Preservationist. Visionary. Madman. Whatever you want to call Lucas Neuffer is fine with him, but the realtor with a passion for old houses now has a new project. He finally procured the long vacant home of Henry E Cook (of the Cook’s Brewery fame) on Fulton Avenue. He intends to return it to a single-family home, though surprisingly it was just a 2-bedroom house with a massive servants “wing” that could be repurposed to serve a larger family. The two bedrooms by the way were likely a his and hers bedrooms that had dressing rooms, bathrooms, and closets connecting to them.
Built in 1899, the Cook mansion was on of three on the block. His was in the middle of the block. His father, F W Cook, had the first house, built around 1877 on the corner of Iowa. His brother’s (Charles Cook) was built one year prior in 1898 at the corner of Delaware. That house was built of brick and had a turret. By the early 1900s, Fulton Avenue was a home for business magnates, and this was one of the premier blocks in Evansville.
Fulton Avenue from Delaware. View from about the front doors of Civic Theater looking south. The three mansions really towered over nearby smaller homes. Fulton School can be seen in the distance.
Time was not kind to Fulton Avenue. As it became a thoroughfare, residential buildings gave way to commercial and industrial ventures. Many of these mansions were either turned into apartments, converted into another use (like the Lahr mansion became the club house of the Germania Maennerchor), or were simply demolished to make way for new buildings.
In recent years, there was an ordeal with trying to sell the house. It went to auction but the restoration never gained much momentum, and the home just deteriorated for nearly a decade. Several attempts to persuade the owners fell short, and many preservationists thought it was a lost cause. I asked Lucas what finally persuaded the sellers to relinquish the house. “Persistence” he said. “I kept bugging them until they said yes.” And sometimes that’s what it takes because in the end they wanted the same thing–to save the house.
Follow Lucas at his Facebook page as he restores the mansion to its former grandeur. He has several photos posted there–better quality than my walkthrough tour–and keep an eye out for events/opportunities to help
Officially it’s now called St Vincent, but locals will always refer to it as St Mary’s Hospital. Today we look at the old hospital building before they relocated to their present spot.
St Mary’s moved from its first location at the Old Marine Hospital to a new building in February 1894. The new building was built on First Avenue across from St Anthony’s Catholic Church. Several people recall babies being born in the hospital and then being whisked across the street for a prompt baptism.
An addition on the Columbia St side was built in 1922. It was a four-story brick building. If you happen to be walking by, check out the stone work over the door which dons a cross from the old Catholic hospital.
Circa 1947, a nurses’ home was built on the southeast corner of First and Delaware. The old Polsdorfer home was razed to make way for the U-shaped building. It still sands as part of the St Vincent’s Day Care campus, though the old entrance has been bricked up.
On March 10, 1956, St Mary’s achieved the remarkable feat of moving to the new building on outer Washington Ave all in one day. They had outgrown the old facility on First Ave. It’s wild to think the two big hospitals in town were so close in proximity. Deaconess Hospital was just a few blocks away centered at Mary and Iowa.
The vacant building was demolished in May 1959, although the addition is still there serving as medical offices. Hacienda restaurant now stands on the former site.
In some ways, a century ago was not that different than today. With downtown flourishing and residents looking for affordable housing, the Cadick Apartments were part of a building boom that generated several rental units.
The New Cadick was the brainchild of A. C. Hassensall with the help of famed local architect W. E. Russ. Built in the Beaux Arts style, it was a 3-story brick structure with a tiled roof. Stone on the first floor has “Cadick Apartments” carved in it, and the building also has some intricate brickwork.
The new apartments were built from 1916-1917, and contained 14 units. Some of the more notable features included Murphy beds and mahogany wood trim in each apartment. The first floor featured leasing offices and space for a doctors offices. The Cadick also had a full basement that included a dining hall and laundry room.
Frank X. Barwe ran a successful butcher shop in the new town of Howell around the turn of the century. In December 1904 he built a large brick building for his business. The store was located at 211 Broadway Ave on the alley between Delmar Ave and Ewing Ave. A smokehouse and a sausage factory used to stand next door but those are long gone. There were also stables in the rear of the property, but they were destroyed in a fire. An article in the April 17, 1913 newspaper says that there was $500 in damage and Hose House No. 7 (before it relocated to Howell) responded.
