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‘Judge’ Buehler’s Grocery Store

This photo, taken in about 1906, shows the grocery store of John “Judge” Buehler on the corner of McHenry Avenue and Virginia Street in Crystal Lake. It was known at the time as “Buehler’s Corner.”

Buehler was born in 1851 in Germany. He was orphaned at age 10 by the death of his parents and apprenticed to a shoemaker. At age 17 he set out for America. He lived in New York, Chicago, and Algonquin and finally settled in Crystal Lake in about 1870. He opened a small grocery business, and then gradually expanded into a general merchandise and hardware operation.

In 1889 he added an insurance business and in 1900 a real estate operation. He remained at that location many years.

Although having little formal education himself, he was very active in promoting civic and education advancement. He served on the town board for 15 years, was Justice of the Peace for 30 years (earning the name “Judge”), helped in the building of three new schoolhouses and organized the first German language Sunday School.

John Buehler died in 1927.

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