News: Spencer History – Barber Shops


Surnames: Walker, Davel, Naylor, Ducate, Cole, Siemers, Morin, Seitz, Raabe, Hause, Ingham, Schultz, Richards, Plahtner

Source: Spencer Centennial Book (1874 – 1974)

Early records indicate that William Walker had operated the Palace Barber Shop in December 1883.
In a newspaper of August 1884 we read of a shop belonging to J. H. Naylor and located in part of John Davel's harness shop. He advertises that ladies hair dressing will be done in the latest style and states that work. M. C. Ducate and Art Cole also had shops in the earlier days.

Herman Siemers, an apprentice barber of Marshfield, came to Spencer in 1909, bought the equipment of a Negro barber, and took over his shop which was located near the Joe Morin Recreation Hall across the street from Seitz's Tavern. The following year he bought the building on Clark Street where he carried on his trade until his sudden death in 1958. When he started barbering, a haircut was 25 cents and shaves a dime. A logger could come, in those days, and be scraped clean of a winter's growth for a dime. Scissors were the only hair cutting device, and the shop was lighted with kerosene lamps. In 1922 Mr. Siemers added living quarters to his shop.

In the days when women first began to bob their hair and before we had a Beauty Parlor, his shop was a very busy place, with two chairs in operation. Several of his young apprentices went on to become barbers in their own right, among them Walter and Werner Raabe, Howard Hause, James Ingham, and his own son, Hermit. The Siemers shop was a social center, farmers crowded in on Saturday evenings to await their turn, to gather up and distribute news or predict the outcome of the World Series. After business hours, a group of card sharks sometimes met to play Skat to win a little or lose a little, here, too, small groups of band members would come to get in a little extra practice.

Herman Siemers' death marked the passing of one of Spencer's most civic-minded citizens, one who was always ready to promote anything for the economic or cultural good of the community. He was a talented musician, playing drum, bass horn, and violin in Spencer bands and orchestras; he kept an old upright piano in his shop where he would pound out some tunes in his spare time. His mastery of the tuba contributed a great deal to any bass section in which he played. On a summer still some distance away, would remark, "Listen to Herman Siemers and his big bass horn!"

The shop is now owned by his son, Hermit, of Marshfield, and is presently called "Mr. Richard's and operated by Richard Schultz.

Art Huber began his barber trade in 1928 in a room in back of the Seitz tavern. Later he moved to a shop across the street. In 1936, having purchased the Otto Plahtner store property on Clark Street, he tore down the building and erected a building for a shop and family living quarters. He continues to serve his customers in a shop which throughout the years has had a warm, friendly atmosphere, a place where people do not mind the waiting while they enjoy good fellowship.

Most of the time since Herman Siemers' death, Art has been the only barber in town and the community not only appreciates his fine service but is grateful that his shop is still open for business.



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