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The Raupp Museum Online Database

History of the General Store

Buffalo Grove Street Photo

Buffalo Grove Street, C. 1909. (General Store on left)

The Weidner General Store in Buffalo Grove was the most important spot in town. It was originally owned by John Weidner and was established in 1860s. Using primary documents, objects, and photographs left behind, a picture of life in Buffalo Grove in 1915 becomes clearer.  

Most families in Buffalo Grove were farmers which meant that they didn't have cash until crops were sold. The store accepted other forms of payment, including eggs and butter. The store was well stocked for a rural town, with items like buttons and soap to chocolate and lemons. 

As the Weidner family grew, the sons of John Weidner expanded the business and built another store in Arlington Heights. The Weidner General Store became Weidner and Sons, Weidner Brothers, and then in the early 1900s it was sold to the Firnbach family and named Frinbach and Raupp General Store. 

The store served many other purposes in town - it was the post office, train ticket office, and even polling place. In 1901, the store installed a telephone. It was the first phone in town so residents had to stop into the store to make a call. 

Explore the Weidner Store through the historical records, objects, and photographs featured in this online exhibit.  Topics are listed on the right, or you can navigate at the bottom.  Learn how to dissect historic documents and how it helps us learn about the families that shopped in the store, what they were buying, and wider historic trends.

History of the General Store