Toulon – A while back during some remodeling at the Leezer Insurance Agency in Toulon, John Leezer came across a sign in his basement that simply stated Sanitary Coffee Shop. This immediately raised many questions such as: Was there an unsanitary coffee shop in town?, When was this?, and Why is it in the basement at the Leezer Agency?
Local historian Don Schmidt, of Toulon, was able to provide some answers through his research.
The building in which the Leezer Insurance Agency is presently (2017) located was owned in the early 1920s by Horace A. Churchill.
Ads announced, John Coakley opened the Sanitary Coffee Shop in the basement under Churchill & Son’s Store on October 29, 1921. John Coakley was the son-in-law of H. A. Churchill. Coakley married Fern Churchill January 18, 1917, in Toulon.
By January 1923, John Coakley was living in Galesburg. The deduction is that the Sanitary Coffee Shop remained open little more than a year, if that long. An ad in The Stark County News from Wednesday, October 26, 1921 reads:
Sanitary Coffee Shop Short Orders- Home Cooking. Pure food, home cooked and served in our pure white dining room will appeal to all. Give us a trial. Under H.A. Churchill’s Store. John Coakley Proprietor.
John Cover remembers that Don Allen had a dry goods store in that building later. Some additional ads found in The Stark County News from businesses that were in the “Churchill” building are:
Wednesday, August 27, 1952; Allen’s Dry Goods & Variety Store where Girls’ wool cardigan sweaters sold for $2.98 and Boys’ shirts sold for $1.98. Winter jackets could also be purchased on a lay-away plan.
Wednesday, September 13, 1961; Macy’s Department Store (formerly Crist’s Clothing & Dry Goods) boys and girls P.E. shoes as well as Kedettes for Women – $2.00, Men – $3.99, Boys & Girls – $1.99.
Wednesday, January 17, 1964; Durbin Hardware advertised anniversary gifts, hand-painted plates, planters and other novelty selections.
Wednesday, February 28, 1968; Ed Beach of Toulon has leased the Churchill Building with the purpose of establishing a Coast to Coast Hardware Store. To be opened as soon as alterations to the building are completed.
Thursday, December 13, 1979; The Coast to Coast Store ad showed the business proprietor as Lawrence & Laura Schroeder.
Stop in and see the sign on display in the Leezer Insurance Agency on Main Street in Toulon. I bet you can still get a sanitary cup of coffee.