The Golden Ring Folklore Center was originally opened in the summer of 1972 by Fritz & Mary Schuler. Fritz, an elementary school teacher in Kewaunee, Wisconsin, had decided his first love was teaching, performing and promoting American Traditional Folk Music. He and his wife Mary, an artist who had illustrated for many magazines, and had done the art work for a children’ s book, "Little Hawk the Story of a Morgan Horse" and had Pete Seeger choose one of her drawings for his biography "The Incomplete Folksinger" returned to their home town of Manitowoc and opened the Golden Ring Folklore Center as a teaching studio and retail folk music shop. The name had been selected from a wonderful folk album on Folk Legacy Records by a close knit group of friends who played music together who called themselves "the Golden Ring" with the meaning of a "golden ring of friends bound together by a common love of music" This idea appealed to the Schulers, so when they rented a wonderful old house and opened up the living room as a showroom for guitars, banjos, and mountain dulcimers as well as music accessories, folk music books and folk records, the name "Golden Ring Folklore Center" seemed perfect. They used the rest of the house for teaching studios and their home. And teaching they did, hundreds of folks have learned to play folk guitar, mountain dulcimer, and banjo at the Golden Ring.
Fritz also expanded his teaching through the University of Wisconsin Continuing Education and taught folk music classes for the next 25 years at UW campuses in Manitowoc, Fox Valley, Green Bay, Fond du Lac, and West Bend, teaching well over 2000 students the joy of folk guitar, banjo and mountain dulcimer. He is still teaching at the Golden Ring today. Fritz also began performing soon after the Golden Ring opened, and performed nearly yearly at Milwaukee’s 19th Street Coffeehouse as well as festivals all over Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois. In 1994, Fritz and Mary, along with local guitar whiz Peter Pivonka performed as The Clipper City Stringband at the 1994 Chiba Seafest in Kamogawa, Japan. Although escalating store duties has curtailed a lot of his performing, he still finds time for the occasional show.
The Schuler’s also continued to promote folk music with a series of folk concerts. In 1976 they teamed up with the University of Wisconsin -
By 1979 the Golden Ring Had overflowed its banks -
A Few years after the move a number of the other music stores in the city folded up their tents and the Golden Ring decided to expand to fill the void. Never losing sight of their original intent of being a great folk music shop, the store expanded to help the local musician -
A Slight name change took place to reflect these changes (Thanks to the suggestion of late Chicago Folksinger Art Thieme) and it was now known as "The Golden Ring Music & Folklore Center"
And once again the Golden Ring was out of room.
In 1990 the Golden Ring moved again, this time right around the corner (actually in the same building) to it’ s third location at 1001 Washington Street (The corner of 10th and Washington Street). The shop’ s inventory had increased dramatically since the move. The music book selection expanded to gargantuan proportions as well as our wonderful selection of guitars, banjos, dulcimers, mandolins and more. The Milwaukee Journal -
We moved once again, to our fourth location, in October of 2001-
From 2003 to 2013 we teamed up with Woodland Dunes to once again produce folk Concerts in the Manitowoc Area. This great opportunity offered us a chance to do two things, one -
We continue to strive to find the best instruments for the money for our customers, carefully set up and adjust every one to play easily -