Cooking up something good

Lucas Neuffer – a man with a vision

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.

An early photo of the house from the Evansville Illustrated book (circa 1901)

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

https://www.facebook.com/cookmansionrestoration/

Old St Mary’s Hospital

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.

Postcard of St Mary Hospital c1900

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.

1920s addition, now used by a staffing company

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.

Nurses Home shortly after it was built

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.

View of the hospital from First and Columbia c1930
Aerial c1940. St Anthony is in the foreground
St Mary demolition May 25, 1959

Celebrate Evansville’s Centennial – 70 Years Later

 

Evansville’s 100th Birthday float passes the Victory Theater showing Duel in the Sun

The Vanderburgh County Historical Society in partnership with Willard Library is sponsoring a presentation by Vanderburgh County Historian Stan Schmitt on Evansville’s Centennial Parade in May of 1947. Stan’s presentation begins at 6:30 PM on May 11, 2017 in the Browning Gallery of Willard Library. The event is free and open to the public. Advance reservations are appreciated. Call (812) 425-4309, ext. 117 to reserve a space.

Stan’s presentation revolves around never before seen color footage of the parade. The color footage is a part of the estate of Janet Noelting Robinson. Janet’s father, Elmer Noelting shot 16 MM film footage of various events in Evansville during the 1930s and 1940s. The footage was donated to the Vanderburgh County Historical Society (VCHS) by Janet’s estate. VCHS has converted several of the films into digital format. Evansville’s Centennial Parade footage is shot on Main Street Evansville. In addition to footage of floats commemorating special events in Evansville’s history, the film also includes numerous shots from various angles of downtown Evansville.

The Evansville Chamber of Commerce sponsored the Parade and paid for the floats depicting Evansville’s history. Business and organizations created their own floats. Represented are Servel, International Harvester, International Steel, and Evansville College among others. Marching bands from the area joined in the parade. Reitz, Central, Lincoln, and Mater Dei are a few of the bands that marched.

Miss Evansville Finalists, not in order: Patsy Small, Marquerite Weedman, Amolea Bosecker, Mary Jane Gray, Julia Mayton, Norman Jean Winterheimer and Phyllis Schriber.

We will provide time for audience participation and discussion. If you can help us identify people in the parade or have stories about the people involved or the parade itself, we welcome your input.

100 Years Old: Cadick Apartments

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.

Architect sketch of the Cadick Apartments , a new “Florentine” style building

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.

Cadick Apartments under construction January 1917

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.

1st St from Locust during the 1937 Flood. McCurdy at right and Cadick beyond the old Elks Home at left.
Apartments today 100 years young (photo from Vanderburgh County Assessor)

The Personal Side of Glenn Black: Indiana’s Archaeologist Revealed

Glenn Black

Thursday, February 9, 6:00 p.m.
Willard Library Browning Gallery
21 First Avenue◊Evansville, Indiana 47710

Using newly-acquired images and artifacts, Mike Linderman, Western Regional Manager for Indiana State Historic Sites, will discuss the work of  Glenn Black , a pioneering archaeologist who conducted several decades of scientific excavations at Angel Mounds before his death in 1964.

This event will be only the second time the items have been shown publicly, with many new ones added since the first program. Several of their personal items will be on display, many from their home at Angel Mounds.

This program is sponsored by Willard Library, the Vanderburgh County Historical Society, and Angel Mounds; it is free and open to the public, but reservations are appreciated; to register, visit www.willard.lib.in.us or call (812) 425-4309, ext. 117.

The Personal Side of Glenn Black:  Indiana’s Archaeologist Revealed

In 2015 a large collection of Glenn and Ida Black’s personal items were offered to the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites from a Great-Niece living in Indianapolis.  Earlier attempts to find their personal belongings came up with a story of all of it being destroyed and thrown away.  What was found were over 1,700 images on photos and slides of their lives, the first time that any of them had ever been seen outside of the family.  The photos and slides document their time at Angel Mounds, time with their families before moving to the site and trips with Eli and Ruth Lilly across the country.

