Leystra's Venture Restaurant Sauk City Wisconsin

Our Historic Building


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Our Historic Building

Leystra's Building as presented by Lynnea Godfriaux

Multimedia presentation by
Lynnea Godfriaux 2001

This building now housing Leystra's Venture Restaurant was ...

  •  Built before the 1900's by Charles Bohnsack as a wagon shop.
  •  Established as a milk plant by Franz Wyttenbach in the 1940's.
  •  Later opened as an ice cream and cheese shop by Franz.
  •  Remodeled into a restaurant during the 1970's.
  •  Locally owned and operated, established in 1981.
2004 Marked the 150th Anniversary of the Village of Sauk City
The Oldest Incorporated Village in the State of Wisconsin

Bohnsack & Son - Wagon Makers Circa 1895

Mr. Carl Bohnsack (also known as Charles) came to America from Germany in the 1850's with his wife Maria.  Carl was an experienced wagon maker, knowing the art of wheel making, blacksmithing and wagon making.  Mr. Bohnsack occupied the southwest corner of Phillips Boulevard (then called Byrant) and John Adams in 1867.  Bohnsack & Son occupied this building until 1902 at which time the business was sold to Mr. Heussel and Mr. Meyer.

Mr. Bohnsack came from Germany with his wife Maria in 1852.   He built the stone structure here at 200 Phillips Blvd between 1886 and 1888 to house is ever growing business needs.  He built a wooden home for his family next to his wagon making business (still standing but seen veneered with stone today).  In 1895, the last addition was added to the building.  Bohnsack and Son's wagons and buggies were well known for their superior work. Wagon making required a blacksmith, wheelwright and a wagon maker to complete a wagon, buggy or sled.  The blacksmith was needed for the forging of the metal pieces used in a wagon (iron bands).  The blacksmith shop was located in the south end of the building (closest to the current parking lot).  The low windows into the August Derleth room were once an open doorway into the blacksmith shop.  The Wheelwright was needed to create a perfectly rounded, strong, wheel from many small pieces of wood fitted together.  The Wagon maker designed the wagon so that it was strong, yet maneuverable and not too heavy.  The windows on the north side of the building (Phillips blvd.) were once large double doors for entrance into the wagon making shop.  The second story contained the paint shop for the wagons.  Large pulley systems were used to raise and lower sections of the wagon that needed painting.

Bohnsack and Son circa 1898

It is interesting to see that John Adams is still dirt road. It appears that in other pictures from this era that cement sidewalks are being put in the downtown areas. The group of men shown in the picture with the seven horses includes Mr. Bohnsack and Mr. Leinenkugel.

Huessel and Meyer Blacksmith and Wagon Makers Circa 1938

Mr. Huessel and Mr. Meyer purchased the Wagon Making Business in 1902 from Bohnsack and Son.  They were able to keep up with the changing times through the early 1940's.  Autos and gas powered farm machinery were not in full usage until World War II.  Huessel and Meyer kept up by discontinuing making wagons and instead, began repairing wagons and farm machinery.  In 1942 Franz Wyttenbach bought the wagon shop for the West Side Dairy.  He also bought the home next door.  Mr. Meyer continued to do blacksmith work until 1944 at which time he sold his business to another blacksmith, Mr. Bruno Slotty, both of whom continued to work out of what is now the August Derleth room until the late 1940's.

West Side Dairy Circa 1942

Franz Wyttenbach bought milk, pasteurized the milk and delivered it to homes.  The coming of World War II and Badger Ordinance expanded our local markets.  The West Side Dairy expanded with the times.  In 1946 they began to offer homogenized milk.  The Dairy Bar was also added featuring fresh-made cheeses and ice cream.  In the late 1940's Mr. Slotty moved the blacksmithing business to the sight of the Wisconsin Creameries.  Franz Wyttenbach once again expanded his business, moving the bottling works, creating additional storage and building a garage on the west end of the building. 

The above photos are from the collection at Leystra's Venture Restaurant. Come view up to 100 additional local historical photos while enjoying a home style meal.

Leystra's Venture Restaurant Circa 2009

Wi-Fi capability available throughout the restaurant!

Postal address
Gillen Restaurant & Apartments, LLC.
6 Rose Sage Walk
Bluffton, SC 29909


Photo Credits to Down Home Computing, LLC unless otherwise noted.
Copyright © 2001 - 2017. GILLEN RESTAURANT & APARTMENTS, LLC.
Last modified: 01/17/2017