Yesterday & Today – Main Street in Shawano

Published March 12, 2024

Photo Gallery


Main Street in Shawano, WI
Photos taken in 1880 and 2024

Yesterday and today at the intersection of Center and Main Streets in Shawano.

This historic photo, taken in 1880, is a birds-eye view of the City of Shawano. Taken from the steeple of the old Catholic Church, looking north, you can see the old Methodist Church and parsonage just across the street. The next small building to the north in the photo is the Hope Building which was a one-room building used for the first kindergarten class with teacher, Mrs. E. V. Werner. The next building is in the location occupied today by Stubborn Brothers Brewery as their kitchen. It’s the former Reinholz Shoe Store. The Nagle Building, the old Cresent Theater, won’t be built until 1915.

Across the street, where the post office is today, there are vacant lots and homes. Just to the north, on the NW corner of Division and Main Streets you can see the first Upham & Russell store. Today, Cornerstone Chiropractic occupies the second Upham & Russell building which is red brick. Further in the photo you’ll see the old Jennings Hotel, and still further the Steeple of the Courthouse. Beyond that you’ll notice the Shawano Lake Channel to the north. In back of the business buildings on the 100 block of Main Street you’ll notice building for horses and buggies. When people came to town to shop, they needed a place to “park” their horse and buggy which shopping. Store owners provided barn and stables in the back for this purpose.

On May 2, 1890 Shawano had a devastating fire the took five buildings on the 100 block of south Main Street. The only fire protection was a 30-man pump with two wells for water supply.

In those days the only sidewalks were wooden. You’ll notice that almost all lots had a fence to keep the cows out of the gardens. The population of Shawano was ~1000 to 1200.

The 2024 photograph is taken in the same location, where the old Catholic Church stood.

We want to thank Jacob Miller for helping us with the 2024 photo. He is the owner of Miller’s Cream n Dough at 1063 E Green Bay St, Shawano, WI 54166 for donating his time and drone expertise.