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Albert Gufler-a stand up guy

When I was growing up in Emporia, the Gufler Mansion was known as the TKE house-because it was a fraternity house due to the Gufler family selling the mansion to the fraternity many years before. It also was known as the "sugar palace" or by some the "sugar shack". The nick names grew out of a story that Albert monopolized the local sugar market in WWI and through that questionable activity is how he funded the mansion. We have spoken to three of Albert and Mary's grandchildren and two people who personally knew him and asked questions about Albert and the origination of the sugar palace name. The closest we could come to connecting sugar to the mansion is a belief that Albert speculated in a sugar commodity market. The fact that there was a sugar shortage in WWI is true but the mansion was designed in 1914 and built in 1915-1916 with the US not declaring war until April 6, 1917 so funding the mansion with profits from monopolizing sugar during the war doesn't line up. Further interviewing and reading has reveled that Albert was a good business man and well thought of-managing Poehler Mercantile, a wholesale grocery distribution business to over 50 mom and pop corner corner grocery stores in Emporia and many more in the surrounding geography. He built what is now the Poehler Mercantile Antique Mall at 4th and Commercial for $200,000 in 1907 and just happened to have a significant business selling groceries in an area that was growing very quickly and thus was in the right place at the right time. He also was involved in many expansion activities from paving streets, initiating a trolly network, building the Broadview Hotel, starting the Country Club, a founding member of Rotary and I am sure many other activities that have been forgotten along the way. He and his wife were committed to raising their 7 children as productive citizens and from all I have gleaned from my reading, he was truly a stand up guy deserving of a history worth remembering.


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