Keil’s Jewelry Store

Keil’s Jewelry Store first opened in June 1870 on the south side of the square. William F. Keil, who
trained in watchmaking in Austria, moved to Clinton one day and opened shop the next. The business
changed locations downtown but remained in the family for four generations until it closed in March
2008 following the death of owner C.W. Kemper. The jewelry store moved to this building from the west
side of the square in the 1960s, with Mr. Kemper pushing the store’s safe up the street.
Built-in the 1880s, the building at 135 West Franklin is typical of many in that the ground floor was used
for retail and the upper floor was used for other purposes. At one time, B.G. Phillips Ready-to-Wear
Store sold “shoes, laces, and embroideries, men’s and women’s furnishings, hosiery and underwear” to
its customers at street level. In the upper rooms, the local chapter of the fraternal organization
Woodmen of the World held regular meetings. In addition, the building has been home to a furniture
and casket maker and a grocery store. For a time, a gas station sat on the corner to the west.