Sherburne History Center

Sherburne History Center
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Friday, March 9, 2018

Following Up On Herman Greupner

After publishing William Greupner’s oral history, a news article the Sherburne County Star News published came to light, providing more details about the business history of Herman Greupner and Greupner Shoes.  The article, published April 5, 1934, provides new insight into the business history of Greupner Shoes, it also gives information regarding the layout of Elk River’s business district.

1894 map of Elk River business district.  Looking
closely Greupner's Shoe Store most likely in the bottom
edge of the map, along State Street.
When Herman Greupner arrived in Elk River, in 1884, he opened his first shop next door to “the Henry Wheaton general store on the north side of the railroad tracks.”  The newspaper reported, in 1885, “W. H. Houlton built a new shop for Mr. Greupner on Princeton Street,” (today Jackson Street) still north of the railroad tracks.

“When my business increased,” the paper quoted Mr. Greupner, “making dress shoes for the best people of Elk River, I moved to a larger place near the post office, where Joe Libby was postmaster.” 

The fire of 1898 destroyed the entire business section of Elk River.  Greupner Shoes opened temporary quarters until Houlton built new space south of the railroad tracks.  Greupner moved into these new quarters in 1901, only to suffer another destructive fire in 1910.  “I had accumulated a very nice stock of goods and tools,” he remembered.  “But after the fire I didn’t have as much as a pegging awl.” 

Again, he rebuilt.  The shop remained in place until his death.  Mr. Greupner died four months later, August 15, 1934.  A series of newspaper reports paid tribute to the business man and his fifty-year history in Elk River. His personal history provides greater understanding of the development of business in Elk River.  

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