 

Barwe Butcher Shop

Barwe construction 1904

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 Butcher Shop 1910 Sanborn

 

1926 Ad Barwe

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 Butcher Shop, with Barwe’s 1930 bungalow next door at right

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

 

Celebrate Indiana’s Bicentennial with the Vanderburgh County Historical Society

ice-gorge-1936-2
Ice Gorge in Evansville, IN February 1936
willkie-1940-1
Wendell Willkie’s Speech at Bosse Field in October 1940

The Vanderburgh County Historical Society (VCHS) and the Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science, team to show never before seen film of Evansville in the 1930s and 1940s. The source 16 MM films were donated to the VCHS by the estate of Janet Noelting Robinson. The Noelting family owned and operated Faultless Caster in Evansville, and Janet’s father, Elmer, began filming in the late 1920s. Most films were of family holidays and vacation, but some were of special events in the Evansville area.

The November 17th presentation in the Evansville Museum’s Koch Immersive Theater begins at 6:00 PM and includes four films. Since seating is limited please call the museum at 812-425-2406 for a complimentary reservation.

The Strike at Faultless Caster in September of 1933 is presented by Jon Carl of FJ Reitz High School. This black and white footage shows strikers in front of Faultless Caster on Stringtown Road. Strikers, many of them women, hold signs and protest their employer. Jon’s presentation will give background and details about the strike, strikers, and owners. `

The Ice Gorge of 1936 is presented by Tom Lonnberg, Curator of History at the Evansville Museum. The Ohio River at Evansville froze over in February of 1936. This motion picture footage shows multiple views of the river and the boats frozen in the water.

The Opening of Washington Elementary School September 1937 presented by Joe Engler of HistoricEvansville.com. This color footage shows students entering the grounds and building of Washington Elementary for the first time. The Noelting family has titled this film Janet’s New School. A young Janet Noelting is seen walking into the new school shown in a near rural setting.

Wendell Willkie Campaigns in Evansville in October 1940 is presented by Dr. Denise Lynn, Professor of History at the University of Southern Indiana. Willkie, an Indiana native, was Franklin Roosevelt’s Republican opponent in the election on 1940. Willkie’ s campaign stopped here for a political rally at Bosse Field. Elmer Noelting filmed the rally in color.

For additional information, check the VCHS web site at www.vchshistory.org or the VCHS Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/vchshistory/.

A History of Local High School Football by Dan Engler

VCHS HS FOOTBALL

Dan Engler’s passion for covering Reitz high school football and sports in general began over 20 years ago. In high school, he played for the Panthers and served on the staff of the Reitz Mirror. Shortly after his graduation in 1996, he created what has become Indiana’s oldest high school football website, ReitzFootball.com.

After creating a sister site now known as AlmanacSports.com, Engler, along with his brother Joe, have chronicled the history of Southwestern Indiana high school football and soccer.

In addition to his online work, Engler’s writing has been published in several local newspapers, including the Evansville Courier & Press. He also worked for the now-defunct NEWS25 Sports Channel providing live statistics for their weekly live games and has refereed football for 20 years.

Dan’s talk will cover all teams with a heavy focus on traditional powerhouses over time.

September 22 @ 6:30 pm8:00 pm  

Willard Library

Facebook Event Page

Schnute, Holtmann Co

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.

1906 advertisement for Schnute, Holtmann Co
1906 advertisement for Schnute, Holtmann Co

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.

Universal Manufacturing ad 1919
Universal Manufacturing ad 1919

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.

Heidelbach Ave c1950. At right is the Evansville Warehouse Co. St Paul Lutheran is in the distant left
Heidelbach Ave c1950. At right is the Creasey Co. St Paul Lutheran is in the distant left (Photo courtesy of Donna Cartwright)

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.

Remnants of the Evansville Warehouse fire Oct 29, 1953
Remnants of the Evansville Warehouse fire Oct 29, 1953