The mighty, and I do mean mighty, Pennsylvania Railroad rumbled through Pierceton many years ago. When a railroad line came through a town it used to mean increased business in more ways than one. For one example hotels were built to accommodate railroad passengers. This building in the 100 block of East Market Street in Pierceton was originally known as the Flat Iron Hotel according to the application for the National Register of Historic Places. It sits near the railroad tracks and also near the former depot, which is also still standing by the way. Passengers getting off the train only had a short walk to the hotel. According to that same application, the building was built in about 1880 in the Italianate architectural style very common of that era. The railroad tracks caused East Market Street to “defy” the north-south street grid and the hotel was built to accommodate the block. The two-story brick building is the oldest surviving commercial building in the Pierceton Historic District. The building later served as a commercial and office building and was temporarily used as a post office after a fire destroyed the previous one. It has also served as an apartment building for several years. I’m not sure of the current use of the building.
Here’s another historic building in downtown Goshen. This week it’s the Shoots building in the 100 block of East Lincoln Avenue, the first block east of Main Street. According to the Indiana Landmarks historic structures survey, this building was built in about 1880. According to the Goshen Public Library, city directories show Hawks Messick and Co. hardware store in 1885 and 1890. I found the hardware store was owned by Frank E.C. Hawks, one of the Hawks brothers who owned several businesses in Goshen at one time. This was indicated in “History of Elkhart County.” LaCasa, which now owns the building, provided some historical information. LaCasa, as well as the Goshen Historical Museum, both noted the building had the first elevator in Goshen. There were other retail businesses on the first floor and the upstairs was used as professional offices for several years. For several more years the building was used as apartments until LaCasa bought it and renovated the building. It was also noted LaCasa found nails in the first floor spaced about 12 inches apart indicating some type of measuring, which makes sense for a hardware store. I wasn’t able to find out why the building is known as the Shoots building.
I am an avid bicycle rider and when riding along the Winona Interurban Trail just south of Goshen I noticed this old barn. It sits between Main Street (State Road 15) and the railroad tracks, south of Kercher Road. I later found out this barn was once part of the Pine Manor Farm, a well known farm in that area. It was owned by Ernest Martin, born in 1879 in England. According to the book “Goshen: The First 150 Years” Martin came to Goshen in 1912 and was the owner of the original Pine Manor Farm and the Martin subdivision. He raised fine cattle as a Guernsey breeder and also raised Percheron and Belgian horses. It is said he amassed $13 million, mostly through Canadian gold mine development. There is still a Pine Manor Farm business nearby and I’m sure it is probably connected to the original one in some way. Martin died in 1949 while living in Oregon. I saw an old photo of the original farm and it looks like it was quite an operation with multiple barns, a greenhouse and beautiful grounds. There are also some grain silos still standing on the property and you can see quite a bit of the foundation of other buildings.
I’ve posted several historic buildings here that are located in Goshen. Many of them are in the downtown area. This week’s photo is the historic Spohn building at the intersection of Main and Clinton streets. Designed by well known architect E. Hill Turnock, it was built in 1909. It originally housed the office and manufacturing facilities for Samuel Spohn’s business, the Spohn Medical Co. Produced at the facility was Spohn’s distemper and cough cure for horses and other animals. The product was sold throughout the United States and in many other countries. I’m not sure when this company dissolved, but you can still find old medicine bottles or informational booklets with the company’s name on the internet. Today the building is used for weddings, fundraisers, seminars, business meetings, banquets and other venues and is known as Spohn Ballroom. It has been beautifully restored and still has some of the original trim and other original features.
Here’s another post related to where high school basketball teams played games before they had gyms built. This one is in the small town of Sidney in southern Kosciusko County. State Road 13 is the main road coming through town and on this road is a building where Sidney High School played basketball games before the school’s gym was built in the 1920s. The building is pretty close to the railroad tracks. The basketball team played above what was then a hardware store. During that era, basketball was not nearly as popular as it is now. Many schools hesitated to build gyms (some colleges already had gyms before the 1920s). Administrators were simply not convinced basketball was worth spending much money on. Also in the same room where basketball games were played the high school used it for class plays. The building is now used by Spangles Country Crossing. I obtained this information from long time and well known high school basketball coach Bill Patrick, who played basketball for Sidney High School in the 1950s and later coached at the school. If anyone would know this information, he would.
