Mark and Josie Roehrman, owners
201 N. Douglas Ave.
The Ellsworth Antique Mall is in the historic “Wellington building” that was constructed in the 1860s. Mr. Wellington later gutted the building in 1898 leaving the basement and main walls and rebuilt the interior. Structurally, the building is very much the same as it has been for over 100 years, but this century has seen a transformation in the building with the new owners, Mark and Josie Roehrman.
With this as a background, it seems only appropriate that this famous Ellsworth structure serve as the home for two local treasures— the Ellsworth Masonic Lodge dating from 1889 to 2003 and the Ellsworth Underground.
When Mark and Josie Roehrman acquired the building, they slowly started the restoration process to further preserve the building. It began with scrub buckets, coats of fresh paint and removal of over 100 year’s accumulation of “stuff”.
In 2003, they added Ellsworth Espresso coffee bar, UPS in 2005 and Spooners and Maypo’s in 2006 (see “EATS”). The restoration of the Underground has been ongoing since they purchased the building.
The entry floor of the Antique Mall has Ellsworth Espresso, Spooners ice cream bar, Maypo’s Deli, Bears and Buddies, the Christmas Store and the UPS shipping counter. Mark also built two bathrooms for the area and new stairways…one up and two down.
The Roehrmans are not finished. They have more plans — more additions are hidden away in their creative minds.
Beyond that there are 50 to 60 individual vendor stalls containing everything imaginable—collectibles, Depression glass, pinball games, letter openers, shoe horns, dolls, quilts, vintage sewing items, lead vases, jewelry, Mickey Mouse and Christmas items. If you look long and hard, you’ll probably find what you are wanting.
By the entry you’ll find books written by local and area writers that are on consignment, informational brochures and someone to help you find what you want.
In 2003, Mark and Josie started cleaning the basement of the building. I saw it before the clean up and all the rooms were piled ceiling high with “stuff”. It’s a huge area and the enormous accumulation of materials had to be removed. Eventually, Mark got it spic and span and noted all kinds of interesting things. There had been access to the street and to adjacent building basements joining the various parts of the Ellsworth Underground.
There was a bowling lane in the basement with the date “1907” chalked on one wall. There were two other businesses in the basement although no one is sure what they were….except to say they were for men-only. The barber shop, a mainstay of frontier underground services, was in the basement of Seitz Drug Store which adjoins the Antique Mall building.
Mark built a long bar in the basement out of floor joists from the Dryden Hardware building and there are wall murals painted by ECF inmates. It’s a very attractive, rugged frontier kind of area. The Underground is used only on special occasions and by reservation. Josie and Carol Panzer usually prepare all the food to order, but occasionally local caterers bring in specific items. There are luncheons, wedding rehearsal dinners, Christmas parties and meetings for larger groups. It was also a very lively place during the Great American Cattle Drive celebrations and for their Halloween Haunted House and various parties. Their room rental and food prices for their services are very reasonable.
The Masonic Lodge occupied the second floor of the building for over 100 years. I’d like to note here that my husband, two sons, two grandfathers, a great-grandfather and my father-in-law were all Masons in this lodge and left large footprints in those rooms. Much of the grandeur of that period remains and I encourage you to view the rooms to note the ornate woodwork, stages, mural and 1887 Roosevelt organ. The second floor is used for meetings, receptions, organ recitals, and vendor displays. If you have a use in mind for the main room, Josie will make every effort to accommodate you.
The Ellsworth Antique Mall is definitely the place to visit if you are in Ellsworth. If you want to see the Underground, you’ll have to make arrangements for a tour.