A piece of history is torn down in St. Martin

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 4/21/98.

To make way for a new store, a piece of St. Martin history came down last week.

Mondloch Inc. (plumbing, heating, and hardware) started moving their inventory across the street into the former city hall on March 10. Two weeks after that, they were in business full time in the temporary location. ďWe never closed for business. We worked out of both locations until the move was complete,Ē Romuald Ehresmann, 77, partner, said.

Demolition of the business structure took place on Monday, April 13. Portion of the structure date back 125 years.

Construction started on a new building as soon as the old foundation was removed from the site. Mondlochs are constructing a 45 by 100-foot long building. They retained the plumbing shop portion of the business which was built in the late 1980s.

In tearing down the old hardware store, which was attached to the original house, they found a piece of paper indicating it had been built in 1903.

Joelle Ehresmann said they hope to be in the new building before school starts in September.

Mondlochís was opened in 1881 by John Mondloch. He started a grocery store with three cows, a horse and 35 chickens in St. Martin, according to a centennial history account of the business. The family lived in the house which was attached to the store.

In 1902, Mondloch expanded the store and home because of a growing demand for goods as well as a growing family. Johnís son, Ben, took over the business in 1925. He continued with the hardware business but added a line of John Deere tractors and implements such as hand plows, horse drawn mowers, dump rakes, and sleds. Ben connected the old blacksmith shop on the north end of the lot to the house. The area was used to display farm equipment. At the age of 16, Romuald was the mechanic for the business and later the partsman.

In 1927, Ben expanded the store and took on a new partner, John Ehresmann, his brother-in-law. In later years, following Benís retirement, a corpora-tion was formed between Romuald Ehresmann, Sylvester Didier, Don Lenz, and Ben Mondloch.

In 1968, Didier and Lenz retired from the implement business. At that time, the dealership was disbanded. In 1969, Jerome Weber and Romuald Ehresmann enlarged the hardware business and added appliances, plumbing and heating supplies, and services. In the late 1980s the old blacksmith shop was torn down and a new 20 by 45-foot plumbing shop addition was added to the store.

Joining the partnership in the last 10 years have been Tom Ehresmann, Romualds son, LeRoy Hemmesch, and Jerome Weber.

ďIt has been a challenge to keep things going in a small town,Ē Romuald said. ďWe had some lucky years where we grew quite a bit. The plumbing business serves a 20 to 25-mile radius of St. Martin.Ē

Employed at Mondloch Inc. are Tom and Joelle Ehresmann, Romuald Ehresmann, LeRoy Hemmesch, Jerome Weber, Jerome Nordmann, Mark Osendorf, and Dennis Maus.

ďWeíve been fortunate in St. Martin, our little city is growing,Ē Romuald said. ďMonitor Tire is expanding into the old Rothstein Implement building down-town, Peltz Manufacturing ships worldwide and the city will soon be getting a new water tower.Ē

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