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September 2003

Vol. 2 Issue 9

Old-time Saloon is 'more like a club now'

Pat Vander Velden
Oshkosh Daily Northwestern
Nov. 11-12, 1978

"It's more like a club now."

With that short statement Jacob Steckbauer, 89, began a rambling history of Steckbauer's bar, candy store and house located at 760 W. Sixth Ave., Oshkosh.

The tavern ("they were called saloons in those days") was built in 1891. It had a grocery store in the front of the building.

"Where the partition is now, there used to be swinging doors between the bar and the grocery store," Steckbauer said.

Steckbauer precedes each sentence with the phrase, "In those days,' and finishes by saying, "You know." He doesn't need much prompting to begin a long-winded oration of the past. He is more a part of his past than he is of the present.

Friends, relatives, the mailman and old-timers come and go freely through the back door entrance to Steckbauer's saloon, and keep Steckbauer company.

Except for the wall that separates the barroom and grocery store, the inside is basically the same it was in the "Gay Nineties." But the grocery store has the appearance of neglect. What remains of wall shelving is dusty and cluttered with antiques. Some might call it junk. Dozens of potted geraniums are scattered in the front window sill and on top of empty crates.

We used to have a dance hall upstairs with dances on Saturdays. The Germans used to have a last dance before Lent. You know the way they dance up and down. We had to put a timber in the tavern ceiling so the floor wouldn't collapse."

In those days there was a beer garden and band stand behind the building. 

'Near Labor Day all the politicians used to come in here. Even Mayor McHenry used to come in. All the women liked him."

Steckbauer's own recollection of "those days" borders on fact and fantasy. He stretches the truth the way a candy maker pulls taffy.

Above the doorway that leads from the tavern into the house are two pictures of two men: They have almost identical features - bald, furrowed brows, beer barrel bodies. One man holds a beer stein in his left hand. He is Steckbauer's father. The other man is dressed in pontifical robes. He is Pope John XXIII.

A German bartender and an Italian pope. 

"I tell everybody they're twin brothers," Steckbauer said.

The back bar of the saloon has a square center mirror. Two wooden carved Doric columns flank the mirror. Two oval mirrors are set into the wood on the ends of the bar. A lone ceiling fan hangs from the scrolled tin plate ceiling.

Outdated calendars, beer posters and photographs of the Steckbauer brothers' baseball team are hanging randomly on the walls. 

There is an old floor model Coca-Cola cooler with a wooden top, sitting alongside the bar. When asked to verify how old the cooler was, Steckbauer said, "Oh that's still young yet. It was installed in the ????."

My copy of the article cut off the date, sorry.


More links for the Bayerischewalde

Bike touring in the Bavarian and Bohemian Forests. With many wonderful pictures.
I will help you with one set and then enjoy.

Click on Radeln on the right and then click the mehr button in tour number two. Then click the heir button for the photos. This tour follows the Schwarzenberg Canal.

Open Air Museum in Lower Bavaria.

Similar to Old World Wisconsin.



By Charles Nigl

The first ever Nigl Family Fest 2003 is now history. Aug. 17th was a beautiful Sunday
morning. The event began at St. Vincent's Church at the 9:30 mass. Fr. Vanden Kreek
had all the Nigl family members rise, and he gave a special blessing to the
family, which has been attending St. Vincent's for 125 yrs, the year 2003 being the special anniversary
year of the Nigl Family association with St. Vincent's.
Over 300 people were in attendance, a little less than half of those invited. But still a good turn-out.
 All the branches of the family were represented, those who came from
Bavaria, and those who came from Bohemia. We have also received word from a
Manfred Niegl, who is related, and was born in Rumania. His father Karl left
Schattawa after WWI and moved to Rumania. Finally in 1973 , Manfred was able to get himself and his family back to Germany. Three family members from Germany attended, Waltraud Nigl of Munich, Germany, Steffi Bauer, also of Munich, and Eva Fischer of Austria.
 Thanks to the efforts of Waltraud Nigl, who brought an excellent map from Germany,
we were able to locate Schattawa, which was only 9 km as the crow flies from
Bischofsreut. Also on this map, were Schonau, and Salnau, Kushwarda, Neutal,
Obermoldau etc. None of these villages are more than 9 km from
Bischofsreut, which really surprised me, but of course Schonau and Salnau are separated by a huge water
reservoir , which lies between Bischofsreut and these villages.
On the map, was also a town called Salzer, which was a little south of
Schattawa, which I did not realize even had existed.
 At the Re-Union, it was brought up that in 2005, the 300th birthday of Bischofreut will be
celebrated, on or about Oct. 21, 2005. The importance of Bischofsreut, even to those, in
Oshkosh, whose families came from Bohemia, was that this was the nearest Catholic
parish for many years in the border area, between Bavaria and Bohemia, and many
families from Bohemia walked to Bischofsreut every Sunday to attend Mass, this fact
was relayed to me by William Mauritz, who as a child lived in Neutal. He remembered
crossing a branch of the Danube river to get to Mass, this was in the years of the late
1890s. He also remembered that the Poeschl family put a new wood shingle roof on the
church in Bischofsreut before they came to America.

The Planning Committee for the Nigl Family Re-Union were, Tom Nigl, Pat Nigl, Marcus
Nigl, Gary Luther, Betty Fried, Judith Felker, Mildred Nigl, Helen Nigl, Robert Nigl, Otto
Nigl, Charles Nigl, and Waltraud Nigl. The Registration packet, included a meal ticket, a questionnaire to update family information, and a color coded name tag to identify which branch of the family each person belonged to. The people from Germany were impressed with the great turn out. It was
originally the idea of Waltraud Nigl of Munich to organize this event. At
first she planned to have the event in Germany, but when she learned of
the large number of Nigl Family members here in the U.S., it was decided to
hold the first ever event here in Oshkosh.
At the Re-Union, there were games for children of different age
groups, with prizes given out to the winners.
 There was a 21 foot long family tree chart, which showed how most of
the Nigls in Oshkosh were related going back to 1648, to our common ancestor Ulrich Nigl of
Hauzenberg, Bavaria. There were maps of the border region of
Bavaria, Bohemia,  Austria, and the Dreisessel area. Many people brought old photographs, which
were placed on bulletin boards for others to view.

The registration committee 


Contact: Peter Kinderman
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