Monday, April 15, 2013
Seventh and Mankato
"Seventh and Mankato."So it said on the back of one of the photos I scanned at the Polish Museum last month. Right below this inscription was a note saying the building - whatever it was had been razed to make way for Washington-Kosciuszko Elementary School. An typical brick building in East End Winona, with some typical looking East End Kashubian Poles standing in front of it. No indication of what sort of building it was, or when the picture was taken. Probably sometime around the turn of the century. But even "typical" scenes are precious to me, so I marked this one for further inquiry. Typing the search string "Seventh and Mankato" into the Winona Newspaper Project's search tool quickly yielded the answer I was looking for.
This building was a combination of saloon and grocery store established in 1884 at 351-353 Mankato Avenue by Teofil Jakob Sikorski (1840-1913), an immigrant from Bytow. He features prominently in Winona newspapers of the time as "Teefel," "Jacob," "Theodore," or just plain "T.J." Sikorski; his obituary is at right. Getting back to the picture, 351 Mankato (the door at right) is clearly the grocery and 353 Mankato is the saloon. On either side of the saloon door are signs advertising Bub's Beer, a famous Winona product. I should mention that the combination of saloon and grocery was not particularly odd on Winona's East End, although the grocery seems to have been closed down when Sikorski sold the tavern to Erick Lubinski in 1898.
But the Hot Fish Shop had not always operated in the shadow of Sugar Loaf. The original Hot Fish Shop opened its doors in the former Sikorski saloon either on Christmas Day or on New Year's Eve 1931. When the time came to build the new Washington-Kosciuszko School in 1934, the Hot Fish Shop was one of a number of buildings condemned to make room. It closed on August 4, 1934 and reopened in its brand new facility on December 26th of that year. The picture at right is pretty much how I remembered it. When I was a kid, passing the Hot Fish Shop meant that we had finally, finally, made it to Winona. Actually eating at the Hot Fish Shop was something Mom and Dad and our aunts and uncles did, on special occasions. I'll never forget how impressed I was when I finally, finally, got to eat there. Or how depressed I was when it closed for good in 1999. There is a Dairy Queen on the site now. Progress.