Barwe continued to sell “home killed beef” into the 1930s . As with many other buildings, the store was renumbered 3118 Broadway Ave when Evansville adopted a new numbering system. He also built a new bungalow in 1930 next door at 3122 Broadway Ave for his personal residence.
Barwe retired, passing away in 1937, but his store was used over the years. Frank DeShield’s ran a grocery there in the late 1930s and the Broadway Market operated in the building in the 1940s and 1950s. Beginning in the mid-1950s, several business tried their luck in the old building including Embry’s Furniture Store, Mary’s Coffee Shop, ABC Motorcycle Sales (later West Side Cycle), and an auto parts supply store, but like many old building the structure has outlasted all its owners. For some time it has been the home of United Schenk Accounting
When John H. Fendrich, the proprietor of the Fendrich Cigar, planned to build a new downtown home, he commissioned famed Chicago architect, W. L. Klewer to design the new residence. It was designed in the Prairie Style among the mansions on First St.
The home was completed in 1917. It was built with red brick and limestone and covered in a green tile roof. The round-arch door draws focus from across College St. Two lions guard the front porch and a covered porch with an exterior fireplace is at the left. A large 3-car garage is set back from the house, in a matching style. It also includes a 1/2 story for the chauffeur.
Even after Mr. Fendrich died in 1953, the home has remained a single-family residence. The historic home was opened up for the 2013 Riverside Neighborhood Tour. The following pictures were taken during that tour.
The Schnute-Holtmann Co were manufacturers of fine interior woodwork. William H Schnute established a planning mill on Fourth Ave near Franklin St in the 1890s. The mill produced building materials such as sashes, lath, stairs–all the quality parts that went into what would now be classified as a well-built older home.
Schnute’s growing enterprise relocated in 1903 and built a new mill occupying the block of Illinois, Heidelbach, Indiana and Lafayette. The proximity to the Southern Railway enticed the move, and a spur was built connecting the company to the railroad tracks along Division St. The company expanded into building whole houses, but may better remembered for the woodwork done on some well-known buildings around Evansville such as the Germania Maennerchor building, Audubon Apartments and the Boehne residence.
In 1919 the company reorganized as Universal Manufacturing Corp, but that was short lived as the plant closed by the early 1920s.
Around 1925, the Evansville Warehouse Company took over the old factory and used it for storage. It also rented out part of the block to the Creasey Co. Several of the buildings nearby served a similar purpose for storage and distribution, and the area gained a reputation as a big warehouse district.
On October 29, 1953 an $800,000 fire took out the majority of the block. It was purported to be started by burglars and was the largest fire since the 1951 Main St Fire. The factory was rebuilt, though not as substantial as the original brick structure. Now a parking lot occupies the former warehouse block, which Vectren likely cleared sometime around 1990.
Howell General Baptist is one of the oldest congregations in the Evansville area. It was founded in 1823 as Liberty General Baptist by Benoni Stinson, who established the General Baptist branch with this being the mother church.
In 1891–when Howell was still a separate town–the Liberty General Baptist congregation built a church at the northeast corner of Rose and Signal Streets, what is now Delmar Ave and Emerson St. (The streets of Howell would eventually be renamed from their railroad specific names around the turn of the century). It was situated across from the original Howell Public School that later became known as Daniel Wertz.
In 1916 the church solicited the help of famed architect Clifford Shopbell to build a new church building. The brick Neoclassical structure was erected on the same site as the old structure.
A sizable addition was built in 1955 just left (north) of the church. This too would eventually be enlarged to include a second story. The church would eventually buy the old Daniel Wertz school, which moved out to South Red Bank Rd in 1986. The vacated school was purchased the following year and for a while was used for storage until it was razed around 1990.
