As the restoration of 402 Milwaukee St. in Kewaunee continues, a worker made a historic discovery last week.

Tom Skubal posted on his Facebook page:

Of all the crazy things, I found another signature in the Selner Building. While taking down the wooden T&G (tongue and groove) ceiling, I found a complete Lathe & plaster ceiling beneath it. Probably a form of fire protection that helped save the building from being destroyed in the 1898 fire that destroyed most of downtown. It was on that hidden layer of ceiling near the original stairway we found a handwritten name. It wasn’t a name of just anyone involved with the building’s construction in 1881 but the handwritten signature of the man who had the building built: J.A. Ballering himself of the J.A. Ballering Shoe & Boot Co.! The signature roughly covers a 16″X39″ area. Talk about unexpected!!

Tom Skubal found J.A. Ballering’s signature as he worked inside 402 Milwaukee St. in Kewaunee.

The downtown building built nearly century and a half ago (on the left above) is in the process of being remade into a modern mixed-use facility. The first floor is already available with 1,086 square feet of tenant space, accessible access, all new plumbing, state of the art HVAC and high speed broadband connectivity.

Originally built for the J.A. Ballering & Co. footwear business, the space offered a bakery and a beauty salon in the early 20th century and then served Selner Plumbing for nearly 90 years.

For more information, visit the “402 Milwaukee Street Kewaunee Wisconsin” page on Facebook.