Forest Junction began as a crossing of two railroads in the lowland forests of northeastern Calumet County. The village’s storefronts faced the tracks. Among them was the Haese General Merchandise Store, now a museum. Built by a local carpenter for John Otto, the building grew over the years under its subsequent owner, F. G. Haese. Haese added lumber and other building materials to his line of merchandise in 1893, when a national economic depression forced many of his customers in northern Wisconsin lumber camps to pay for their goods in lumber instead of cash. And with the arrival of automobiles, he opened a filling station. But the automobile proved to be his undoing. As cars brought increased mobility, customers began shopping in Appleton and other larger cities.
The building is remarkably intact. On the ground floor, pilasters frame a typical nineteenth-century storefront, which consists of a pair of glazed and paneled double doors with a two-light transom above and, on either side, three-over-three display windows over paneled kick plates. Above this store-front, the clapboard facade rises to form a second story and an imposing false front, with a bracketed parapet and a semicircular pediment. The small attic window below the parapet was added in 1914, but the rectangular sash windows are original. Inside the store, the original furnishings include light fixtures, a wood stove, wooden counters, and built-in cabinets. Haese’s living quarters were in the back.
The Haese store is part of a complex of buildings representing Haese’s family life and his business interests. An annex with a shorter profile is attached to one side. Adjacent to the store is the frame shed that served as a filling station, along with a milk house, a summer kitchen, a carriage house, a granary, a smokehouse, and an outhouse. Across Randolf Street is Haese’s barn, a hardware store and warehouse that he acquired in 1889, and a machine shed, built in 1914, where he displayed his farm implements.