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THE GRULKE HARDWARE  STORE
297 N. 3rd. St

   Phone: (989) 734 - 2909   

WALKING INTO THIS STORE IS LIKE TAKING A STEP BACK IN TIME
STOP IN AND VISIT HISTORY

Located on Main St. across from the courthouse, the Grulke Hardware Store is in what may well be the oldest in-use commercial building in downtown Rogers City - the former Larke building - better known as Larke's Drug Store. The building is pretty much the same today as it was when it was the Drug Store. Knob and tube wiring is still evident in places, the wood floor still squeaks, the window display cases have hardwood floors and the ornate ceiling remains the same - click HERE - to view.
The building was probably built somewhere between 1872 to 1888. This estimate is based on ads which ran in the Presque Isle Advance and an ad found in a 1947 Rogers City phone book (Click HERE to see the ad). The phone directory ad said that Larke's had been serving the community for over 75 years. The question is - out of what location?

In February 1886 the Advance listed an ad for "The Corner Store".
In June 1886 the ad changed to "Larke's Corner Store" and in November of 1888, the ad was again changed and became "Larke's Corner Drug Store".

Larke's Drug Store had a "magic" machine (at least for a little boy). This thing buzzed, shot sparks and sent out a flame to light your cigar. My dad would buy cigars from Larke's and I would push the lever to make it arc and light the wick. The old man behind the counter would give me dirty looks when I did it too much since I obviously wasn't lighting cigars - but he never said a word since my dad was buying their cigars. I never understood why he'd glare at me, but I do now. The cigar lighter operated on 6 volt batteries, which had to be replaced, and had a canister that had to be refilled with gasoline.
The original magic machine disappeared from Larke's when it became Grulke's but, if you'll click HERE, you'll see an identical magic machine and the operating instructions.

Larke's stayed in business until sometime in the 60's and about that time "urban renewal" came to visit Rogers City.

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According to the Merriam-Webster ONLINE Dictionary, urban renewal is:
a construction program to replace or restore substandard buildings in an urban area
"Substandard buildings"
?  Beautiful old buildings is what they were. It was not a popular program and many people in Rogers City still refer to urban renewal as "urban removal" (and that's one of the nicer terms).
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One building that fell during urban renewal, was the Krueger Hardware Store located on main St. at the N.E. corner of the traffic signal.
Irvin Grulke started working there when he was 14 years old and continued until urban renewal took down the Hardware store and took away his job.

The Larke Drug Store building was available so Irv purchased that property in 1970 and converted it to a Hardware store. Irv stayed in the hardware business for about 70 years (minus a few years for military service) and turned the business over to his sons Neil and Dave who continue to run the store.