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AS I REMEMBER MADISON IN THE LATE 1890S
By Dean L. Miller
In the later part of the 19th Century and the early 1900s—Dean L. Miller was born in 1886 and died August 12, 1974 in his 88th year.
Beginning at the West End of the old town of Madison, at the mouth of Crooked Creek, there were two houses said to have been used in the Underground Railway during the Civil War—as slaves came across the Ohio River and hid in these during the daylight hours—then moved on by night when all was clear. Going on east upstream we found the Bronner Bros. Boatyard, where smaller boats were built and repaired—they kept quite busy for several decades. (This land was adjacent to the Country Club property and now of course is a part of the Indiana-Kentucky Power Plant complex grounds.) In my early years, the golf course was known as the Beech Grove Fairgrounds and had a racetrack that several folks have seen pictures of. It must have been about 2 ½ miles completely around. Older residents of Madison tell us also that during the Civil War in the 1860s was a Union Army Camp and Hospital and Barracks—and we have heard Miss Drusilla Cravens tell that she had information that the hospital here was about the second or third largest at that time. The Fairgrounds was also used by several large Circuses in the days of my youth. Adjacent to the Fairgrounds along the River was the Madison Marine Ways (Shipyard) which provided a livelihood for a large portion of the men in West Madison. We might note that West Madison was a separate community, electing their own Town Board and carrying on all their affairs of the folks living West of the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks—however, it was annexed as a part of Madison in 1910.
My Dad (W. H. Miller) having been an old River Man—he and all of us in the family have long been interested in river lore-boats and river traffic. For those who have never heard or seen the operation around the shipyard, we might tell you that the operation there consisted of eight cradles or wooden devices that traveled on 16 tracks or ways from low water level of the river up the bank. The cradles would be worked under the boat to be repaired, then by cables on wenches pulled up the ways and scaffold-like equipment made them steady and safe to be worked. My Dad first set foot in Madison when he came ashore at the shipyard from the Steamer Spread Eagle, for the purpose of helping transfer the boilers and machinery to a new hull and a newer boat. From the stories that Dad told us and also what I have heard from other folks that worked in the shipyard, we could no doubt fill several pages-but we must move on in this humble effort to relate as much as possible and make our way upstream.
Possibly less than a half mile east were two brickyards, using native clay from the area and baking them in the kilns south of First Street and in the river bottom area (the Kimmel and Ross families operated these, and later in the early 1900s W. H. Miller had an interest in the Madison Brick Co.). Not too far east of the brickyards was a big industry for the lower-end of town, in the Clements Starch Factory, which produced starch from corn that was brought to Madison in large quantities both from the river in barges and via the Pennsylvania Railroad in freight cars. The farmers from some miles distant came with wagons to haul the residue of the corn after starch was extracted, this they fed to fatten their hogs. Just east of the Clements complex was the Moffett Saw Mill with local workmen whose job it was to produce boards and timber of hardwood—a lot of which was brought via rafted method from the Kentucky and Big Sandy Rivers. Next, was a stockyard for holding cattle and hogs adjacent to the railroad tracks—some to be killed and processed here and others to be shipped to markets live. (This facility was on the site of a part of what is now the Madison city sewage disposal plant.) Just across the railroad tracks, east was another large industry-Johnson Starch Works operating along the same lines as aforementioned at the Clements facility. These two starch industries and also some of the iron foundries and stove manufacturing shops, were manned by a lot of the “Irish” that had come to Madison to help build the railroad incline and tracks, and when that was completed in the late 1840s, they for the most part stayed here and found work in this river town that was in its heyday—some tell us that for a period just prior to the Civil War, Madison was one of the largest and richest cities in Indiana. The old settlers also told us that it wasn’t uncommon to see 10 or more barges moored near the starch works landing-loaded with either corn or the finished starch product heading downstream-some also brought cattle and hogs to ship via rail and sometimes it took two hill engine locomotives to pull the long trainloads of this freight to the North, East and Western points.
Just a few lines about the Railroad commonly called, as I recall, the old “J M & I” (Jeffersonville, Madison & Indianapolis) that played a large part in the early growth and progress in the rail transportation for southern Indiana. Folks may have heard that this is the steepest incline in the world, not using cog or cable. For a short time the rail cars had to be pulled up to North Madison by oxen or several teams of horses-finally the renowned hill engine was brought and put into service, a truly masterful craftsmanship with power and reliability named the “Reuben Wells” after the master mechanic that supervised the building of the locomotive. Other engines also used were built by a facility owned by the Bright family. (Today these old steam engines have been replaced by powerful diesels, and the tracks and all equipment are all in a sad state of repairs and the present owners are behind in paying taxes and are asking permission to discontinue and abandon this once vital artery to Hoosier land progress). In closing about the good old days of the Railroad from the late 1840s until June 1935, we had two passenger trains out north and two trains bringing tradesmen, drummers (traveling salesmen) and visitors to our city—likewise it afforded homefolks an outlet to see more of the world and visit at our convenience. Before the depression of the 1930s—it was usually customary for a Sunday excursion from Indianapolis and way points to come to the end of the line at Madison about once or twice a month during summer. A lot of folks would bring their picnic lunch and the kids and spread the lunch on the grass at John Paul Park, just about 3 blocks North of the depot on West First Street. Freight, especially coal, moved from river to coal cars to the north as it was a regular sight to see a dozen or so coal cars being loaded at the elevator of “Middleton & Wymond” on Front Street at the foot of Pearl Street and then taken up the hill to keep the wheels of industry moving in other parts of Indiana.
