“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Waterloo in Monroe County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

The Pluth Building

115, 117 & 119 South Main

— Waterloo, Monroe Co. Ill., Laid Out in 1818 —

The Pluth Building Marker image. Click for full size.
September 29, 2019
1. The Pluth Building Marker
Inscription.  The Pluth Building was originally constructed in 1885 as a two-story building which featured a French-style mansard roof. The roof reached the height of the current building's third floor. Original sketches of the building plans detail the upstairs as mirrored living areas used as apartments, featuring a parlor, bedroom and a kitchen. 119 South Main Street was once the site of the Waterloo House, a hotel in which many travelers stayed and their horses rested. This block was known as the hotel block, on which the well-known Southern Hotel down the street and the City Hotel next door were located. The base of the original building is all that currently stands today.

The first owners were Jacob Pluth and his wife, Anna Pluth nee Berger, who opened up a dry goods store in the split downstairs. Among the items sold, were salt blocks, pecans, blinder twine and worker's clothing. Jacob was known for his sewing machines and Anna for her silks and woolens. When Jacob died in 1912, the property was left solely to Anna. She commissioned the building on December 10, 1920 to two bankers, one of them being Charles (Chas.) Morrison. It was then
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sold to its current owners, Morris Lodge No. 787 - Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, on February 28, 1921 for $11,000. The Morris Lodge bought the Pluth building for the purpose of having a permanent meeting place, as they were alternately meeting at the Ruch Building and the John Pieper Building.

Extensive renovations were needed before the group could move in, as there was no running water or electricity to meet city code requirements. The exterior brick was replaced and a third story, specially crafted as a Masonic Temple, was added in replacement of the mansard roof. The renovations took two years and cost $32,783. A sister group called the Eastern Star, also founded by Robert Morris in 1913, met on the second floor, too.

The Morris Lodge is home to two Revolutionary War treasures. The first was a gavel that had been presented to the lodge on April 13, 1905 by Brother Hugo Rothstein. The gavel was made from a tree which grew over the tomb of George Washington. The second was known as Tyler's Sword. It is believed to have been presented to the lodge by Brother Peter Rogers, the founder of Peterstown. It was the sword his father carried in the Revolutionary War when he was one of the Life Guards for George Washington at Trenton and Valley Forge.

At the same time the Masons moved into 119 South Main Street, the Bersche family, fourth generation
The Pluth Building Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Thomas Smith, December 20, 2019
2. The Pluth Building Marker
watchmakers and jewelers, signed a lease for $75 a month to rent out the north half of the downstairs, 117 South Main Street. Jacob Bersche passed the business on to his son, Fritz Bersche. Fritz was known as a watchmaker and a sewing machine repair man, thus continuing the legacy of Jacob Pluth. The Reime Family bought Bersche's Jewelry Store and renamed it Reime Jewelers. The store was run by Robert Reime and then by his son Scot Reime.

A haberdachery, was opened around 1923 on the south side of the downstairs, 115 South Main Street. August Bodenbach, a tailor as well as the shop owner, remained in the building until the late 1960's when Cal Bode moved in opening a men's clothing store.

In the late 1970's Bode's Men's Wear moved out of 115 South Main Street and Reime Jewelers expanded their business by removing the wall between the north and south halves of the downstairs. Reime Jewelry closed in 2009 when Harriett Reime retired.

Very soon after, the downstairs space was rented to Dolores Guettermen for her quilting shop, Raccoon Hollow Fabrics until she moved her shop to Maeystown in late 2014.

In May 2015, Chris Rahn, and his wife Tammy, leased the bottom floor of the Masonic Lodge to open the Stubborn German Brewing Company.

Researched by Gibault Students Emilia Kueker & Abby Mueller
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2016 by The Waterloo Beautification Committee.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Fraternal or Sororal OrganizationsIndustry & CommerceWar, US RevolutionaryWomen. In addition, it is included in the Illinois, Waterloo Beautification Committee series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1885.
Location. 38° 20.14′ N, 90° 9.028′ W. Marker is in Waterloo, Illinois, in Monroe County. Marker is on South Main street just south of West Mill Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 119 South Main Street, Waterloo IL 62298, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The State Bank of Waterloo (a few steps from this marker); The Wissmath Property (a few steps from this marker); City Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker); The Küenster Building (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named The Küenster Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Commercial State Bank (within shouting distance of this marker); The Wallhaus Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Revolutionary Patriots of Monroe County, Illinois (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Waterloo.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 20, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 30, 2019. This page has been viewed 215 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on September 30, 2019.   2. submitted on December 20, 2019, by Thomas Smith of Waterloo, Ill. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 5, 2023