THE HISTORY OF THE BUILDING
Known as the grandest building north of Chicago and a destination for the Milwaukee-based stage coach, Hale's Dry Goods Store opened its doors in 1898 under the ownership of Harry W. Hale. Mr. Hale was an accomplished clerk who began merchandising for himself after he returned to Stoughton where he had lived in his teenage years. The store was known for its high quality carpets, clothing for ladies and gentlemen, and millinery (hat making). Mr. Hale shared his passion for excellence in merchandising with his son, Percy, who took over the store from his dad in 1913.
The legacy of his father continued with great success until the store fell victim to the Great Depression and closed. Schultz Brothers five-and-dime store occupied the building from 1941 to 1963, and Asleson’s Hardware from 1963 to 1998. By 1998 the building was in a state of disrepair. Roof trusses were rotted, floors sagged, much of the original wood work had been removed, and a drop-ceiling installed. The building was in need of a knight in shining armour...or two.
BRINGING IT BACK TO LIFE
Enter Steve Nashold of Stoughton and Rich Sneider of Prairie du Sac. The pair spent three years researching the history and restoring the 1898 Chicago-Commercial style building. In 2002 they opened Catfish River Arts & Antiques in the building.
Sneider rebuilt an entire mezzanine and grand staircase which had been removed. They jacked-up the building, replaced trusses with new footings and steel beams, installed new electrical, heating and cooling systems, uncovered and repaired broken windows, and removed 100 tons of plaster. They brought original light fixtures out of storage and restored the hardware. New dark-stained maple columns and cross beams at the ceiling give the huge first floor room a grand appearance and match that of the original Hale's Dry Goods store as evidenced by the large sky light grid still in place on the second floor. Thanks to their fine work and craftsmanship, much of the beauty and grandeur of the original interior has been revived for all of us to enjoy.
It's name, Chorus, is a tribute to the divinity of music; the name honors my mom & dad, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and music teachers who brought music to my life and do so yet today. The chorus of a song is for everyone to sing ~ so join in and celebrate.