Two old buildings on Fulton Ave near Indiana St are on their way down, and it’s sad news for preservationists. The two buildings were brothers of sort, erected in the 1880s where the Old Brewery once stood. Both were large, multi-story brick buildings and donned Mesker storefronts–large metal facades by the Geo L Mesker & Co. These allowed for quick installation while flaunting highly decorative elements, sort of an instant architecture.
The white building at 107-111 N was built around 1887, and one of the first tenants was F W Mann’s store which specialized in cooking and heating stoves. Mann, the son-in-law of the famous John H Roelker Stove and Plow Works, later expanded into other household decorations like queensware and home furnishings. The building also housed the office and warerooms for the Southern Stove Works whose foundry was nearby.
F W Mann would later occupy the whole building, and his business helped establish Fulton Ave as a shopping district. Shown below is Fulton Avenue looking north from Pennsylvania St (Lloyd Expressway) around 1900. The old Fulton Avenue Brewery buildings are at left and the tall brick buildings on the 100 N block are in the background right.
Mann’s went out of business around 1897, and the building later housed a mattress company and served as storage rooms for other companies. In 1905, A Hohenstein established his furniture company there, which would later be renamed Hohenstein-Harmetz Furniture Co after adding a partner. The furniture factory was destroyed during by a fire in May 15, 1908. The furniture company relocated but the brick structure was rebuilt.
During renovations, it was remodeled for Simon V Levi’s department store. The store opened in the fall of 1908. Another fire in 1915 gutted the building, but again it was rebuilt and Levi’s Department Store remained at this location until eventually closeing in January 1926.
Over the next years, the building served a hodgepodge of industries including the Tri-State Asbestos and Magnesia Co, the Tri-State Roofing and Waterproofing Co, and Standard Signs Inc.
R E Nunley relocated his transfer company from the West Side in 1944. The company would later add a partner and become Nunley-Garnder Inc, agents for the Mayflower Transit Co. By 1950, the awning was gone, the windows were bricked up, and street-level entrance was butchered thus killing the curb appeal of this one-time beauty.
Nunley-Gardner moved out to Grand Ave around 1980, but the building was used for storage for years. Recent attempts to sell the vacant property have failed, so sadly demolition seems like its fate. Here are a few images of the building as it looks now.
TOMORROW: 101-3 N Fulton Avenue which was razed last week