Businesses on the 300 block of east Main Street

We continue our travel north along Main Street.
First National Bank

In 1883 Christian Buechler moved his home from Yankton to this location.  (In 1902 First National Bank Freeman was established in the Kaufman Jewelry store where it operated until 1907.  It was organized by John J. Waltner along with Jos. P. Graber, Joseph J. Waltner, Benj. J. Waltner, Jacob J. Waltner, Jos. Graber, and Jos. J. Waltner).  In 1902 Mr. Buechler's house was moved to 425 S Juniper St.  In 1906 a two story brick structure was constructed by Boyer and Boyer construction contractors from Yankton.    In 1907 the bank began operation, run by J.J. Waltner for 56 years including when he was taken as a hostage in a 1935 robbery.  In 1929 Dr. Isaac, Dr. Walter, and Dr. Benesh operated above the bank.  This building has housed an attorney, dentist, doctor, beauty shop, and livestock dealer as well as running bank operation.  In 1976 First National Bank moved a block east and constructed a new building (Cor Trust Bank today).  The bank building became home to Dale's Shoes which started above the bank in 1976.  Stern oil operated here for a few years and then Tech Treasury operated business here until 2010. In 2014 The Vintage Vault opened for business in the old bank after restoring and remodeling the building.   


Shoe Store

In 1883 Christian Buechler established the first bank in town and there was a bank at this location in the early 1900's.  There was later a liquor store and cream store here.  In 1909 Andrew Gering started his shoe store in the small building and in 1929 his son Charles took over.  Charles repaired shoes for several years and later moved down Main street.

Morfeld Meat Market > Laber Locker Meats > Northwestern Energy

In the 1880's Guenthner and Haar opened a meat market at this location.  They sold it to Ruede Bros. and in 1894 it was sold to Philipp Mensch.  Philipp ran a saloon here for a few years.  In 1900 the original Schamber store (Christian Buechler's Yankton building) was moved here and in 1902 Christian Buechler opened Freeman State Bank.  Philipp Mensch ran a meat business until 1907 when he sold it to Jacob Tschetter and the store became Tschetter Meat Market.  Jake ran the business until 1930 when he retired.  In 1930 L.W. Morfeld and Henry Bierman bought the meat market.  They started Morfeld Meat Market in 1930 and in 1938 L.W. Morfeld became sole owner.  In 1938 a locker system was added with more additions in 1940 and 1944.  In 1964 the building was remodeled with a new brick front.  Leo Laber started working there in 1934 and became manager in 1948.  In 1974 Leo Laber bought the market and it became Laber's Meat Market and Locker (this is the oldest building in Freeman). 

In 1912 electric lights were installed in town.  In 1914 the Freeman Light Plant was built by Math Hafner, Reinhold Dewald, A.W. Gross, and J.J. Mendel.  In 1917 J.J. Mendel took over the plant and operated until 1927 when he sold the business to Northwestern Public Service Co.  Northwestern operated out of the Freeman Hotel (across from Mr. G's) in the 1970's and today Northwestern Energy is located south of Strasser Law Office on Main street. 


Post Office > Bakery > Strasser Law Office            Corkill > Kleinsasser Drug > State Farm

A. Gering had a General Merchandise store here.  The Guenthner drug store moved into the south side in the early 1900's.  In 1909 a group of farmers started Farmer's Implement which became Farmer's Co-operative Implement Company in 1911.  Jona Gering ran the Farmers Cooperative Company here until 1913 when the business moved across the street.  In 1916 the Freeman Post Office moved into the south side of the building (was next to 423 Main).  From 1924 to 1936 Franscis Smidt was the postmaster, next was Albert Schmidt.  Reuben Goertz was a rural mail carrier for over 40 years.  (In 1961 a new post office was built on the corner of Fifth and Poplar and Robert Uecker took over in 1964).  In 1973 Merril Olsen started Freeman Bakery in the south side of the building (Merril bought out Delmer Titze).  (In 1975 Gary Blue started a law office (north side of Merchants Bank), Dale Strasser became partner in 1979 and it became "Blue and Strasser, Attorneys at Law").  In 1995 Strasser Law Office moved into the Freeman Bakery location. 

Philipp Mensch had a General store here in the early 1900's.  In 1928 Duane A. Corkill bought the north part of the building from Otto Temple and it became Corkill's pharmacy called "Central Drug".  It was sold to Emil Hirsch in 1930 and bought back in 1933 operating on the north side of the building until 1962.  In 1962 Alfred "Duke" Kleinsasser bought the store and started "Kleinsasser Drug" in the north side of the building.  The building was remodeled in 1977 and Duke was in operation until 1984 when he sold the store.  Kleinsasser Drug was open every day for 22 years including the blizzard in 1968-1969.  State Farm is in the location today. 

Ellwein Dewald & Co. > Jack and Jill > Freeman Public Library south side

In 1890 Paul and Andrew Kleinsasser opened a hardware store at this site.  The store was later sold to the Baer Bros, John, Christ, and Reinhold.  The brothers operated the hardware store from the 1890's to 1913.  (Fred Jundt and Dave Ellwein established a dry goods and grocery store across the street in 1906).  Jundt sold the building to Ed Ellwein and Gideon Dewald in 1914).  Ellwein Dewald & Co. bought the Baer Bros store in 1914 and remodeled.  They operated the grocery and dry goods business, also selling stoves and furnaces. The Ellwein store was open until 1956 when it was sold to Ken Weiland in 1964.  Ken moved "Kenny's Jack and Jill" here.  "Jack and Jill" was sold to Clinton Schultz and became Jerry's IGA in 1980.  The building was destroyed by fire in 1981.  In 2007 the Freeman Public Library was built and is open at this location today.

