A brief history moment…
The popularity of Mrs. Wagner’s Colonial Kitchen reached beyond the borders of Preble County. The restaurant, known for its famous corn fritters and old-fashioned cream pies, welcomed diners from all over the region to taste Emma Gauch Wagner’s home cooking.
Mrs. Wagner, wife of Charles Wagner, began working in the restaurant industry with her brother Anderson Gauch in Monroe Township at the intersection of U.S. Routes 40 and 127. In 1938, she started a tearoom on North Barron Street. The restaurant would move to 122 East Main Street, across from the Preble County Courthouse, where it remained until its closing in 1966.
In addition to owning the restaurant, Mrs. Wagner prepared most of the pastries sold while supervising all the daily operations. It was this attention to detail that helped to get national recognition. The restaurant, along with the cream pie recipe, was listed in volume three of The Ford Treasury of Favorite Recipes from Famous Eating Places, published by the Ford Motor Company in 1959. Duncan Hines rated Mrs. Wagner’s Colonial Kitchen in its top 10 best restaurants in the country in 1954.
It was always a family affair at the Kitchen; throughout the years, many members of Mrs. Wagner’s family would work in the family business. In 1947, Chester “Chet” Wagner, son of Charles and Emma, opened a restaurant called The Whispering Oak Restaurant. Researching a more efficient way of cooking, Chester Wagner developed the Henny Penny Pressure Fryer and the business that produces it, the Henny Penny Corporation of Eaton.
Ruth Wagner Glick, daughter of Charles and Emma, would manage the restaurant with her husband, Harry Glick, in its final years. Emma “Ma” Wagner and her son, Chester, died in 1970.
25 years ago…
Wednesday, Oct. 7, 1998
Public invited as Henny Penny unveils new World Headquarters.
Everything has to come from somewhere. At a restaurant halfway around the world, workers are busy preparing the day’s fare using a variety of food service equipment built right here in Eaton.
In fact, the pressure fryer in that kitchen was originally invented here in the early ‘50s by a local restauranteur who formed a company a few years later to market the product.
Visitors will see manufacturing cells in operation, and the company’s products on display in the new showroom.
50 years ago…
Wednesday, Oct. 7, 1973
Mrs. Sarah Geeting, a teller since her employment in September 1970, at the Eaton National Bank and Trust Company, has been named auditor of the bank by the board of directors.
Mrs. Geeting was a graduate of Eaton High School. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Wheeler, former Eaton residents.
75 years ago…
Wednesday, Oct. 6, 1948
Governor Earl Warren of California, Republican nominee for vice president, waved to the small number of Eatonians as his special train passed through Eaton at 11:35 a.m. today. He was enroute to Richmond, where the train stopped for 15 minutes, and the Governor spoke.
100 years ago…
Wednesday, Oct. 3, 1923
Cincinnati Reds trim locals 9-3
The big exhibition game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Eaton Ball Team became a reality Tuesday afternoon. Since June this event has been looked forward to by the expectant fans as well as the community at large.
This visiting players arrived at 10:19 and were met by a delegation and from the depot they were escorted to the Country Club.
For the first time in her history, Eaton had the opportunity of witnessing a major baseball team play on a local diamond. The Reds finished the attraction defeating the home team 9-3.