If you look closely at the corner of Franklin and Mary beneath the sign of Central UMC, you’ll find an interesting bit of history.
Cornerstone of the old Central ME Church still on display
This was the original cornerstone of the Central Methodist Episcopal Church which was built in the early 1900s. The Ingle Street Methodist Episcopal church relocated from downtown just a few blocks away to here–the old North Side. The new church designed by famed architects Harris & Shopbell was completed in 1905.
The church quickly outgrew its new quarters and within 20 years a new edifice was needed. The old church was torn down and the present structure was built in 1924. The old cornerstone was put on display under the sign where it can still be seen today.
This was the Bayard Building on Upper 1st St, just off Main. The two-story brick structure was built in 1903 for prominent Evansville banker Samuel Bayard. It was designed by local architect F. J. Schlotter and located just behind where Merchants National Bank stood.
When Mr. Bayard died in 1918, the building was sold off to settle his estate. The building also served as the headquarters for the Republican party over the years.
The ornate structure was torn down around 1970 during urban renewal. It is now part of the parking lot for the Hillard Lyons office on Main St
Today we continue with our story on Fulton Avenue’s slow demise. With demolitions abound, we look at the old two-story brick building at 101-3 N Fulton Ave that was razed last week.
The building at the corner of Fulton and Indiana dates back to 1886 shortly after the Old Brewery was razed. Fulton Avenue was being built up as a shopping corridor and Mrs F Morris relocated her dry goods and groceries store to this new building. The building was a Mesker Building which sported a decorative metal facade made by Evansville’s own Geo L Mesker & Co.
The corner store (101 N) was a saloon for several years, and the other half (103 N) was a saddlery, restaurant, and even a barber shop. There was another store between the two brick ones (105 N) that was a ramshackle building, but it was cleared some time ago. It was one-story and only about 10 foot deep and served over the years as a shoe shop, a clothes cleaner, and later still as a residence.
The corner store (101 N) was also the original location of the Lamasco Bank when it was founded in 1914. It stayed here until the new bank at the corner of Fulton and Franklin was completed in 1920
One more interesting tidbit is about Bass Goodman’s restaurant at 103 N Fulton. In 1925, Goodman and his son-in-law Melvin Geddes were fined $100 and jailed up to 30 days for bootlegging. When two men were arrested for public intoxication and asked where they got drunk, they implicated Goodman’s “soft drink stand”. Police arrived soon after and found Geddes destroying “a large quantity of home brew.”
In the 1920s and 30s, the building housed a variety of concerns including the White Front Cash & Carry Grocery, Gus Watson’s cafe, a boarding house, Petroleum Equipment Co, and the Peerless Tent & Awning Co
Around 1947, the growing Indiana Shoe Supply Co relocated its wholesale business to this building, occupying both halves. The company which specialized in “leather and shoe findings” remained in operation until the 1970s.
Soon after, the building became the home of Dennis Minton Auction Service.
In its final days, the building was an antique store and pawn shop. When TLC Coins relocated to West Franklin St this summer, the end was near for this veteran. After standing for more than 125 years, the building was razed late September 2014.