Seeing and studying old picture postcards is always fun. They give us a glimpse of how things looked years ago; what and where the stores were and how people got around. Chattanooga picture postcards are hard to find but postcards from Willshire are a little more common.
Above is a nice picture postcard of Decatur Street in Willshire, postmarked December 1910, sent to Mr. W.G. Kennedy, 380 Reed Ave, Marion, Ohio. No zip codes back then!
The 3-story brick building to the right was Fred Althoen’s shoe and boot store. Apparently he sold only shoes and boots. Fred had three signs to advertise his shoes–the large sign on the building: PETERS’ SHOES; the sign on the awning: FRED ALTHOEN, SELZ SHOES, Chicago; and the sign leaning under the ground-floor window, FRED ALTHOEN, BOOTS & SHOES. I assume Fred owned and operated this store. And I assume the spelling on the signs is correct, although I have also seen this name spelled Altheon.There is a nice-looking dog laying in front of sign under the window and some men standing in the shadows.
Looking on down the street I can make out a few more business, as written on the tattered awnings. Next door to Althoen Shoes is FURNISHINGS with what appears to be CARDS printed on top. The next awning appears to be CLOTHING. I can’t make out the words on the next 2 awnings but an awning displaying GROCERIES is folded up against the building.
I believe the final 2 awnings are UNDERTAKER and FURNITURE. I compared it to the photo below of Buchanan’s furniture and undertaking service. The frame house to the left looks the same on both photos, as does do the awnings.
I am not sure which side of the street we are looking at, but I am guessing the west side. The street looks unpaved and rough and there are a lot of telephone poles. The horses are moving, so the wagon is a little blurry.
Willshire had a big fire in June 1908, so depending where the fire was and what it destroyed, these may have been new brick buildings.
In 1910, Fred Althoen, age 24, was living in Willshire with his parents Henry and Anna E. Althoen. Henry and Anna had been married 44 years and three of their eight children were still living. Henry Althoen, age 70, was born in Germany and immigrated in 1856. Anna, age 67, and son Fred were born in Ohio. Fred was a shoe merchant and his father Henry’s occupation was own income. They owned their home on Wolcott Street in Willshire.  I also noticed that Henry Althoen (1839-1912) served in the Civil War.
I have an update on another Willshire-area photo, the Spitler Grocery huckster truck photo that I posted a few weeks back. I heard from a very reliable source [a family member] that the man sitting behind the wheel in the huckster truck is Vernon Hoblet. She did not believe that Vernon ever worked at the Spitler Grocery but was just sitting in the truck. The huckster truck was parked in front of his parents’ home [William and Ada Hoblet], which was located on State Route 49, south of the Van Wert-Mercer County Line, just south of the curves. The house was destroyed in the Palm Sunday tornado. The woman standing in the back was likely his mother Ada Hoblet.
Thanks to everyone who helps identify these photos!
 1910 U. S. Census, Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, ED 114, p.11A, dwelling/family 49, Henry Altheon; Ancestry.com (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?htx=List&dbid=7884&offerid=0%3a7858%3a0 : viewed 25 Jul 2018).