Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Dec. 20, 1999

Hope to keep hardware store building in use

By Molly Van Oss

We are sorry to hear that Werner's Hardware & Home Center in Howard Lake may close.

They are in a wonderfully historic building that dates to the 1870s. It was once called Rausch's Store and the phone number was 6.Rausch store

Rausch's sold "fancy" groceries, the latest novelties in ladies' and gents' furnishings and "up-to-date" shoes. Outbuildings extended down St. Paul Street (Eighth Avenue) to the livery stable ­ now the Lee Apartments, across from the bank. Tons of butter and 600 dozen eggs were shipped weekly to the cities.

This year, the national and state 10 most endangered preservation lists include "Main Street" business districts. Mom and Pop stores have encountered the farmers' problems of going up against big companies. Most will be lost, but Highway 12 traffic gives Howard Lake a unique opportunity to salvage a piece of the disappearing story and values of the European immigrant in America.

At Old Town Gallery, we recently had a tour of very nice kids from the high school. Their thank you notes included poignant comments like:

"I never looked into my family background, but now I realize what I've been missing;" and

"I appreciate the way you cherish Howard Lake."

Rausch's Store is still basically intact. If the Highway 12 windows were replaced, they'd entice tourists and shoppers. Hopefully, it will capture the heart of artists or entrepreneurs, just as the Koenig Hardware building has captured ours.

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