West Side Pumping Station / West Side Pool

Many years ago, the Evansville Water Works established a pumping station on the West Side to serve the growing part of town. It was located at the northeast corner of Pennsylvania St and Ninth Ave. A brick pumphouse was built on the corner, and a 250,000 gallon reservoir was located just to the left (north). It opened in 1892 and helped supplement the old Water Works building off Riverside Dr.

Sketch of the West End Pumping Station c1904

Sketch of the West End Pumping Station c1904

Map of the West End Pumping Station (1895 Sanborn)

Map of the West End Pumping Station (1895 Sanborn Map)

In 1900, when the Waterworks Department built its new plant off Waterworks Rd–where it still is today–the station was no longer needed and sat vacant. It was, however, called back into service for a short time when a cave-in occurred at the new facility in early 1904.

Gentlemen near the West  Side Pumping Station 1908

Gentlemen near the West Side Pumping Station 1908

Around 1909, city officials saw the potential of converting the old station into a pool. Famed local architect F J Schlotter was tasked with designing plans to renovate it. The reservoir was partially filled in (so it wasn’t so deep) and changing rooms were built around the perimeter. The West Side Pool opened in the summer of 1909 as the city’s first municipal bathing house.

Map of the new West Side Pool (bath houses have been added and the reservoir converted to a pool)

Map of the new West Side Pool.  Bath houses have been added and the reservoir converted to a pool (1910 Sanborn Map)

West Side City Pool 1919

West Side City Pool with the pumphouse in the background 1919

The pool remained opened into the early 1920s, but was abandoned after it was deemed unsafe.  It was later razed.  Around 1955 the West Side Expressway was built on Pennsylvania St, and today there is no trace of the old pool.

Where the pump station /old pool used to be

Where the pump station /old pool used to be (Google Maps)

Century Club: Germania Maennerchor

Germania Maennerchor, a singing club dedicated to German heritage, was established in 1900 and relocated in 1910 to its current location on Fulton Avenue when the bought an old mansion just north of town.  The new clubhouse was completed and dedicated 100 years ago, so it’s your duty as a history enthusiast to attend Volksfest this weekend and drink some beer.

Germania Maennerchor shortly after completion 1914

Germania Maennerchor shortly after completion 1914

The growing Germania organization boomed to over 400 members necessitating a larger clubhouse, so once the mortgage on the old Lahr residence was paid off, plans were drawn by famed local architect Frank J. Schlotter during the summer of 1913.  Members enjoyed using the back of the property for entertaining (come this weekend and you can see why for yourself), so it was desired to build in front of the old home.  A two-story structure of pressed dark red brick with Kentucky limestome for trim was designed that fronted Fulton Avenue where the road narrows.  On the first floor was a reception room, billiards room, check room, ladies’ parlor and a probe zimmer (German for “tasting room”).  The upper floor had an open design and had a large hall with a stage at the northern end.  The hall, which hosted several performances, boasted a rigging loft and equipment as nice as any theater and also had dressing rooms.  The design also had a driveway where the street entrance is now that allowed members to get back to the old house.  The stage above served as a porte cochere or a covering for those dropping off members at the club’s side entrance.

Ground was broken early September 1913 and the cornerstone was laid October 19th.  A time capsule was placed inside the cornerstone, and members of other societes as well as any Germans were invited to a public ceremony of song.  The building ran a cost of $18,000 and was dedicated over a three day period May 27-29, 1914.  Crowds had to be turned away for some of the festivities, which included Mayor Benjamin Bosse speaking.

A significant remodel occurred in 1939 at which time the murals were painted. The first floor was altered and the entrance was moved to where the driveway stood. (It was originally under the third bank of windows, below the “ERC” in Maennerchor).

In 1947, the old home was torn down and a new boiler house was built in the rear.  Later, a 2nd story was added above the boiler room including a kitchen.

Advertisement for 1939 Volksfest

Advertisement for 1939 Volksfest

Volksfest, which has been an annual tradition since it began in 1934 (save a few years after World War II), runs this weekend.  See their Facebook page for more information

Red Cross Seeks Conservation Help

The Red Cross Evansville-Wabash Valley Regional Office is very fortunate to have 17 original Karl K. Knecht ink sketches on display. Knecht went to work as the cartoonist at the Evansville Courier where his first cartoon appeared in September 1906. In addition to drawing cartoons for the paper, Knecht became staff photographer in 1917 when the newspaper bought its first camera and also wrote columns and reviews. His “Say, Kay! What of Folks, Shows, Animals N’ Such” column appeared weekly from 1919 until 1954. Knecht was named director of the paper and served as vice president from 1952 to 1960. For most of Knecht’s career, his cartoons appeared seven days a week on the front page until 1954 when they were moved to the editorial page. Knecht worked for the Courier for so long that he came to be known as the “dean of editorial cartoonists”.

