Businesses on the 400 block of east Main Street

We will travel from the south end of Main Street to the north stopping at each business along the way.


The Brooks Hotel / Ford Garage > Freeman Coop > Mr. G's Tires (Lot 7,8,9)

In the late 1800's Jacob Delzer Blacksmith shop was here.  It was later moved to Fourth Street and sold to Frank and Chas Wilde in 1919.  Abraham Kautz came to Freeman in 1901.  In 1903 he built the The Brooks Hotel "Freeman House" on the corner of Lot 7,8. (This was the first hotel in Freeman).  From 1923 to 1943 Sam Preheim ran the "Freeman Fair Store" in the old hotel building, selling furniture downstairs and a five and dime store upstairs.  The building was sold to the Freeman Coop in 1943.

In 1908 Abe Kautz began the Ford Agency on Lot 9 selling Cutting, Buick, EMF, Fidler, and Hupmobile at the Ford Garage.  In 1917 Abe added on a 40 foot addition.  This later became the Hupmobile Garage.  In 1930 Abe sold the Garage to Chas Schmidt. 

Freeman Gas & Oil Company was organized in 1935 with Henry Miller as manager.  There were financial struggles in the early years as the company could barely afford to buy gas, but they survived.  In 1938 total sales were $21,000.  For awhile they rented the gas station across the street to the west from Freeman Jr. College.  In 1943 the Freeman Coop bought the Jacob Kautz Hotel from the bank and John Schult moved the building east.  After the bulk plant fire in 1943 the Coop needed room so they bought Abe Kautz harness shop to the north (Rays shoe store site).  In 1949 they built a new brick building in place of the Ford Garage and put in hand gas pumps.  By 1956 sales were above $275,000.  In the 1950's the Coop ran a Skelly gas station here with full service gas pumps.  Melvin Graber was manager from 1957 to 1965 when Levi Wilde became manager.  Levi worked until 1978.  In the 1970's the fertilizer plant moved to Highway 81 and in 2004 the office moved there as well.  The old building on Main street was sold to Mr. G's. in 2003 which operates there today.
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Rays Shoe store (Lot 11), Dubs Jewelry and Beauty shop (Lot 10)

In 1884 Solon Bevins bought Lot 11 (Ray's Shoe store site) and in 1900 it was sold to Jacob Kautz.  Abraham Kautz came to Freeman in 1901 and bought his fathers property in 1904.  He later opened a harness shop in the building.  In 1923 E.F. Tiesen opened a chiropractic office behind the harness shop and operated there for a few years.  In 1943 the Coop bought the building and it was sold to Emma Wipf in 1954.  Charlie Gering, (who had taken over his fathers shoe repair business in 1929) moved his shoe store here in 1962. 

In 1959 Ray Hofer started a steel business on the farm and in 1960 he started selling York grain bins.  In 1963 he started selling hail insurance and in 1964 he brought the Steel Sales to Main street (where Ray's shoe store is today).  In 1964 Ray bought the shoe business from Charlie and started Ray's Shoe shop.  In 1973 Ray bought the insurance agency from John P. Kleinsasser and bought the insurance agency from Carl Milller in 1976.  Ray bought the building and still owns Ray's Shoes and Steel Sales today. 

In 1884 Solon Bevins bought Lot 10 (DMC building site).  In 1891 it was bought by Christian Buechler and later bought by Abraham Kautz in 1914.  In 1925 J. Rosen opened a tailor shop in the building.  In 1929 J.J. Hoellwarth had a carpenter shop here.  In 1948 Raymond Unruh bought the property and constructed a building for photography business.  Half the building was Delmars Donut Bar.  In 1953 Leonard and Irene Dubs bought the building, took out the dividing wall, and started a cafe.  In 1957 the couple put the wall back in.  They opened Dubs Jewelry store in the south section and a lunch counter in the north section.  The lunch counter became Lonnie Graber's barber shop from 1959 to 1963 (Irene had a beauty shop in the back of the jewelry store).  In 1963 Irene opened Dubs Beauty shop in the north section of the building.  Jo's Cafe was in the building and Barb's Cafe moved in later.  In 2000 Ray Hofer bought the building he had been renting.
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Schrag Garage > Pollman Hardware > General Trading Company Auto Parts

