Joseph Weibel's Tavern ends its reign at St. Mary's Ridge
March 17, 2021
Joseph Weibel, Sr. moved to Monroe County in 1866 where he had a saloon and farm, across the road for the church. After the death of his wife, Katherine Kast on May 16, 1873, he married Maria Steidel, on Feb. 7, 1880 at St. Mary's Ridge.
The small settlement of the saloon, blacksmith shop, post office and store, together with the church and school, formed a nucleus of the community where people gathered, to worship, play cards, visit with their neighbors, and relax from the labors of the day.
Over the tavern was a dance hall and on Friday and Saturday nights there was usually a dance, and since this was a mostly German community it is likely the music of choice was polkas and waltzes.
The building remained a tavern for many years as it changed hands, although the upstairs dance hall had been converted to living quarters when it was Bill Mlsna's Tavern.
The long history of the Joseph Weibel's saloon, located just a few steps across County Highway U from St. Mary's Catholic Church, ended just a few days ago. John F. Kennedy is said to have bought a round of drinks at St. Mary's Ridge Tavern during a presidential campaign tour. Melvin Schmitz oversaw the last chapter of the once glorious building as it fell beneath the weight of heavy and was eventually reduced to ashes. Melvin and Sandy currently own the property.
St. Mary's Ridge Tavern is the latest in the vanishing historical buildings of the ridge. At one time there were several buildings associated with the church, including a convent. Two school buildings, a post office and a blacksmith shop were also port of the small community hub.