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Looking for Benroth’s Saloon or the Modern Suit and Shirt Co.?

Sorry to say, they are no longer in business… but the building housing them still exists

By Fred Steiner

Here’s a familiar Bluffton Main Street business block of three stores in an undated late-1880, early 1890-era photo. Check several photo enlargements of this scene at the bottom of this feature.

The time frame is based upon:

• Main Street is not yet paved. That took place in 1906. 

• A photo from the early 1880s shows three wooden framed buildings in the location of the brick building in this photo.

• The trees in the photo are mature, reaching almost above the second floor of buildings. By 1904 most Main Street business section trees were removed. This photo looks as if it was near the end of the tree-lined Main Street.

On the left edge of the photo is 101 and 103 North Main Street at the corner of Main and Church. You can see the 103 awning and wall.


Next is a building is the Commercial Bank, but it lacks its “modern” front, which was added later.

J.L. Doty Grocer and Bakery
Let’s skip to the far right side of the photo. It’s J. L. Doty Grocer and Bakery. Today that’s 113 N. Main St., home of Sielschott, Walsh, Keifer, Regular and Sherer, CPAs.

A photo of that building is at the bottom of this story. For more complete details on the Doty business read an earlier story HERE.

Benroth Saloon
The Benroth Saloon is located at today’s 111 N. Main St., Ryan DeMarco’s Edward Jones office. George Benroth operated the saloon. At one time it was among 13 saloons in Bluffton.

Benroth had an amazing collection of native America pieces, which he collected while operating his business. A news article in 1910 stated his collection included more than 4,000 specimens of stone axes, hammers, knives, polishers, scrapers, pestils, arrowheads and ornaments. 

According to Tom Benroth, each time a customer brought in a native American item, George Benroth gave the customers a free drink.

The Modern Suit and Skirt Co.
The business in the center of the three was owned by Jonas A. Amstutz, general manager.

In a 1904 Bluffton News edition, the store was described this way: "Mr. Amstutz does a general wholesale and retail business, having a large retail store which is 22 by 85 feet in dimensions located near the Commercial bank."

Click HERE for many photos and the rest of this feature

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