Sugar Bowl / H.C. Gering Jewelry store > Coast to Coast > Freeman Public Library north side
In the late 1800's A. Akerjorsky Tailor Shop was here.  In 1902 C. Fetch started a restaurant here.  In 1905 Tom Scanlan took over the restaurant and in 1908 Amos Warlick took over.  In 1914 Andrew A. Waldner built the Sugar Bowl which sold ice cream, confectionaries, and soda pop.  The Sugar Bowl was destroyed by the fire in 1922 and rebuilt by Andrew Waldner.  The "New Sugar Bowl" was then sold to Jonathan Waltner and his daughter Ella.  They operated from 1922 to 1925 when Jonathan Waltner died.  Art Graber ran the store for a few years until John A. Wipf bought the building in 1927.  He closed the Sugar Bowl moved his plumbing and heating business in from across the street.  In 1934 John added a Gamble Hardware Store to the business and switched to a Coast to Coast store in 1937.  He then expanded and built a 30 foot tin shop on the back of the store.  In the 1940's another expansion went to the alley for a warehouse (building was 130 x 25 feet).  In 1943 Willis Wipf ran a radio repair business in the store and later added a TV repair. 

As a young boy Henry C Gering had his leg crippled in a farm accident.  Unable to work on the farm he began making gold pin name tags.  Soon he began working on clocks and watches.  In 1904 Henry "Bones" C. Gering  started a watch business.  H.C. Gering Jewelry store and optometrist opened in 1912 and operated until the 1950's when Henry sold it to Doc Hofer.  It later became Mettler Bakery.  John Wipf bought it in 1963 and added a fireproof addition to Coast to Coast.  Coast to Coast was taken over by John's sons Orvil and Willis.  They began selling propane in 1963 and started a clean heat gas business. The fireproof block building was unaffected by the fire in 1981 and another expansion was added.  Willis retired in 1992 and his son Don took over.  Coast to Coast was in business until 2000.  Bob Hofer later bought the store and changed the name to True Value.  True Value was here until 2007. 

Freeman Public Library began next to the old city hall in the 1930's.  The library operated in the "Friesen" building from 1939 to 1972.  In 1972 a new city hall was built on Third street with a library.  In 2007 the True Value store was torn down and the new Freeman Public Library was built at 322 S Main Street. 
You can check out the library website at

C.J. Koerner Saloon

In the late 1800's John Kleinsasser opened a saloon here.  Dan Mehrer ran the saloon for several years.  In 1906 John closed the saloon.  C.J. Koerner had a saloon here in 1915.  The building burned down in 1922.  In the 1930's the property became part of the Coast to Coast expansion.  In the 1940's there was another expansion for a warehouse.   The business ran until 2000 when Bob Hofer changed the name to True Value.  True Value was here until 2007 when the Freeman Public Library was built.
Shack Cafe > City Cafe > Freeman Courier (Lot 17)
In 1896 George Gross became owner of the property Lot 17 and built a new furniture store here.  In 1904 John J. Kleinsasser purchased the furniture store from George Gross and it became Freeman Mercantile Co.  Around 1915 Andrew Waldner built a cafe here which burned down in 1922.  In 1923 he rebuilt the cafe and named it the Shack Cafe which later sold to Henry Miller.  In 1942 Tom Kaufman bought the business and renamed it "City Cafe".  Ernie Stoebner was the manager in the 1950's.  City Cafe was open from 1942 until 1972.  In 1972 Denny Wollman started a pharmacy named "Wollman Drug" which he operated here until 1979.  (A new pharmacy was built on Highway 81 in 1979 called "Heritage Pharmacy").  The Et Cetera Shoppe opened here in 1979 and moved north in 1994 when the Freeman Courier moved in. 

April 11, 1901 the first Freeman Courier was printed by Osborn and Williams.  They printed until 1902 when the community got J.J. Mendel to continue running the paper.  The Freeman Courier was located above the Schamber store.  In 1928 Mendel moved the Courier to Third Street (Bake's Bar site) where it ran for 32 years.  In 1960 (on the day J.J. Mendel died) Glenn and Vernon Gering took over the Courier and moved the business to Pine Hill Printery on Sixth street.  In 1968 the Courier joined 9 other newspaper publishers and formed the Dakota Action Rocket.  In 1969 the Courier changed from letterpress to offset printing.  (The Courier has been printed at the Rocket plant in Armour since 1978.  Tim Waltner worked for Glenn Gering as editor in the late 1970's and took over of the Freeman Courier in 1984).  Freeman Courier operated across the street to the north from 1984-1995.  The Freeman Courier started here in 1995 and is still on Main street today.
Freeman Mercantile Co > Et Cetera Shoppe (Lot 18)

In 1889 Peter Goertz, John Tschetter, and George Gross opened a general merchandise business on corner Lot 18, 3rd and Main.  In 1904 John Kleinsasser purchased the general store from George Gross and it became "Freeman Mercantile Co."  In 1907 the Wipf Bros bought Freeman Mercantile Co. and the furniture store to the south.  The buildings were destroyed in the 1922 fire.  In 1925 John J. Kleinsasser started a service station here.  John's son Kurt ran the service station and later sold it to Alvin Huber in 1936.  Alvin ran it for a few years and turned it into an automotive business.  (In 1944 the business was moved a block south to the Kaufman store).  The property became a city parking lot in the 1970's.  The Et Cetera Shoppe (opened in 1979 in the Courier building) and they built a new building here in 1994.