The History of "The Buechner Building"
132 E. Main Street, Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin
In 1922, Fred Luder Jr. began construction on The Strand Theater at 132 E. Main
Street in downtown Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin. The construction of the commercial
vernacular brick building ceased at the death of Mr. Luder in 1924.
The oldest known surviving license plate belonged to Mr. Luder and his two-
passenger Cadillac Runabout. You can find more information regarding this
here through the Wisconsin Historical Society’s website.
In 1928, Joseph B. Buechner purchased the property and completed the
theater. The second story displayed the Mediterranean Revival style and
included a ballroom and residential apartment. Mr. Buechner opened the
theater on March 9, 1929, and it is reported the completion of the building cost
The theater changed ownership several times during The Great Depression. In
1940, Floyd Albert purchased the property and he operated the theater until it
closed in 1969. In its heyday, the theater ran two to three shows nightly with the
price of $.35 to $.50 to see a show. The Strand advertised itself as being “In
the Heart of America’s Dairyland” and offered some of history’s legendary films
such as Gone With The Wind and King Kong. This photo shows the theater
featuring Old Yeller.
After the theater closed in 1969, the structure at 132 E. Main Street served many
purposes over the years. Two local churches, Immanuel Lutheran and
Evangelical Lutheran, held services there while their own new buildings were
being constructed. Other local merchants that utilized the location were Country
Crafts, Burns Photography Studio, Witchery Stitchery, Elegant Bridal, Village
Clothing Store, and Milady Beauty Salon, just to name a few.
Wally Keller, who also had purchased the building at one time, did extensive
remodeling for his own antique business and several other businesses. His
antique tool display is now featured at the Duluth Trading Store located just
down the street at 100 W. Main.
In 1990, Thomas Wilkins opened Isaac’s Soaps in a portion of the building that
was at that time owned by Robert Sweeney. The larger portion of the building
was rented as an antique store. That business dissolved by the way of auction
and Mr. Sweeney listed the building for sale. Mr. Wilkins purchased the entire
building in July 1995 and opened the antique store, Isaac’s Antiques.
The name “Isaac” is a family name passed down from his grandfather, Isaac
Halverson, who also resided in the Mt. Horeb area.
The building at 132 E. Main Street, which can still be identified by the name
“BUECHNER” lettered on the building, currently contains the following shops:
Isaac’s Antiques and Isaac’s Soaps on the main level, The Nearly New Shop and
J.V. Collectibles on the lower level and an art gallery on the third floor.
Open seven days a week, stop by Isaac’s to spend some time going back in
|Fred Luder Jr. and his Cadillac
Photo credit: WISCONSIN HISTORICAL SOCIETY