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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Kate's Brief History


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William and George Knoch in Holland’s 1886 Directory

William and George Knoch were a couple of young go-getters who ran a cigar factory and tobacco shop in town. The Holland’s editor praises William and George, saying “the business having been established three years ago by the former, and has grown to very respectable proportions.” Since William was born in 1864, that would make him barely nineteen in 1883, with George a couple of years older. 

The Knoch family were long-time Naperville residents. Father Christopher was born in Prussia and mother Josephine was born in France, but they were married in DuPage County in 1860. The birth of son George soon followed with five more siblings after him. 

Christopher was a tailor and had a shop on Water Street, now an extension of Chicago Avenue, which is still there today. The small, unassuming building has been empty, on-and-off, for a number of years. Most recently,  Dark Horse Pastries, Sugar Monkey Cupcakes, and Ehrina Yarn have been tenants.

Unfortunately, Christopher died in 1874, just 41 years old. Details on how Josephine supported her young family are difficult to discover, but according to the 1880 census, both George and William were already working. In fact, sixteen-year-old Willliam was a “segar maker.” I haven’t seen a direct confirmation yet, but it’s logical to assume William was working for Charles Schulz who had a long-standing cigar business that is also listed in Holland’s.

When the Holland’s Directory was published, the brothers had been in business three years already, operating out of a building on Water Street, which from the 1886 Sanborn Map looks to be where their father, Christopher, had his tailoring business. Also in 1886, the Naperville Light Guard, the original incarnation of our Municipal Band, had a group photo taken. You can see William in his band uniform with a tuba. His future brother-in-law, Theodore, is also in the photo with a drum and drumsticks. 

George married Gertrude Weismantel in 1890 and they had five children. He continued in the cigar business until after 1900, but by the 1910 census, George was working the Lounge Factory in town. 

William married his fellow bandmember’s sister, Adolphine Boecker, in 1893 and they had seven children together, two of which became nuns. Son Winfred Knoch worked for the family business as a cigar-roller to pay for his education at DePaul University in Chicago. After receiving his law degree, Win served in various county capacities and by 1930, was a judge. He and his wife, Irene, donated the land which became Knoch Knolls Park. 

William continued in the cigar business, although in 1901 he moved to Charles Schultz’s former tobacco store on the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Main Street. That location is also still standing, currently housing Blue Mercury. Previous tenants include Starbucks and Naperville Liquors. 

When Naperville incorporated as a city in 1890, wards were established and William served as a alderman for the Third Ward from 1892 until 1896. He was also a supporter of Naperville’s 1917 Homecoming celebration and the Doughboy statue installation.  

The Jefferson Street location was more than just a tobacco shop. Cigars were rolled in the two-room factory in the back. In the front. men could buy a hand-rolled Havana cigar for a dollar and stay to enjoy it while playing cards with friends. The floor above held a meeting room were groups such as the Independent Order of Oddfellows and similar organizations could gather. 

William passed away in 1931 and Knoch’s Cigar Store and Factory passed with him. If you go to the Naper Settlement Museum, you can see the Punch statue that used to stand outside of his establishment during its heyday. 

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Using Tech for Book Marketing

Don and Kate Gingold


Kate and husband Don have been building websites since 1996 for all sorts of clients, including authors.

As the Internet has evolved, producing books and marketing them has become much more complicated. Whether traditionally-published or self-published, authors today need to know their way around websites, blogging, social media and other online marketing tools.

Kate regularly writes about online marketing for Sprocket Websites and provides tips and techniques for entrepreneurs, small- to medium-business owners and not-for-profit directors. Since being an author today is not really different from being an entrepreneur with a small business, most of those tips are just as useful to authors.

Frequently Kate also writes about tips specific to authors, some of which are available here.

The Sprocket Report

The Sprocket Report is published every other week with Internet marketing tips, tools and techniques. The archive features articles from 2011 up to the present. You are welcome to read how business owners are using technology to market themselves and apply those tips to your author business.


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