Charles Schulte was a partner in the Schulte & Reitman sawmill on Ohio St. Its success made Schulte, who was a native of Prussia, a rich man. He built his large residence in 1878 in the Italianate style along Wabash Ave between Indiana and Illinois St. It boasted a fancy veranda, ornamental window heads, and a three-story tower and juxtaposed with the modest working-class homes nearby.
Schulte was instrumental in establishing St Boniface parish, along with several other prominent West Siders. It also interesting to note his partner, Henry Reitman, built his large home just across the street. Many may recall this house just off the Lloyd Expressway that was razed just a few years ago.
Mr. Schulte passed away around the turn of the century and his wife around 1910, so the house became available. The West Side merchant, William Scherffius, who ran his department store nearby on Franklin St purchased the house. Immediately he set to remodeling the mansion including the addition of a massive front porch. At 1400 sq ft, it was the largest in the city. It was decorated in stone and wrapped most of the house.
Scherffius too passed away sometime around the late 1920s. The house was purported to be the home of the National Youth Administration, but found its new calling when the Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) purchased the home in 1942. The clubs growth facilitated an addition which was built in 1950 just left/south of the old house, which is still in use today. The organization grew to become the largest chapter of in the United States.
By the mid 1960s the house was deemed “too costly to repair” as plans were made to replace the magnificent home with a simple one-story structure. The old home was torn down in 1966, and the new building was completed later that year adjoining the 1950s addition.
Recently there was mention in the Evansville paper about Clearcrest Country Club previously being an auto club. Have you heard of this? I grew up near there and I’m an avid car fan. It is interesting that the auto club would date to around the time the Indy track was opening…..wondered if there could be any connection between the Hulmans,Indy,the club and Evansville. THANKS for your response.
The Vanderburgh Auto Club was established when pleasue driving was all the rage. Those with cars would stroll out the major roads like Darmstadt Road or Stringtown Road and take an all-day drive. The club offered a stop for those travelers to relax and enjoy the grounds.
The farmhouse at 10521 Darmstadt Road was part of the Charles Volkman farmstead. Built in the late 1800s, it encompassed about 80 acres and was situated about 8 miles from downtown Evansville. The newly formed Vanderbugh Auto club purchased the property in 1915 and remodeled the 2-story farmhouse . Driver could cruise “through bracing country air” and stop at the auto club for a bite. Other amenities such as a stocked lake, playground, and tennis courts attracted other people to the club.
The Vanderburgh Auto Club was short-lived though, because by 1920 the facility operated as the Clear Crest Inn. It was more of a roadhouse serving food and providing evening entertainment.
The Evansville Club, a Jewish social club located in what is now the No-Ruz Grotto, was looking for property in the country as a respite from their downtown site. In 1921, they bought the old auto club, remodeled the clubhouse, and put in a golf course. The club officially opened as the Clearcrest Country Club in summer 1922.
There was a giant fire June 22, 1939, and eight people barely made it out with their lives. The buildings were a total loss, but the club rebuilt within a year. A new clubhouse, designed by Edwin Berendes, is the same one still standing today.
The golf course was sold to a private owner around 1990 and was opened to the public. It continued operating for a number of years until it finally closed late Winter 2014. It was sold at auction the next year and is currently slated to become a subdivision.
It’s been a fairly good year after several losses in 2014. We’ll optimistically say that preservation may be turning a corner as we head into the new year and downtown growth seems to be teeming.
Owen Block was a HUGE save for the Evansville community. A grass-roots effort raised a substantial sum of money, and Architectural Renovators is well under way fixing up the old apartments.
Greyhound Bus was rededicated after the panels were finished and the neon light was turned on for the first time in years. Recently it was announced that a new occupant, Bru Burger, will operate out of the old station. The Courthouse dome lights were fixed up too. The new system can change colors and brings a fresh look to the historic building.
The once proud Turner Hall was razed this fall. The social club had declined over the years and a ministry ran out of the old brick building.
Knotty Pine, a North Main St cafe, was closed for years before being razed in March. The building dating back to around 1894 was originally Ritter’s Confectionery.
Miller Furniture building across from Bosse Field has been “demolished” for nearly a year now. After razing was begun in late 2014 little has been done to the old factory. Miller built this factory along the Belt RR back in 1904