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One of Wilber’s most famous landmarks is the Fox Hole Tavern and it all started back in 1945 when two returning veterans decided to go into business together.
Bill Janda and Charles McManus rented the building from Clara Shestak for $75.00 a month. They then remodeled the place, hiring Dejml & Son to build a new mahogany bar and back bar. The top of the bar has 300 wooden pegs and glue holding the boards together.
Sidney Broz, a teller at the old Wilber State Bank, gave it the name Fox Hole, which has remained all these years. It was not named after a fox’s den but one of those foxholes soldiers dug during the war. Each returning veteran was given his first drink free. In the good old days draft beer was 5 to10¢ a glass, whiskey was 20¢ for a 1 oz shot, and you could get a good cigar for a nickel.
Business was good and enough money was made off the jukebox and other machines to pay the rent and utilities with money left over.
Tom Collins mixed drinks were the house specialty at this time and Bill remembers mixing up 40 or 50 of them at a time on a busy night. After trying several breweries, Pabst Blue Ribbon became the beer of choice at the Fox Hole.
Fox Hole has been here a long time, through good times and bad, tragedy and celebration. It has almost disappeared several times, but it still remains. It all started
with two ex-G.I.'s said "Let's go into business together" and a bank teller suggesting "Call it the Fox Hole, returning veterans would like that."