Goff McIntosh (from left), John Schoenknecht and Jane McIntosh
Seel posed for a photo at a recent book signing event.
From the railroaders of the 1890s, to
the Spring City tourists of the 1920s, and onto the women of the home
front during World War II, customers at Goff’s restaurant span an
important part of Waukesha history.
To capture that history, Charlie Goff
McIntosh and Jane McIntosh Seel wrote "Growing Up at Goff’s."
McIntosh says the book is the story of
downtown Waukesha’s best restaurant from the early 1890s until 1960.
"It really ties to the history of
the town," says McIntosh, 72, who now lives in Gambrills, Md.
"It’s a real positive story. It’s for anybody who wants to
get a feel of life in Waukesha through the 1960s."
McIntosh says his grandfather Chet Goff
opened the restaurant in 1893 near the intersection of Clinton Street
and Wisconsin Avenue, where Mama Mia Italian Cuisine is now.
Goff built a dining room after 1905 to
expand the restaurant, McIntosh says.
"He was a hands-on type
manager," McIntosh says of his grandfather. "He had a strict
code of conduct."
McIntosh says railroaders were the
customers in the early days of operation, but as time wore on patrons
were more likely to be Carroll College students or tourists coming to
Waukesha to visits its famous springs.
McIntosh says the restaurant was linked
to typhoid in the mid 1920s but managed to maintain its customer base.
"It was so well thought of and
such a good restaurant, that it just survived," McIntosh says.
McIntosh says many of the patrons
included local dignitaries. Some of the employees there ended up being
"Dennis Morgan worked there,"
McIntosh says of the actor, who starred in films during the 1940s and
’50s. "He was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood in his
McIntosh says that’s what he loved
about growing up at Goff’s. He loved meeting all the interesting
"The restaurant was my
family," McIntosh says. "I learned everything there. It’s
where I grew up."
"Growing Up at Goff’s" is
available in the gift shop of the Waukesha County Historical Society
and Museum. All proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to