Preserving the family store
Their great grandfather Henry Kneisel used to sell Dr. Hamers High Altitude and Dry Climate Home Cures. Today they feature Colorado-made products including jams, syrups, sauces and gift foods.
Dr. LeGear’s Heave and Cough Remedy for horses was a modest seller, after Emil Anderson became partners with Kneisel, along with Scandinavian cheeses for the miners most of whom came from Norway, Denmark and Sweden. The demand for Heave and Cough Remedy is gone but not the demand for Scandinavian specialties. Lovers of Scandinavian foods come to the store every time they are anywhere near Georgetown.
On a shelf behind the cheese counter sits an old delivery container painted with “Kneisel and Anderson, Staple and Fancy Groceries, Georgetown, Colorado.” Wendy and Coralue have preserved everything in the original store, a major undertaking and a large part of why ‘”heritage tourism” continues to draw visitors to Georgetown. “Don’t you ever get rid of these old items or antiques,” their dad, Henry Kneisel Anderson repeated often.
“That’s why we still have the store; to maintain the heritage,” commented Coralue who will often show interested visitors artifacts such as 150-year-old tea canisters from Japan, an original EverReady battery display and unopened boxes of Fairbank’s Gold Dust Washing Powder or Eureka Harness Oil. “Georgetown is one of the few mining towns that never burned. I think people come here to get a feeling of what life was like during the mining days,” commented Coralue.
They grew up sweeping the floors, stocking shelves, making deliveries. Even though Coralue taught school for 33 years in varous school districts in Colorado, California and Oregon, she would often work in the store.
Both still live in Georgetown. Wendy, who married her Georgetown high school sweetheart, lives in and continues the work of preservation on the original Victorian family home, the kitchen structure of which is the original log cabin from the 1860s. Wendy taught Swedish at the University of Washington. When their father passed away in 1993, the two came together again to run the store. Wendy pauses for a moment to write down a list of items a local customer has selected.
“We still have credit slips for the locals,” she explains. “We always have. Before I-70 was completed in the early 1970s, we used to make deliveries here, Silver Plume and Empire twice a day. We would call ahead to see who needed what and many people used the charge slips.”
Kneisel and Anderson is not only the oldest store in Georgetown but also one of the oldest continually-owned family-operated stores in Colorado. It was started by the Guanella Brothers. Henry Kneisel worked as a baker for the Guanellas and later bought the business.
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