Knecht was also involved with the circus. He helped organize the Circus Fans Association in 1925 and was both secretary-treasurer and president of that organization and produced its magazine, White Tops. He also helped found the Mesker Zoo in Evansville after he was given a pair of lions in the late 1920s.

Knecht was a member of Sigma Delta Chi and also a founding member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. In 1953, Knecht received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Evansville College and July 22, 1954 was proclaimed Karl Kae Knecht Day in Evansville, Indiana. He was also a supporter of numerous charitable causes and would at times use his cartoons to bring attention to these causes, with one them being the American Red Cross. His cartoons are in collections of presidential libraries for Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman and Dwight Eisenhower. He also has a very large display at the University of Evansville.

Recently, the Red Cross had two volunteers help repair a number of pictures frames. Through those efforts the Red Cross learned that the Knecht Collection did not have any conservation framing, which was resulting in the pieces deteriorating. The Red Cross is interested in finding an organization or individual who could sponsor its efforts to preserve his work. A local frame shop has offered a discounted rate to do the work, which would include new rag single mats, conservation clear glass, rag backing, dissembling them, fitting and leveling hangers.

You are invited to assist the Red Cross in its effort to preserve an important part of the history of the Evansville community. The quote with discount was $1,566.32. The Red Cross is hoping to secure funding for $1,700 so that it can create a small plaque that explains Karl K. Knetch’s relationship and passion for the American Red Cross and the Evansville community that could be put on display with his collection.

A. F. Horn Box Factory

A vacant Atlas Box today

A vacant Atlas Box today at 201 Pennsylvania Ave

Albert F Horn established his box company around 1910 making cigar boxes.  After a fire destroyed his previous plant, Horn constructed this building in 1912 at the corner of Garfield St and Division St and opened shop.

Article from Sept 22, 1912 Courier

Article from Sept 22, 1912 Courier

It was in 1919 when Albert’s son took over the company and renamed it the Atlas Box Company.  A two-story brick addition was built in 1930 giving the building its “L” shape.

Addition built 1930

Addition built 1930

Atlas Box Co was bought out by one of the nation’s leading manufacturers Autokraft. The business was relocated, but the property was not included in the sale and was leased out. It was later purchased by Ian Lockhart whose signature was retrofitting the old windows with decorative concrete block.

Charles Pike purchased Superior Mattress and all its supplies and equipment from Waterbury, CT in 1959. The family proceeded to move the entire factory to Evansville, IN and founded Superior Mattress Co in the old Atlas Box factory. When they started their business in January 1960, there were still some cigar boxes in the building.

Mr and Mrs Charles Pike owners

Mr and Mrs Charles Pike owners

Superior Mattress ad 1988

Superior Mattress ad 1988

Superior Mattress went bankrupt and Pike sold the building in 1989. It has since been an auction house and a private club (likely when the eyes were painted on the windows).  The current owners of the building abandoned it, and it is falling apart.  The roof has collapsed in and the building is no longer safe to enter.

Rear view see some graffiti and crumblin brick where roof has collapsed

Rear view showing some graffiti and crumbling brick where roof has collapsed

Relatives of the Pike family opened the Mattress Factory showroom in 1990 in the building next door. The large brick building at 213 W Division St was originally part of the Advanced Stove Works complex, but we’ll save that for another article. A distribution center established in 2006 was named Superior Mattress in honor of Charles

Some parts and pictures credit Superior Mattress and Alice Ling (Charles Pike’s niece)


R. E. Nunley Truck Terminal

R E Nunley built his truck terminal warehouse on Franklin St in 1935 for his growing transfer company.  The new store which opened June 13, 1935 also boasted a retail food market, a sandwich shop, and a barber.  The company specialized in moving and storage would soon outgrow this facility and relocate.  It would later become Nunley-Gardner Transfer Co on Fulton Ave.

New Nunley Terminal Warehouse

New Nunley Terminal Warehouse

Southern Indiana Beverage Co established its home in the old warehouse around 1938.  They were beer distributors that served the area after Prohibition.  The company was later succeded by Vanco Beverage Co and was for a while the only distributor approved by the newly formed Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC).  It should surprise no one that beer sales, so much that Vanco needed a larger facility.  The company moved to Fulton Ave in what we believe was the old Crazy Larry’s where the new Cedar Hall now stands.

Vanco Beverage 1946 (courtesy of Donahue Collection)

Vanco Beverage 1946 (photo courtesy of Donahue Collection)

After Vanco’s stint in the warehouse, Syl Lutterbach opened his beer and wine retail business.  What make this interesting is he opened a drive-in tavern where users could get beer to go, akin to what’s still in Texas today.  One issue was that it was totally illegal, and he was forced shut down the drive through once the ABC caught wind of it.  Lutterbach was however allowed to operate his business but as a retailer only.

Syl's Drive In Beer Depot - why was this a bad idea?

Ad for Syl’s Drive In Beer Depot – why was this a bad idea?

