Martha Merrell's Books & Toys

Image: Martha Merrell's Books and Toys storefront. Logo: Waukesha 125th Anniversary

231 W. Main St., Waukesha, WI 53186
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Saturday & Sunday
12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.


Martha Merrell's is Downtown Waukesha’s only independent bookstore. Eve and Norm Bruce have owned the store since 1994, in several locations throughout the downtown area. Their current store is on the site of the former National Hotel which was built in 1871

Tour Information:


  • Noon to 1:00 p.m. and 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. - A short history of the bookstore will be followed by a Waukesha trivia bingo game that attendees will make and then play.
  • 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. and 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. - A short history of Friday Night Live will be followed by a musical performance featuring Bill and Lin O’Connor.

Sunday: Martha Merrell’s has been an active supporter of local authors as well as charitable activities. Today’s programs feature four of those writers and their efforts to benefit the Waukesha community.

  • Noon to 1:00 p.m - Local author Patricia Backhaus will discuss her books that have featured performers that have entertained in Waukesha and will also include musical selections.
  • 1:00 to 2:00 p.m - Local author Barb Geiger and her husband Gene will share their experience of kayaking down the Mississippi River and Barb’s writing about it in Paddle for a Purpose. Cutouts will be located outside the bookstore for those who would like to take pictures of themselves kayaking.
  • 2:00 to 3:00 p.m - Local historian John Schoenknecht will discuss the research that goes into his popular books about the history of Waukesha. He will answer questions from the audience as well.
  • 3:00 to 4:00 p.m - Local author Vivian Probst along with Anne Wondra will share their latest collaboration: The Woman Who Forgot Who She Was which is the first in a planned series entitled The Avery Victoria Spencer Tales. Vivian is an active supporter of The Women’s Center.


This location is kid-friendly.

Photography and Filming Permissions:

During this event, photography and filming are allowed.


This location is accessible except for the balcony.

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Metro Bus Access:

Accessible from the Metro Transit Center. All bus routes stop at the Transit Center along their routes.