Women love a man in uniform

A sailor heads to sea during WW II and a Rochester café gets taken over by the women on the home front.

061422 Lens on History.jpg
Harold Witzke, center, gets ready to fulfill his duty in the U.S. Navy in this photo dated from March 3, 1944. Thurber's Café, seen in the background, was owned by his father.
We are part of The Trust Project.

Every picture tells a story. For the past seven years, I’ve written stories for more than 350 pictures, and for those seven years the story behind this photo had eluded me until now.

A Post Bulletin story dated March 3, 1944, reported that Alfred Witzke, a maintenance worker for 27 years for the Kahler Corporation, was resigning his position. Alfred was entering into a partnership with his son, Harold Witzke, in the ownership and operation of Thurber’s Café located at 19 Second Street SW.

The story stated that the café would be managed by Harold’s wife Lucille and his mother, Eva, after Harold left for his service in the Navy the following week.

Lucille and Eva’s management team must have been successful, for when Harold returned after the war, they teamed up with his brothers Walton and Leonard, and opened the Town House Restaurant in a former livery stable at 15 Second Street SE.

"Lens on History” is a weekly photo feature by Lee Hilgendorf, a volunteer at the History Center of Olmsted County.

What to read next
Highlights of events in 1997, 1972, 1947 and 1922.
For the fifth year, Agweek reporter Mikkel Pates reprises his Flags On Farms feature for Independence Day, featuring flags of the United States on farms and agribusinesses in the region. This year, our featured vignette is from a former grain elevator at Andover, South Dakota, with a 30-by-60 foot U.S. flag painted on it.
Highlights of events in 1997, 1972, 1947 and 1922.
Columnist Dan Conradt says when you're told to ignore the purple elephant in the room, all you see is purple elephants.