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)

Francis Pharmacy

 

Francis Pharmacy
Francis Pharmacy at Stringtown and Tennessee

Before giants like CVS and Walgreens took over, little neighborhood pharmacies were located all over the city. Francis Pharmacy was an old neighborhood pharmacy serving the northeast side. Originally in an old corner store at Stringtown Rd and Cleveland Ave (later renamed Tennessee St),  the pharmacy was one of several run by Naborhood Drugs. It served a rapidly growing part of town so much so that a larger more modern building was desired.

Architect's sketch of the new Francis Pharmacy
Architect’s sketch of the new Francis Pharmacy

A handful of old buildings along Stringtown were razed.  The trapezoid lot allowed for maximum frontage along Elliott St, Stringtown Rd, and Tennesee St.  The one-story building designed by Jack R Kinkel featured plate glass in aluminum.  The pharmacy operated in the corner store until the new structure was completed, at which time it was razed for off-street parking.

Construction began in summer 1953 and it was completed by December.  A formal grand opening was held February 12 and 13, 1954.

Grand opening flyer Francis Pharmacy
Grand opening flyer Francis Pharmacy–check out the 9¢ floats!

Francis Pharmacy served the surrounding area for decades. It was still around 90s but met its fate just as long-time pharmacies like Sandleben’s and Stratmans finally succomed to the big players. Since its closing, the building has served a variety of concerns since but presently is Northpoint Tobacco.

Francis Pharmacy had a soda fountain and was air-conditioned
Francis Pharmacy had a soda fountain and was air-conditioned
Entrance of Francis Pharmacy
Entrance of Francis Pharmacy

More on Francis Pharmacy at HistoricEvansville – http://historicevansville.com/site.php?id=francispharmacy

Bauer Building

Bauer Building

The building at 621 Main St was built in 1897 for Rouscher & Miller, dealers in choice and fancy groceries produce feed. Located at the southeast corner of Main and Delaware, it was also a corner saloon. But what makes the building unique is that it is an old Mesker storefront.  Evansville’s own Geo L. Mesker & Co. produced steel facades that could readily be applied to commercial buildings to add great ornamentation and detail cheaply.

Bauer Building at 621 and 619 N Main St
Bauer Building at 621 and 619 N Main St

The building was originally addressed 1823 Main St and built to serve the growing North Main St.  It soon became Marby’s grocery and later H Langhorst grocer.  At some point Bauer took over the building and “M Bauer” was added to the parapet atop the building.

Mesker plaque on Bauer Building
Mesker plaque on the Bauer Building

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Front facade of the Bauer Building
The building at 619 N Main St (to the right, south) was built sometime around 1930.   Through the years the buildings were a variety of concerns such as the North Side Shoe Shop, the Banner Food Market and the Koressel Market.  Below is a view of the North Main area in 1947.

N Main St 1947 with the Bauer building in blue
N Main St 1947 with the Bauer building in blue

From the 1970s until the mid 1980s, Turoni’s Pizzeria was situated there. It later moved across the street into its present location.

Turonis in the old Bauer building before moving across the street
Turoni’s in the old Bauer building before moving across the street

For several years it was the Evansville Police Department’s North office. When the branch moved in the old Christa McAuliffe alternative school at Columbia and Governor, the old building sat vacant. Recently it has found new life as the home of Jacobsville Join In, a neighborhood organization serving the North Main area.  See http://jacobsvillejoinin.com for more information

Looking at the southeast corner of Main and Delaware
Bauer Building looking at the corner of Main and Delaware

Globe-Bosse-World Furniture

Originally posted 2/10/2011

Globe-Bosse World Furniture headquarters
Globe-Bosse World Furniture headquarters

Aerial view of the Globe Bosse World Furniture with demolished buildings colored in.
Aerial view of the Globe Bosse World Furniture with demolished buildings colored in.

 

Old postcard of the Globe Bosse World
Old postcard of the Globe Bosse World
World Furniture before the building was covered with siding
World Furniture before the building was covered with siding

The Globe-Bosse-World Furniture Co helped put Evansville on the map. With three large companies combining forces, this super company showed why Evansville, with its abundant hardwood, was arguably the furniture capital of its day.

Globe-Bosse-World (G-B-W) was a result of the merger of the Globe FurnitureBosse Furniture, and World Furniture Cos. With all three companies situated near Ninth and Maryland, it made sense when they joined forces in 1910. Their size alone made them one of the largest furniture operations in the region. The company also had a hand in creating the Furniture Exchange building downtown (now the Court Building) to showcase products–sort of a salesroom for the many furniture companies in town.

The death of Mayor Bosse, the Great Depression, and aging managements contributed to the fall of several furniture companies, but G-B-W was still in operation when an enormous fire destroyed much of the company in 1946. It is still unknown when the exactly the company went out of business, but they were gone by the early 1960s.

The old offices,the World Furniture Co and the newer factory on Ninth Ave are all that remain of the great company. You can still see “World Furntiure” painted in on the old World Furniture building (south side of Maryland St). There is also a nice split down the southeast corner of Ninth and Maryland where the old Belt RR tracks used to pass by the companies, and the World Furniture building has angled walls following the outline of the railroad. The tracks have since been removed and relocated along the edge of Pigeon Creek.

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