Sign uncovered during Port renovation baffles history buffs until a call to California links building to jeweler
Who is E.J. Scherzinger?
That question faced the Port Washington Historical Society when contractors tore off a canopy at the front of its Research Center on Franklin Street Thursday, July 25, and uncovered the name clearly painted above the doorway.
“We can’t figure out who E.J. Scherzinger is,” Society President Jackie Oleson said last week. “We have a little mystery here.”
She looked though the Society’s business files and old phone books and couldn’t find a listing for Scherzinger or the business, Oleson said.
A few people society members talked to said the name “rang a bell,” but they couldn’t place it or the business that once was housed there, she said.
“We’d love to know this little bit of our history,” Oleson said.
Mystery solved — at least a bit of it.
“That was my dad, and it was a jewelry store,” Ruth Edens of Ventura, Calif., told Ozaukee Press Monday. The newspaper tracked Edens down after finding Scherzinger’s obituary online.
Like his father Herman and grandfather German, Edward James Scherzinger was a jeweler and watchmaker by trade, she said.
“He was a great jeweler,” she said.
He was born in Fond du Lac on June 3, 1918, and married Charlotte Galles of Port Washington in 1941. The couple had three children, Ruth Edens, Phillip and Robert.
Scherzinger opened a jewelry store in Port Washington — probably in the early 1940s — but his daughter said she believes he sold it when he entered the Navy.
According to his obituary, Scherzinger served in the Navy for 42 months during World War II before being honorably discharged in 1946.
He and his wife opened a jewelry store in Grafton after that, Edens said.
Prompted by their son’s recurrent bouts with pneumonia every winter, the couple moved to California in 1960, settling in Fillmore.
He and his wife opened Scherzinger Jewelers in Fillmore.
“He had a really nice store out here,” his daughter said, noting people in the area made money in the oil business and could afford fine jewelry. “It was a high-class store.”
Mary Flierl, a member of the Port Washington Historical Society researching the building, said she believes Scherzinger may have moved his store to the Green Bay area before the family moved to California.
Scherzinger retired in 1978, and in 2009 he moved to Ventura to be near his daughter. He died in 2010.
His wife preceded him in death in 1985.
Although the sign is clear as day, it won’t remain so for long. The Society will cover it again as work on the facade continues, Oleson said.
The Society did look into the possibility of removing the sign and adding it to its collection, she said.
“I don’t think we can remove it,” Oleson said. “It looks like it’s been stenciled onto the steel beam (that’s part of the building’s structure.)”
Image Information: CREWS WORKING ON the Port Washington Historical Society’s Resource Center uncovered a sign that read “E.J. Scherzinger” over the doorway of the building at 205 N. Franklin St. last week. Photo by Bill Schanen IV