Situated at the northwest corner of Pomeroy and Virginia Street is a two story, block building called the Jaster Building. This building was built by Joseph J. ( "J.J." ) Jaster in 1914 High up on the front of the building, one can still see the name "Jaster" spelled out.
Joseph Jaster was born on March 13, 1882, in Germany. When he was 11 years old, his family came to live in Crystal Lake. Through hard work and industry, J.J. earned enough money to purchase several empty building lots. A butcher by trade J.J. decided to construct a building and operate his own grocery and market business.
The location of Jasters building has a rich history of its own. Virginia Street was once an old Indian trail which was used to travel from Fort Dearborn (Chicago) to Wisconsin. the first white settlers came to Crystal Lake in 1836. Many of them had started their journey in the state of Virginia and thus they began calling the Indian trail "Virginia Street".
Just west of Jaster's Building (near the current Taco Bell) was the site of the first hotel in Crystal Lake. It was constructed of oak and walnut logs by Lyman King (as in "King Street") around 1838. The hotel was used as a stage stop. In 1870, T.H. Ashton purchased the hotel. the building was enlarged and modernized which became known as the Ashton House.
The Ashton House was well-known in the area for its fine food and excellent accommodations. Sadly, the Ashton House burned to the ground in 1904, never to be rebuilt.
The Ashton House's livery stable was located on the corner site where J.J. Jaster constructed his building. Hand-hewn timbers from the livery stable were retained by J.J. Jaster and used as support beams from his stone building. These hand-hewn timbers, held together the square cut nails can be found throughout the basement of the Jaster Building.
J.J. operated a market on the first floor of the building. Food items such as meat, flour, canned goods and even candy were available. One could also purchase practical items such as overalls gloves and rope.
In 1914, J.J. Jaster was appointed postmaster of station A, Crystal Lake. His store was also used as the local post office. There was two post office windows at which residents could purchase money orders and stamps, as well as send and receive mail. Mail delivery to homes in Crystal Lake did not begin until the 1920s.
In addition to operating his store, J.J. Jaster became interested in city politics. In 1931, he was elected alderman of the first ward on the ticket headed by Mayor J.A. Peterson. He served as alderman of this ward until the death of Mayor Peterson in 1940. At that time, the other alderman chose J.J. Jaster as mayor to the unexpired term of Mayor Peterson, In 1941, J.J. Jaster ran for mayor, but was defeated by Mayor J, Krause.
J.J. Jaster died in 1951. His store was closed, and the building sold. His obituary speaks of a man who was well-respected and loved by the community. Joe Jaster is gone, but "Jasters Corner" is still here. His building is most certainly a significant historic structure in the City of Crystal Lake.
ABOUT JASTERS CRAFT BEER
Jasters was named after Joseph J. Jaster and opened in 2013. Our dream was to open a Bar/Restaurant that we would like to be regulars at. The vision was to create a small cozy place like you would find in downtown Chicago . Which would have the feeling that it had been there for a 100 years and when you walk in we hope you feel the same way.
We have always been passionate about wine and spirits, you can see that passion transferred in to our great selection . The cocktail selection was something we wanted to stand out and we believe it does. All our cocktails are handmade and were created in house. We also have 14 different craft beer taps that rotate every 2 weeks and we strive to always have the best selection on tap.
After 1 year in business, Jasters had the opportunity to expand, by adding a kitchen which was a big undertaking. Not only did we open a one of a kind bar but we added a one of a kind kitchen and dining room too. After all these changes we put together a menu that pairs perfectly with our vision. The food we offer compliments our bar like cheese & Charcuterie boards, tuna tartare, flat breads and more.
To top it off we have a very loyal and dedicated staff. Jasters just celebrated its 4 year anniversary and we are so excited to see what the future holds. Can't wait to see what you think about us and we hope to see you soon. Don't forget Jasters is where friends become family.