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lockenEdward Locken came to America from Norway in 1884 and settled in Black River Falls, Wisconsin. As a young boy, Edward was taught the craftsmanship of making shoes. After settling in Black River Falls, Edward opened a shoe store in Downtown Black River Falls in 1884.

In October 1911 a natural disaster happened when the Black River flooded and swelled out of its banks. The Black River re-channeled itself through downtown Black River Falls, washing away most of the store buildings including the land they stood on.

Edward Locken was one of the store merchants who lost it all. Edward quickly started on the road to re-build.

He reopened his store in the basement of the Lutheran Church and conducted business there until the new building was built, which is the building that stands yet today. The building was the second building to be re-built after the flood.

store frontThe building was built as a one-story brick construction with a simple design for that day, but with ornate features such as a beautiful design tin ceiling and maple hard-wood floors. It also was built with the modern features such as electric lights and a state of the art wood/coal burning furnace system.

inside storeEdward continued his shoe store until his death in 1944, when his son, Enoch, took over the business. Enoch Locken continued the business until he retired in 1962, when he sold the business to Gene Dana, who changed the name to Gene's Bootery. The Locken Shoe Store was in business in Black River Falls for 78 years (1884-1962). It remained Gene's Bootery until 1986, when the new owner, Rich Fredrickson moved the business to another building one block down the street. The building served as a shoe store for 74 years (1912-1986). Our store name today was chosen in dedication to the Merchants; Ed & Enoch Locken, Gene Dana and all others who gave us a place in history.

The Merchant General Store is located in an historic 1912 store building. The store building was built in 1912 by Edward Locken for his shoe store, which was the Locken Shoe Store.

BRF Main Street

This photo was taken in the late 1910's of Main Street in Black River Falls from the corner of the Courthouse looking to the east toward the Black River. This building is the second building in on the right side.



Click here to read about the history of Black River Falls

Click here to read about history of "general stores"

Click here to find more photos on Black River Falls History & The Merchant General Store on Facebook

Click here to see & read history on our sister store, Stroll Down Memory Lane



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