Waterloo in Monroe County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
The Küenster Building
127 South Main
— Waterloo, Monroe Co., Ill., Laid out in 1818 —
He continued his drug business until 1855, when he took a visit back home to Germany. He came back to America in 1856 and from 1857 to 1865, he ran a drug store at his residence and then moved the business to the old Borchert property, which he bought in 1865. In 1871 the building was demolished and the new Hubert Küenster Drug Store building was completed in 1872, perhaps the largest and finest building for business purposes, not only in Waterloo but in Monroe County. This is the building still standing today.
P.A. Hamacher graduated from the St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 1895 and opened his own pharmacy in 1896 in the Küenster building at 127 South Main.
During the prohibition,
Daughter Adele Hamacher married Joseph Sidney (aka Sid) Wightman, who had an accounting degree from the University of Illinois. Sid later graduated from his father-in-law’s alma mater and took over the pharmacy in 1955, the same year P.A. Hamacher bought the Küenster building. P.A. Hamacher and Sid would mix their own chemical compounds by mortar and pestle. Wightman concocted “poison wheat” for farmers to use to kill field mice, which is now no longer allowed to be sold due to its high toxicity.
From the very beginning, the pharmacy used to sell all kinds of home goods: from paint, to varnish, school textbooks and even fireworks. In those times, doctors would often dispense prescriptions from their office or take them along on house calls, so people didn’t have to use a pharmacy for medicine very often. The pharmacy also had a soda fountain open year-round, which made the store a popular local gathering place. The soda fountain was closed in 1948.
Sid & Adele’s son, Tom Wightman, graduated St. Louis College of Pharmacy in 1959 and took over the pharmacy in 1963, with the help of his wife Bernice and his sister Betty, who inherited the building from Adele in 1968.
The family heritage continued on, as Tom and Bernice’s son, Steve also graduated from the St. Louis School of Pharmacy in 1994 and has been running Wightman’s Pharmacy since 1999.
Erected 2013 by City of Waterloo.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • Science & Medicine • Settlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the Illinois, Waterloo Beautification Committee series list. A significant historical month for this entry is May 1852.
Location. 38° 20.12′ N, 90° 9.023′ W. Marker is in Waterloo, Illinois, in Monroe County. Marker is on South Main Street just north of West 3rd Street, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 127 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. A different marker also named The Küenster Building (here, next to this marker); City Hotel (a few steps from this marker); The Wallhaus Building (a few steps from this marker); The Pluth Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Waterloo Municipal Band (within shouting distance of this marker); Monroe County Bicentennial Bandstand (within shouting distance of this marker); The State Bank of Waterloo (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 January 3, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 31, 2019, by Sarah Deutch of Waterloo, Illinois. This page has been viewed 114 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on January 3, 2020, by Sarah Deutch of Waterloo, Illinois. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.