In recent years the truck terminal has served a variety of concerns, but is currently operating as A & S Electrical Service

A & S Electrical Service

Still standing tall, now as A & S Electrical Service

Salem Evangelical

Salem Evangelical 1934 when it still had a tower

Salem Evangelical as it looked when the church still had a tower

Salem Evangelical dates back to 1844 when a mission was begun, but it was officially established in 1853.  The German Evangelical congregation procured a lot at the corner of 8th and Division St and built a church which was dedicated April 2, 1854.

In 1873 the church was remodeled into the form seen above.  It has remained largely untouched ever since.

Salem Evangelical from the 1888 map (marked "E")

Salem Evangelical from the 1888 map (marked “E”).  The building marked “S7″ is Old Central

In 1923 a Sunday school hall was built in the rear of church along 8th St replacing an old school/rectory.

Addition shorly after completion

Sunday school addition shortly after completion

In 1946 the church becomes First Evangelical United Brethren church after merger between Evangelical and United Brethren churches. As the church became surrounded by factories downtown, it was decided to move the church to Sherman St and Van Dusen Ave on the near North side.  Ground breaking at the new church was in 1958, and the church moved soon after. In 1959 Central General Baptist Church occupies the old church.

Salem Evangelical being renovated

Salem Evangelical being renovated

Central General Baptist held its final service in August 1977, ending the building’s run as a church.  A physician bought it next and later around 1980 the River City Eagles Club made Salem its home for several years.

The Fraternal Order of Eagles moved ca. 2009 to Franklin St in the old Hook’s Drugstore building.  The building was then being remodeled into apartments, but that never materialized.  For the past few years the old church has found new life as the home of the Vanderburgh County CASA.

Detail over entry.  Roughly translated "SALEM CHURCH OF THE EVANGELICAL COMMUNITY  BUILT 1853 REBUILT 1873 "

Detail over entry. Roughly translated “SALEM CHURCH OF THE EVANGELICAL COMMUNITY BUILT 1853 REBUILT 1873 “


Salem Evangelical on HistoricEvansville.com – http://historicevansville.com/site.php?id=salem


Press Releas

On Tuesday, June 24 at 6:30 p.m., Evansville Museum Curator of History and Vanderburgh County Historical Society Board Member Thomas Lonnberg will give the PowerPoint program Welcome Traveler. In his PowerPoint program presented in the Museum’s new Koch Immersive Theater, Lonnberg will share information and images recalling establishments that served visitors to our City from the early 19th century through the mid 20th century. The presentation will focus on well-known hotels such as the Vendome and McCurdy and will also recall lesser-known establishments that served the community in the days when riverboats lined the city’s wharf and passenger trains frequented Evansville.

Lonnberg has served as the Evansville Museum’s curator of history for 26 years. In that time, he has curated over 100 exhibitions many of which have focused on the history of Evansville. He is on the boards of the Vanderburgh County Historical Society and the Corridor of Champions.

As seating is limited to 68, reservations are required. Please call 812-425-2406
for complimentary reservations.  This program is presented by the Evansville Museum and the Vanderburgh County Historical Society.

100 Years Old: Lanhuck’s Bar

1914 appears in the parapet in an Arts and Crafts font

“1914″ appears in the parapet in an Arts and Crafts font

Lanhuck’s Bar, torn down Thursday, didn’t get the chance to celebrate its 100th birthday, but we’ll spotlight it in our Century Club nonetheless.

The building at the corner of Columbia and Governor was built by the F W Cook Brewing Co. Breweries would often own or build saloons to sell none other than their own beer. The 2-story brick building was designed by Frank J Schlotter and had a cafe and kitchen on the 1st floor and several bedrooms and a bath on the 2nd floor. George Geier operated the saloon and lived upstairs.

The Home Realty Company (the real estate arm of Cook’s Brewery) began construction in the summer of 1914. The brickwork was done by September and the building was completed in December 13, 1914. (Note the Arts and Crafts numbering in the parapet)

Article from Jul 5 1914 announcing the new building

Article from Jul 5, 1914 announcing the new building

George Geier operated his saloon here for several years until it was closed because of Prohibition.

Around 1935 L L Conia opened a restaurant in the old building

1936 ad for Conia's Restaurant

1936 ad for Conia’s Restaurant

Aerial view 1947 with Gaier Saloon in green

Aerial view 1947 with Gaier Saloon in green.  Delaware School can be seen in the upper left, and the old fire station of Hose House 10 is at lower right.

Over the years it served a variety of concerns including Lee’s Tavern, Hen House Tavern, Reinie’s Tavern, Colonial Bar, and Russ’s Tavern.  Around 1967 it became Peg’s for Singers and Swingers. Lanhuck’s opened in 1983 and had occupied the old building until its demise this week.

Lanhuck's shortly after opening 1983

Lanhuck’s shortly after opening 1983

A car crash Monday damaged the front which finally collapsed Wednesday. An emergency raze order was issued putting the building out of its misery just short of its 100th birthday.  It’s always sad to see a historic building go, especially when it’s well used.  R. I. P. Lanhuck’s!