Have you ever noticed a particular building in town and wondered when it was built and which businesses have occupied the building over the years; do you know about the building on the 100 block of East Second Street which was once known as the State Bank building?
Have you ever noticed a particular building in town and wondered when it was built and which businesses have occupied the building over the years? Have you ever wondered what was on that lot before that particular structure was built? Do you know about the building on the 100 block of East Second Street which was once known as the State Bank building? This building is located on the south side of the street in the middle of the block, and that site has a great history. Did you know the bank was once robbed of $35,000 by five armed gunmen? This robbery took place Friday, Sept. 23, 1932. I’ll bet Redwood County Sheriff Kise and his deputies were kept busy and frustrated for some time over this major event. If you look at the front of the building it states “Citizen State Bank,” but back in 1932 it was called the “State Bank.” For several years, it was also the home of The Redwood Gazette until Sept. 1, 2001 when it moved into the old Martin Elher’s Clothing Store building on Washington Street where it is currently located. This State Bank building was built in 1920 or thereabouts and was already constructed before Mike’s and Joe’s Confection-ary was built next door on the adjacent lot. Actually the State Bank building and Mike’s and Joe’s were built pretty much at the same time, but I think the State Bank was completed first. Construction of the bank was delayed sometime because of the unavailability of building materials and workers due to World War I. Its opening was set for Nov. 17, 1920. Think about this… Mike and Joe were probably serving ice cream and lunch in their store when the bank was being robbed, and across the street, Chris Schulte was perhaps waiting on a customer in his leather and harness shop; however, George Beecher was not waiting on customer’s in his drug store, because this event occurred eight years before George Beecher purchased his drug store on Second Street. Not even Knudson’s Jewelry Store had been established. O. A. “Jack” Knud-son didn’t come to town to open up his shops until July 1934, two years after the robbery had occurred. Are you grasping any of this, or did all of this occur long before your time? Have you just forgotten about all of these things? Time will do that. So, what was located on the site before the State Bank was built in 1920? Joseph Lichtwarck arrived in Redwood Falls during the summer of 1870.
He arrived with his family from New Ulm, including wife, Mary, and built a meat market on this lot. The front of the building was “L” shaped, a unique looking building. It was a two story wood structure and rather large. A couple photos of this building are available, thanks to Gary Revier. When Lichtwarck Meat Market was torn down, razed or carted away to make room for the bank, the old frame building had to have been about 50 years old. It was built when Col. Sam McPhail still resided in Redwood Falls. Perhaps he helped build it or at least watched while it was being constructed. Joseph Lichtwarck was a butcher by trade, and for nearly eight years he carried on a meat market, after which he engaged in the saloon business. He remained there until compelled to give it up on account of ill health. In other words, Joseph Lichtwarck was a butcher from about 1870-78. Then he ran a saloon from about 1878-96. According to the 1880 census Lichtwarck’s stepson, George Lieben-guth, ran a meat market, but George died in 1888. Joseph Lichtwarck and his other stepson, William Pfeiffer, ran a meat market in 1899 on the northeast corner of Washington and Se-cond. This was the building which was later occupied by Engh’s Bakery and still later by F. W. Woolworth and Company. Mary married three times. By her first marriage she had a son, named George Lieb-enguth, Jr., who was born in New York State in about 1854, who married Matilda Schmahl June 9, 1879 in Redwood Falls. In 1860 George and Mary Pfeiffer lived in Milford Township, Brown County and somehow they survived the bloody massacre that took place during the Dakota Conflict of 1862. By her second marriage Mary had a son named William Pfeiffer, who was born about 1864 in New Ulm and died a bachelor in Redwood Falls. Both of these two sons preceded Mary in death. Joseph and Mary Lichtwarck were the parents of four children: Rosa, born 1867; John, born 1869; Julia, born 1871; and Josephine, born 1873. Rosa married Frank M. Birkenmeyer. John, died in 1906, unmarried; Julia married Kimball Glassco; and Josephine, died in 1963, unmarried. Julia and Jo-sephine Lichtwarck were born in Redwood Falls and were RFHS alumni. They attended the old brick school on Lincoln Street which was built there in 1885/1886. The Schmahl family and the Lichtwarck family were close friends, even before both families had moved to Redwood Falls. Mrs. Mary Pfeiffer and Joseph Licht-warck were married Sept. 15, 1866 at the residence of Jacob Schmahl in Traverse des Sioux. In the old photo of Lichtwarck’s Meat Market, one can see in the foreground, Ol’ Babe and Dobbin, and behind old Dobbin is a lady standing on the boardwalk with about five children. A good guess would be that lady was Mrs. Mary Lichtwarck with her young-est children. It looks like Joseph Lichtwarck could be standing on the boardwalk on the left of the children, but that is only a guess. If this is correct then another good guess would be that this photo was taken about the year 1875. This is one of the oldest photos of Redwood Falls, but not the oldest.The oldest child in this photo appears to be a boy of about 10 or 12 years of age. This boy could have been William Pfeiffer. Both Joseph and Mary died of old age. Besides being a meat market the building was also the family residence. The funerals of Joseph and Mary Lichtwarck were conducted at their residence by Pres-byterian ministers. They were both buried in the Redwood Falls Cemetery. The following is the last paragraph of Mrs. Mary Lichtwarck’s obituary which was published in the Redwood Gazette and perhaps written by the editor, James Aiken: “The historians may write of the lives of many ladies and their kind deeds – those of Mrs. Lichtwarck deserve to be as well written of and they will always be cherished by those who were her benefactors.” The following is also an excerpt from her obituary: “She came here when Redwood Falls was but the commencement of a village, and in her own good manner she assisted in up-building the town and in caring for the poor, her gentle and kindly heart ever going out to those in need. “Assistance was always given at the door of the Lichtwarck home by the noble lady, while forth from it her children were sent carrying packages that aided mothers materially in caring for their young, and there are those living in Redwood Falls who gratefully remember Sunday morning breakfast furnished them by Mrs. Licht-warck and of meat from the Lichtwarck shop that made many dinners seem good.” As far as can be determined, the Lichtwarck Meat Market and the State Bank buildings were the only two structures ever erected on that particular lot.