By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Moments in Time: Archie Myers
Archie Myers (Times photo: Anthony Wahl)

Moments in Time

Editor's note: Today we debut a weekly feature highlighting recollections of area residents as a way to document and share our local history.

To suggest someone to feature in Moments in Time, please contact Mary Jane Grenzow, editor, at

MONROE - He ran Monroe's signature retail cheese store for 46 years, but Archie Myers is hardly tired of his favorite food.

"Oh, I still eat a lot of cheese," said the 94-year-old.

So, Archie, what's your favorite?

"Swiss, cheddar, Limburger, brick, Gouda, Edam, colby, caraway," he said, without hesitation.

OK, we get the picture.

Myers took over the Swiss Cheese Shop on Wisconsin 69 from his father, Archie Sr., after he returned from World War II in 1946. It was established in 1938. Archie Jr. worked there a bit as he wrapped up high school, but once he was in charge, he made it a tourist's dream.

"We'd get busloads of people," Myers said. "We'd have demonstrations on how cheese was made and you could watch us stir the ingredients in a big kettle. We had girls who give a lecture on the process."

And Myers was there in person, seven days a week, greeting people that came as far as Madison and Rockford.

"We were all about tourists," he said.

The business had two different locations along Wisconsin 69 - the first was torn down to make way for the bypass - and Myers eventually sold it in 1992.

During its days in business, the store featured a staggering 80 varieties of cheese, Myers said. One of the biggest draws was aged cheese, which took up to two years in a controlled setting to reach perfection.

"Back then, you couldn't get it in the supermarket," Myers said.

Born in Janesville and relocated to Monroe in 1923 at the age of 3, Myers would spend two years at the University of Texas where he took a French class - something that helped him later in life - before finishing college at the University of Wisconsin.

Hoping to avoid being in the infantry when World War II broke out, Myers volunteered for the Signal Corps, a branch of the military specializing in radar and radio signals. He would be schooled in it in Kentucky and Florida.

At the time, he didn't know what a huge role his area of expertise would play, but then he found himself in 1944 in Antwerp, Belgium, a scant 30 miles from where the Battle of the Bulge was taking place.

"What we were doing was very important - so much so that our area was protected by a semi-circle of 90-millimeter anti-aircraft guns, shooting down the German buzz bombs that were trying to knock us out," he said. "Antwerp was a major shipping port. I'll never forget the sound of those bombs coming in. They sounded like a Maytag washing machine - putt, putt, putt, putt, putt."

When the war ended, he went to the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, and studied at the Institute of International Affairs. He thought his life growing up in Swiss-influenced Monroe would help his cause.

"I thought I'd find people who were related to people from around here," Myers said, "but they were more up north in Switzerland. Geneva was closer to France, so it was a good thing I knew how to speak it at least a little bit."