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Dales reliving Culver History

By JAN GARRISON, Special to the Citizen

What was once a combination saloon, bowling alley, billiard hall and haven for "fancy ladies" is now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Dale.       

The Dales bought the old Kreuzberger's Park and Saloon 21-2 ago. known as "Old Brick," it had been converted into an before the Dales apartment complex for two families bought it and before that it was used as a boarding house.

Restoring the house has been the Dales' plan . Mrs. Dale said when they first bought the house they figured it would take five years to restore it and make it comfortable. After two years, they have come a long way.

"We're going to beat the five-year plan; we're getting down to just decorating and some electrical now," Mr. Dale said.

The first major accomplishment the Dales achieved proved to be their first major setback. When they bought the house, there was no heating unit. So they installed a baseboard heating system and started drying the house out, said Mrs. Dale.

"We thought the ceilings were in good condition but when the house dried out, the upstairs ceiling fell in," she said.

They have also had to replace most of the windows . After close inspection, they found many had beebee holes in them or had weathered so badly a person couldn't see through them. All the windows had to be reglazed and caulked.

Doors also proved to be a problem. They are all oversized, and it was impossible to find replacements or storm doors. "You just don't go into Sears and buy one like that," Mr. Dale said. Finally, they had to have special doors made from converted screen doors.

In restoring the house, the Dales have knocked out six walls put in while the house was being used as an apartment building. They have also started stripping the varnish and paint off the old oak wainscotting and woodwork.

Matching the original oak's color was a problem when they put in the stairway to the upstairs, Mr. Dale said.. New oak is white and it took several coats of stain before they got a color similar to the original, he said.

The stairway itself proved to be a major operation which included architectural, drawing and major carpentry work. The family moved out of the house for five weeks while the project was being Mrs. Dale said. done this winter,

The Dales had to replace three walls damaged by water over the years. They discovered the walls' condition while pulling off the old wallpaper, Mr. Dale said. "There must have been 20 layers of paper. I think it was holding the walls together. We'd rip off some paper and a chunk of plaster would be stuck to it," he said.

Mr. Dale said that after putting in some electrical wires, they will lower the ceilings six inches. That will be just enough to cover pipes and wires. "The ceilings will be 11 feet upstairs and 13 downstairs," he added.

Mrs. Dale said after they bought "Old Brick" she dreamed of finding all sorts of treasures in the attic. They were in for a  rude shock, though.

"Harry told me to go up and look in it first. When I got up there I said, `Harry, you know what I found up here?' He said, `What?' I laughed.

The Dales have one advantage. They will never need air-conditioning. The house sits on a hill, and a steady breeze is always with shade trees surrounding the house, the Dales have a huge amount of window space which includes working transoms. "With the breeze blowing and all the window space, we'll never need a air-conditioning," Mr. Another hilltop advantage and having all that window space is the magnificent lake view. In fact, the lake is what brought the Dales here from theChicago suburbs. "We would have never tried this if we didn't love the lake so much," Mrs. Dale said.

The Dales have heard many stories about the house since moving here. One favorite concerns the upstairs being used by ladies of the evening during the 1880's and 1890's while the building was still the original saloon. A back stairway was supposedly built leading to the women's quarters, Mr. Dale said.

Their son once was asked where he lived by an old man, she said. When he told the man, the man's eyes widened "They and he said, used to keep fancy ladies there"' she laughed.

Other stories include the existence of a duck pin alley in the house. Mr. Dale said he has been told the picnic tables in the town park were made from wood which was used in the alleys. Another story concerns a beer garden in the back. Mr. Dale said the design of the structure in back and a solid cement floor makes it look like the garden did exist. Somebody built small apartments on the cement and rented them to fishermen after the tavern was closed. The Dales have taken the structure and turned it into a guest cottage.

A special doorway to the basement proved to be the spot where the beer was taken downstairs and placed in a large tank, Mr. Dale said. The tank was filled with water fed by an artesian well. After the tavern was forced to close, when the town went dry in 1903, the new owners capped the well and diverted the water into the drain which empties into the lake. "It runs all year round, the same temperature... he said.

Mrs. Dale said they have no idea how old the building is, but they know the place was built before 1872 because of the land abstract they have. The place has had several names. They include the original name, Kreuzberger’s Park and Saloon, and Lakeview Place. The name most often used is “Old Brick,” Mrs. Dale said.

There is a pipe which sticks out above the front door where they believe signs were hung. Mr. Dale said after they have the house finished he will hang a sign from it which says, "The Old Brick."

The building's construction is unusual. The walls are more than one foot thick. They consist of three layers of bricks with some air space between each layer. The floor joices, which are two inches by 12 inches thick, are built into the walls, so no supports are needed inside the hou se. The plaster was placed right on to the brick wall, Mr. Dale said. The place is absolutely still, even during the hardest storms, his wife added.

-The Culver Citizen, August 4, 1976