In 1916 the Schrag Brothers, Chas and Jacob, built a garage (first brick building in Freeman 50 x 100 foot).  "The City Garage"  was later run by Henry Miller and Bern Schwartz.  It was then sold to Albert Schmidt who moved "Schmidt Motor" here in the 1930's.  This was a site for Buick, Chevrolet, Oakland (now Pontiac), and Elgin dealerships until 1941.  In the 1940's A. G. Pollman started "Marshall Wells" hardware store, which he operated here until 1974.  In 1974 Loren Krier started GTC Auto Parts in the Pollman building.  In 1976 Darrel Hartman bought the business.  This is Mr. G's storage building today. 

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Freeman Laundromat / Dollars & Cents

In 1901 Atjoersky tailor shop operated on Lot 15.  In the 1930's John Rosen had a tailor shop here which he later moved to the north end of Main Street (Karios location).  John Edwin P. Hofer constructed a building here in the late 1930's for a feed and poultry business.  Edwin closed in 1955 and in 1957 Leonard and Clarence Preheim opened Preheim General Tire shop.  Edwin Hofer returned to the building in 1960 to start the laundromat "King Koin".  In 1969 the laundromat was sold to Lewis Kleinsasser.   In 1974 Wally Ell bought the laundromat and sold it to David Epp in 1979.  Freeman Laundromat is still in operation today.


In 1901 C.C. Vogt opened a photography gallery on Lot 14.  He sold the business to John Gross in 1902.  Fairmont Cream Station operated here from around 1915 to 1927.  In the 1930's there was an electric company here.  In the late 1940's Crescent Ice Cream store was here.  In 1952 Ferd Walter started Ferd's Food Market here.  In 1958 Lonnie Graber opened his barber shop here for a couple years.  In 1973 the business was sold the business to Ted Pidde and the store became "Ted's Food Market".  Ted ran the store until his son began Bob's Clover Mart in 1983.  Bob moved his store to the old K&K store site.  Chet Kramer ran Main Video here until 2003 when Dollars and Cents started business. 

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Kaufman Jewelry Store > Huber Motor > Black Widow Customs
In 1893 Aaron Peters built a two story brick building on corner Lot 17 and 18 for a grocery store and rooming house.  In 1898 Rev. Joseph Kaufman bought the lot and Peter Graber bought the building for his home which he moved (to the Salem Home site).  The building to the south on Lot 16 was sold to Andrew D. Schmidt.  In 1898 Schmidt sold the store to Kaufman & Waltner.  In 1901 Kaufman & Waltner constructed a two story building on site for their general store.  "Kaufman and Waltner" closed in 1906.   

In 1898 Joe Kaufman built "Kaufman and Son Jewelry Store".  The northwest part of the building was used for jewelry and watch repair and the east for living.  The south east part was used for a grocery store until 1902 when First National Bank began.  The clock above the Jewelry store was installed in 1903 so everyone on Main street could see it.  First National Bank operated until 1907, then moved across the street to the north, the vacant area became Benjamin Waltner's flour and feed store.  Part of the building was used for rooming and lodging "The Freeman Hotel". The west part of the upstairs was used for offices, and a dentist office in the northwest.  (The southwest was occupied by Dr. Isacc, physician and surgeon, until 1919 when he moved above First National Bank).  Joseph Kaufman was in business until 1925 when his son George took over.  In 1943 the Waltner flour and feed business ended and Kaufman sold the property to Alvin Huber.
In 1936 Alvin Huber bought the Standard Oil Dealership on the corner of Third and Main street.  The business became Huber Standard in 1937 and in 1940 Alvin Huber bought a Ford Mercury Dealership.  The business was moved from Fourth and Main.  In 1944 Alvin Huber bought the Kaufman Hotel building and remodeled with a new modern structure.  There was a parts room, storeroom, and a new service building.  In 1946 the name was changed to Huber Motor and in 1947 they bought a wrecker.  In 1956 Orville Huber joined the business.  In 1962 the old building was torn down and a new service station and showroom was built.  In 1967 Reno Huber joined the business.  After Alvin died in 1970, Reno and Orville ran the business.  In 1971 a lot was purchased from Jack Wipf for cars and trucks on Sixth Street.  Huber Motor sold the Main street property to Black Widows Customs in 2012.