Brunke Cigar Factory

The Brunke Cigar Factory was built in 1881 and was one of 5 cigar factories operating in Mayville around the turn of the century

Many of the cigar factory’s original fixtures and equipment are on display, as well as a barber shop and a radio and TV exhibit.

Franz Brunke was born in Zecherick, Brandenburg, Germany in 1853. He came with his family to the United States in 1867, and they settled in Hustisford, where the father was a shoemaker. At age 17, Franz went to Milwaukee and spent four years learning the cigar trade.

He came to Mayville in 1874 and set up a cigarmaking business on Horicon Street. In 1885, he set up his factory at 217 Bridge Street. Two sons, Edwin and Walter, became involved in the business, and Edwin became the owner in 1928. Walter left the factory in 1930, and Franz died in 1935.

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Edwin continued making cigars until shortly before his death in 1956. Maysteel Corporation eventually purchased the building for use as an employment office. The structure was moved to the Mayville Historical Society grounds in 1978.