Lecture to Discuss Life and Times of Benjamin Bosse


Lecture to Discuss Life and Times of Benjamin Bosse

On Thursday, August 13, 2015 6:30 p.m. at the Evansville Museum, Jeffrey A. Bosse will discuss the life and times of Benjamin Bosse.  The author of the book When Everybody Boosts Everybody Wins: The Untold Story of Evansville Mayor Benjamin Bosse, and the great-great nephew of Benjamin Bosse,.Jeff Bosse, will detail the life of the dynamic man who led the city from 1914-1922.  In his talk, Jeff Bosse will not only look at the successes of the Bosse administration, but also scandals and allegations during his time in office.

Benjamin Bosse enjoyed successful careers, as a businessman, a church leader, a politician, and a public servant.  Despite coming to Evansville penniless, by the time of his death he had been the president of more than 25 local businesses and a shareholder of more than 40, including the Evansville Courier, the Vendome Hotel and the world’s largest furniture manufacturing company.  During his terms as mayor, the city acquired Garvin Park, Bosse Field, the Coliseum, and the Market House.  He chaired the campaign to bring the University of Evansville to the City and he increased the city’s parks from 220 acres to more than 700 acres.  Benjamin Bosse was also responsible for bringing Evansville its first major north-south highway.

Jeff Bosse is a graduate of Bosse High School, Vanderbilt University and Northwestern Law School.  He has practiced corporate, real estate and estate planning law in Evansville since 1975 and is the president and founder of Bosse Title Company.  Jeff has been active in our community and his industry for many years.  He has been the president of the Evansville Museum, the United Way of Southwestern Indiana, the Vanderburgh Community Foundation and the Indiana Land Title Association.  He was the second person in the United States to receive the National Title Professional designation from the American Land Title Association and he is the recipient of the lifetime meritorious service award from the Indiana Land Title Association.

This lecture is FREE and presented in partnership with the Evansville Museum.  For questions about the program or the Vanderburgh County Historical Society, please contact VCHS President Chris Cooke at 812-455-5121 or ccooke@evansville.in.gov.

Facebook Event Page for Bosse Lecture

VCHS Bosse Cover

The “old” Old National Bank

Old State National Bank 1894
The Old National Bank building 1894

Old National Bank, one of Evansville’s most prominent financial instituions, can trace its history back to 1834.  Situated at the corner of Main and Riverside, the bank was officially established as a branch of the Old State Bank of Indiana. The growing back became the Old State National Bank (of Evansville) and constructed its own building at 20 Main St just one year later.  It was designed in the Greek Revival style and resembled a temple with its four Ionian columns. It should be noted that years ago banks would often erect grandiose buildings to project an image of security.  In 1885, the bank was renamed Old National Bank


Sketch of the Old State National Bank
Sketch of the Old State National Bank which dated back to the 1830s.

This iconic building served the bank until 1916. Following a trend, it built a larger, more substantial bank just up the street on the 400 block of Main St. The vacant bank was bought by the Loyal Order of Moose and became Lodge No. 85. The organization made this their Moose Home for decades. Looking to freshen up the building, it was refacaded in 1950 to this sad plain front.

A modernized Moose Lodge (1950)
A modernized Moose Lodge (1950)

You can imagine the demolition it would take to undo such a beautiful front. When the portico and its pillars were removed, it mentions in the article that the support beam across was a single piece of wood measuring 14 in x 11 in and 40 ft long. It would have been cut out by hand with and ax and was as solid as the day it was put up. The pillars looked like stone but were actually solid brick. Each was over 30 ft tall and more than 4 ft thick so a crane was used to remove them. Thankfully the 1st block of Main St was blocked off during demolition because when one pillar toppled it broke the sidewalk and smashed into several chunks.

When the Moose Lodge left the building for smaller quarters in 1956, the Petroleum Club picked up the building. Plans were in place to remodel it into their new headquarters, but after a few years the organization opted to move in to the Citizens Bank’s new building. Old State National Bank was one of the oldest buildings on Main St–if not the city–when it was razed in 1959. It should be no surprise that the site became a parking lot.

Below are a few more images with the old bank clearly visible.

0 block of Main St during 1937 Flood
First block of Main St during 1937 Flood.  The bank steps are visible in front of the car at right
Main St from Riverside c1950 (before remodeling)
Main St from Riverside c1950 (before remodeling)