Sorg Jewelers has been a fixture in the same location in the 100 block of South Main in downtown Goshen since the 1930s. Sigmund Sorg founded Sorg Jewelers in 1900 in Roanoke, Illinois. Roughly 30 years later, the store was opened in Goshen. Note the neat looking neon sign. I’m not sure if it has been there since the store was opened originally in Goshen, but it sure is eye catching. You will probably see in the photo at the top of the building near the roof line it says 1880 when the building was erected. According to the Goshen Public Library, city directories show Carmien Bros. was located there in 1885-86 and sold agriculture implements, hardware and seeds. The William Fiedeke Saloon was also located there. Later in the early 1900s, 1908-1909, McDowell and Boylan printers was located there. A dressmaker was also there and by 1927 Goshen Auto Equipment occupied the building. The 1933 city directory showed Sorg Jewelers in the location. This business has been in the same family for 120 years now, showing a remarkable stretch of longevity.
New Paris is a small, unincorporated community in Elkhart County. As was the case with many communities before schools consolidated in the 1960s, New Paris once had a high school (now it is part of Fairfield Community Schools). In 1927 a new high school was built in New Paris. It replaced a building that had been built in 1912. Along with the new high school a community building was built at a cost of $110,000. The New Paris Community Building was used for basketball games among other activities. Apparently the building was given the title of community building to satisfy those who had opposed a new gymnasium being built. Also in 1927, New Paris High School, with the nickname of Cubs, won its first ever basketball sectional title by defeating Elkhart and Nappanee. The building still stands as shown in the photo and is now used by a church for basketball games and other activities. It is located on Division Street. New Paris was fortunate to have a facility such as this for basketball games. I have seen an old photo of the building when it was first built and not much has changed in the outer appearance.
Since I’ve been taking photos of historical buildings in this area I’ve noticed sometimes it is obvious a building is older, sometimes you have to look a little closer or sometimes you can’t tell at all because of remodeling. This week’s building has the look of an older building. I’m sure it has probably changed some, but it appears not to the extent some buildings have. It is located on Jefferson Street in downtown Goshen, just west of Main Street or State Road 15. According to information found in old city directories, it appears the building was originally an automobile dealership owned by Clyde Werner in the 1930s. When I look at this building, I can tell it was probably an auto lot. Keep in mind in the 1930s, there were probably only a couple of cars at the most on display at one time. Later the building was known as Smith Auto Supply. More recently there was a garage but I am told the man who ran it has retired. There is still an auto parts business using part of the building. To the best of my knowledge the building has always had some connection to automobiles.
I’ve driven by the building in the photo several times, but until recently I never took the time to explore the history of the building. It says “Mayfield Block” on the building, which is located at Main and Douglas streets near downtown Goshen. For several years and multiple generations, Bradford & Sons Grocery occupied the building. Abraham Bradford, and his son, Miles P. Bradford, founded the grocery store at its current location in 1908. The roots of the store go back to 1901 when H.F. Phillipi had a store in the 100 block of South Main Street. It was eventually moved to 701 S. Main and the Bradfords took ownership of it. I am told it remained in the Bradford family until Joseph Bradford, and his wife, Lois, retired in 1969. The building then sat vacant for three years until it became a butcher shop. I do know it became a hair salon in 2016, but I don’t know if it is still in business now. The Mayfield building was renovated by the couple who owned the hair salon. I would guess the building dates to the pre 1900s, but I am not sure.
For the second week in a row my post is something in Nappanee. By the railroad tracks along State Road 19 you will see a large building that was once a grain elevator. According to information provided to me by the Nappanee Public Library, this was originally known as the Nappanee Milling Co. Inc., which started in 1886 and was owned by the Coppes brothers Frank, John and Sam. Not longer after it started the name was changed to Coppes Bros. and then in 1890 when local attorney Daniel Zook entered the partnership, it became known as Coppes Bros. and Zook. Milling flour, a saw mill and a box factory were all part of the business at that time. The flour mill was eventually sold in 1920 to another business.The Coppes brothers and Zook purchased a furniture company in the early 1900s. Later the building along SR 19 was primarily a grain elevator as I recall. I could be mistaken, but I believe Supersweet Feeds was once located here. My father worked for that company as a salesman. I don’t know if he worked out of the Nappanee location or not. I’m sure there were other names for the business through the years, but I don’t know anything specific.