Shuller's Wigwam (originally called Shuller's Restaurant) was on the NE corner of Hamilton Avenue and North Bend Road in Cincinnati for 78 years from 1922-2000. Max Shuller, a Russian immigrant started the place in 1922 after a few years of selling food from a cart in Downtown Cincinnati.
People from the area have fond memories of the popular College Hill eatery and I found many articles but I was hard-pressed to find many good photos of Shuller's online.
I have a couple of memories of my own.
|inside the Wigwam|
I was very late to the scene but I remember bringing a date here in the mid-1980s as it was the fanciest place I could afford. I kind of wonder now how I even found the place as it was a pretty good distance from West Chester. At age 20 I wasn't hip to nice restaurants so I recall when they brought out the dessert tray, I picked something different than my date because I thought we were limited to the ones on the tray. We had a good laugh about that one. I don't recall thinking of this as an old place at the time.
|Max's son Leo Shuller at the table in the 1960s lounge|
|1920s pre-wigwam original|
The original 1922 building was added on to in 1932. The addition was shaped like a tee-pee and customers thought it looked like a wigwam, so it became Shuller's Wigwam and they just ran with the pseudo-American Indian theme. I wasn't able to locate any pictures of the tee-pee shaped building. There was another Shuller's Restaurant (and motel) on Reading Road in Roselawn in the 1940s. It's possible folks started calling the one on Hamilton Avenue "wigwam" to differentiate between the two. As I understand it, the owners were cousins but the businesses were unaffiliated. If anyone has more info on that, please contact me.
|1954 un-wigwam like remodel|
Inside, from 1954 to 1980 there were several Indian Village murals on the walls that were painted by a woman named Ruth Listerman. It's too bad these weren't preserved somehow. I was able to locate one photo with one in the background.
|interior view with one of|
Listerman's Indian murals visible
|I wish I had a better photo of the menu, but you get the idea|
|1940s Bailey-Walker China, made in Bedford, OH|
|Reagan and a fan at Shuller's|
|Jean Shepard broadcasting from Shuller's|
|matchbooks through the ages|
(Bob Shreve to his left & #13 on the podium)
Every January beginning in 1980 and lasting for about seven years, a shindig was held by The Chopped Liver and Wine Society in celebration of the mediocrity of 13th President Millard Fillmore. They called themselves Fillmorons. Fillmore was from Buffalo, New York. The only President from Cincinnati was mediocre William Howard Taft but I guess they didn't want to offend the prominent Taft family. Also, you don't get to have that funny nickname. The first event was emceed by former Cincinnati Mayor, Channel 5 anchor, and future tabloid talk show host Jerry Springer. It figures.
If anyone has a photo of the actual namesake wigwam building or the sign outside, I'd love to see them! I've already scoured the internet. eBay seems to always have some nice matchbooks from the restaurant's different eras. Also, if you are a geocacher, I placed a cache on the property in September 2016.
UPDATE 6/26/2017: Ken Shuller contacted me and provide a couple of old photos. One is the "wigwam" building and another is the neon sign from the 70s.
|newspaper ad from 1950|
- A Little Piece of Paradise - College Hill, Ohio by Betty Ann Smiddy
- College Hill - Images of America By Gail Deibler Finke
- Historic Restaurants of Cincinnati: The Queen City's Tasty History By Dann Woellert
- Old Photos of Cincinnati
- Cincinnati Enquirer January 2, 1982
- Cincinnati Magazine July 1990
- Cincinnati Magazine May 1987
- Cincinnati Magazine March 1980