J.J. Haisch General Merchandise, early 1910s. It doubled (or tripled) as the sheriff's office and Wells Fargo express office. It isn't yet
the post office in this photograph, although it would serve that purpose, too, after May 1922 when Haisch was appointed Acton postmaster (see
Meryl Adams (1988:401).
The sign on the wall, roughly center, is an advertisement for Chesterfield cigarettes (and is probably a notice board).
Acton historian Bob Buechner says (2014): "This store was located were the present-day Ace hardware is now (31814 Crown Valley Road). It was owned by the Rock Crusher Company from 1910 to about 1915 when J.J. Haisch took over the lease; he then purchased it in 1920 and ran it until his death in 1934. It was a popular spot for filming silent movies in the mid-1920s and early '30s. The Crown Valley Market was in this spot in 1970s and '80s."
Most of the following information comes from Meryl Adams (1988).
Capt. John Jacob "J.J." Haisch (b. March 28, 1866, in Miami, Ohio; d. Sept. 17, 1934) came to Acton in 1910 to superintend the Acton Rock Crusher, used to separate gold from quartz. A former railroad construction superintendent, he was probably familiar with the Acton area before the turn of the century when he grubstaked Capt. Elbridge Fuller's claim at the Monte Christo mine in the San Gabriels east of Acton (Robinson 1977:180).
Haisch quit the railroad in 1898 and joined the Twentieth Regiment Kansas Volunteers, serving in the Philippines for four years (when the U.S. helped revolutionaries drove out Spain during the Spanish-American War) and rising to the rank of captain. According to Adams, while in the Philippines he became familiar with Gov. William Howard Taft and was a personal friend of President William McKinley.
Haisch married the former Miss Minnie R. Love in San Francisco on June 1, 1902. An active Mason, he participated in Lancaster's Community Methodist Church and supported the Acton Community Presbyterian Church, having attended its first "Sunday School Rally Day" in 1916. From 1918 to 1923, J.J. and Minnie Haisch hosted an annual Near Year's Day oyster dinner for the whole town at the red brick (Soledad) schoolhouse.
By the latter year he had purchased a general store on the east side of 4th Street (later called Crown Valley Road), across the street from the Acton Hotel. It had been built in 1894 by Paul Bachert. Now called J.J. Haisch General Merchandise, it doubled as the local post office — Haisch held the position of postmaster from May 1922 until his death — and Haisch rented out the store as a film location whenever he could. A fixture in his rocking chair on the front porch of the store, Haisch also served as clerk of the school board for 11 years.
Adams writes that Haisch "was a staunch supporter of patriotic Americanism and the importance of education for all. He never publicized his charities; only the recipient and Mr. Haisch were aware when needs were met. Many a school student (and) many adults were the beneficiaries of the generosity and fair play of our fine Acton gentleman."
Minnie Haisch died in 1948, and the general store was torn down in the 1950s.