A new mural on the wall of Schatzlein Saddle Shop offers a glimpse of life in the early 1900s, when the family-owned shop got its start.
“People say, ‘What’s a saddle shop doing on Lake Street?’ Well, we were here first,” said Peggy Schatzlein. “There was no reason to move.”
Mural artist Jason Najarak depicts the “Ice Man” delivering blocks of ice for customers to store in ice boxes. A grocer lists the daily price of food on a storefront. Naturally, horses are prevalent in the Lake Street scene. There is a horse-drawn street-cleaning wagon, a horse-drawn milk cart, and a horse-drawn streetcar.
The Schatzlein shop is also featured in the mural, offering leather goods, dog muzzles and gun case repairs. Founder Emil Schatzlein completed a saddle and harness apprenticeship in Germany at age 14, moved to America before age 17, and started the Lake Street shop in 1907. Six family members still work in the store today, including a third-generation leather craftsman.
On a recent weekday, staff cleaned saddles and helped customers from as far as Ireland. They said Schatzlein is a destination for horse owners, but others also shop for jeans or prep for country music concerts. The store started carrying “shrink to fit” Levis in 1958, and it still does.
“You don’t need a horse to wear a boot or Levis,” Schatzlein said.
The store is holding an open house on Saturday, June 20. Historians will describe the history of the area, and Lake Wine & Spirits will provide a beer and wine tasting across the street. Residents who lived in the neighborhood long ago will share stories of old Lake Street shops. The event runs from 1-4 p.m. in the store’s parking lot at 419 W. Lake St.