Business grew from a 1950s-era vegetable stand
A photo gallery of this Mystery Place is HERE
Vans Antiques, located at N1937 U.S. Highway 14, is just east of County Highway O, Walworth. The Van Dresers have been in this area for some time. John Van Dreser owned this property in the 1930s and operated a variety of businesses from the location, leading up to the present-day antique store. Leon Van Dreser and his sister, Mary, inherited the land from their uncle, John Van Dreser.
Leon was a teacher in Racine. Mary was a teacher at the Brick School, just south of this location. Leon’s son, Jim Sr., went to school for two years at the Brick School. He then went to the Walworth High School. He started attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a short time before entering the service, serving from 1953 to 1955.
When he got out of the service he bought seven acres from his father and started the Green Top Vegetable Stand. Jim Jr. later took over on the vegetable stand. In 1978, he changed the building into an antiques shop.
Back in the 1930s, the Van Dresers ran a gas station at the northeast corner of the intersection of State Highway 14 and County Highway O. At first they sold Standard Oil gas and later it changed to a Shell station.
Jim Jr. said his grandmother had a picture of the cavalry riding past their station -- State Highway 14 used to be a military road.
According to the 1857 plat map, this land originally was owned by Robert Whealdon. In 1873, the owner is listed as N. Hendricks. David Sawyer is the owner in the 1891 plat book. F.A. Webster was listed as property owner of that land in Section 7, town of Walworth in the 1907 book. In 1930, John Van Dreser is shown as the owner.