Harbor Fish Market & Grille started it’s long career with completion of the buildings in 1908. It was known as Schram’s and for many years it was the tallest building in Door County. August Schram built the large building, which served as a tavern and dance hall. The attached building was the two floored residence. August married a a local girl, Martha Kaczmarek in 1909 and they lived on the premises. The upstairs of the dance hall was used for storage at this time. August passed away in 1917 from an infected tooth which led to blood poisoning.
August was the son of Martin Schram Sr. and Paulin Fons. They lived in the Polish Settlement on County Road E. Martin Schram was from Krucz, Posem, Poland. Pauline came from Poland also near the German Border. She had been a governess and spoke several languages. They married in 1878 At St. Mary’s in Baileys Harbor. They were actually charter members of the church along with Martha’s grandparents, Theodore and Josephine Zak. She was the daughter of Samuel and Theodora Zak Kaczmarek. Some of the Kaczmarek’s still live on the family farm on County Road E.
When he died in 1917, August left behind his widow Martha, and four children: Leon, Angie, Lucille, and Dorothy. In 1920, Martha married Jack Wasserbach and they had one more child, Lloyd Wasserbach. After marriage, Martha opened up the ice cream parlor in the smaller building. In the dance hall, there were masquerade dances and dances given by the art school students from Schook’s Art School in Frogtown. Movies were also shown every Sunday and were handled by Arthur Brungraber from Jacksonport. Whole families would come to the dances and the children would sleep upstairs while the adults danced. Martha would cook dinner for the dance orchestras then breakfast as they would stay overnight.
In the ice cream parlor, cones were 5 cents, sundaes 15 cents. In the 40’s and 50’s they had movies and dances in the hall and there was roller skating on Sunday’s. The little room next to the bar was a cooler and storeroom. In the 1940’s there was a slot machine in the tavern as well. There was a big barn in back and people boarded horses there to ride. Martha Schram Wasserbach died in December, 1963 and Jack died a month before in November, 1963. The building was sold to Harold and Dolores Kiehnau in 1964 for $25,000.00.
In the late 1960’s the building was sold to Peter & Mary Charles, and became known as the Frontier Saloon. In 1998, Carl & Karen Berndt purchased the building and opened Harbor Fish Market & Grille in 1999. In June 2022, Scott & Sarah Bennett purchased the building and will continue operating the Harbor Fish Market & Grille.
-Information courtesy of Shirley Schram Schloss, granddaughter of August