . This business was on the second floor of the building featured in this story.


1 Comment

Feb 19, 2023

And this article came about because of a business Token I Found last week in a local farmers field. Nice article Fred

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