Just a short distance east upstream from the Middleton & Wymond Elevator and Coal Yard was Lee Robinson’s Saw Mill (about World War I era, this was rebuilt and run as the Columbus Handle & Tool Company. This was destroyed by fire in 1928). Not too far east along Front Street was the Dow & Brown Saw Mill that received a lot of hardwood timber rafted down from the same sources aforementioned in the story of the Moffett Saw Mill in the West End. The “Brown” referred to in the Dow & Brown firm was the father of J. Graham and his brother, Martin, who prospered in the lumber business. Graham Brown gave Madison its first gym on Broadway in memory of his brother, Martin. He later gave Hanover College several million dollars. Also, the Dow & Brown Sawmill furnished quite a lot of good lumber for the trade at W. H. Miller’s building facility in the 1880 and 1890 period.
Let’s backtrack and go north a block to First Street and tell those who will be interested in this treatise, that on the east side of Vernon Street a large building was located between First and Second Streets, used by the Madison Marine Company, owned by “Stribling and Walsh” that did quite a lot of work on steam engines for the river carriers and also built steel smoke stacks. (This building was torn down and a portion of the area is used for large transformers of the Public Service Company). Going east on First Street at the corner of Plum Street (southwest corner) was the Page Flour Mill, a three story and very busy industry about 70 years ago, having been built in 1854 after the milling of flour, the firm decided to concentrate on running a feed store, the quarters were taken over by the Madison Stove Foundry (making) iron cooking and heating stoves. This business closed down about Word War I era. The building was a similar facility in back of the present lumberyard on Second Street (near where A-1 Plumbing has the shop today). In 1959 lightning struck the planning mill on Plum Street, causing considerable damage and the 3rd floor was removed—the planing mill is now in charge of my son, Jack. The lumberyard on West Main Street is in charge of my other two boys, Graham and Billy. On east to the corner of Mill and First Streets was the passenger depot of the Pennsylvania Railroad, as mentioned previously.
Before proceeding further, we by-passed some buildings or industries near Depot Street (now called Cragmont Street) just north of “Johnson Starch Works” the Johnson family had built a cardage mill, then in the 1880s, they bought the Eagle Cotton Mill and used that building mostly for storage of starch and cotton to be used in the East End factory. After the Tower Manufacturing Company (tack factory burned in December 1919) they moved their operations to that building on Cragmont & Second Street. In that same general area on West First Street a firm called Towers & Matthews had a factory making wooden butter dishes, and at one time Towers & Cravens had a cooperage shop just west of Middleton & Wymond (they made wooden barrels).
Back to Mill Street just south of the passenger depot was a canning factory owned by the Hitz family who formerly owned a large part of a farm where the State Hospital is today. This later became the Snider Catsup Factory and on the west side of Mill Street was Peter Fertig’s Saloon (now the Kuzlen home). Back of the Hitz Canning factory was the frieght depot which, prior to the Civil war, was a pork house. Across the street from the freight depot was a small frame building, a scale house for R. McKim Coal Co. They unloaded barges at the foot of (the) Elm Street river landing. Then this fine home was the McKim & Chochran Furniture Factory. It burned in 1937 and is now a part of a park maintained by the State of Indiana as a memorial to Miss Drusilla Cravens, a granddaughter of Mr. Lanier, and a prime mover of the development of that shrine to his memory. (Formerly the Furniture Factory was the site of “Neal’s Foundry”).
Going south on Elm Street was a Cooperage Shop for Trow’s Mill on the alley, and six cottages for workmen at the flour mill, then W. Trow Flour Mill on Broadway and Front Streets (after the 1937 flood the flour mill and cottages became “Crystal Beach”). Across the street on Broadway was a vacant lot until the early 1920’s when a tobacco warehouse was built (this is now Kiwanis Park). On the Southeast corner is a large mansion type home, sometimes called “Woodburn Place”. In about 1910 it was the home of Rev. Franklin Smith. Across First Street on the Trow’s Flour Mill northeast corner, of course, still is the Presbyterian Church (In 1925 the “Brown Gym” was built and in 1928 “Madison High School” opened in the building now called “Ivy Tech”).
Back to Front Street between Poplar Street and Central Street was a coal yard owned by the Pratt family, later McKibbon & Hughes (Bayard Hughes) Tobacco Warehouse:, now a part of the River Terminal facility. Back up Poplar Street was the Mellish Pearl Button Factory that bought mussel shells from river men to make buttons (this was later “Hill Boat Shop” that burned about 1946). Over on the northeast corner of Central Street and Front Street was the Red Onion Saloon. Then on the northwest corner of West Street was a very fine hotel (New Western) damaged extensively in 1884 by the high water and after the 1913 flood called it quits. Across the street on the northeast corner was the Madison Motor Boat Co. and next going up the east side of West Street was Madison Planing Mill, they did a lot of work for the W. H. Miller firm. (These buildings were on the site where the City Park is west of “Cox Post Yard”). Snook Tobacco Warehouse was north of the Hotel and Johnson Foundry was on the alley on the east side (the Johnson Foundry burned and the site is now the Riverview Apartments).
Later along the River Front, Cox & Conn had a post yard, then up at Jefferson was the Madison Can Company. About all that is left along the river east was the landing of the ferry for the steamer J. C. Abbott and later the steamer, Trimble. At a spot just above Ferry Street was the Madison Water Works pumping station, and service pipes to the reservoir back of the site that is now the Hillside Hotel, which was built and opened in 1924. Coming down Second Street from Ferry Street was the Madison Brewery, run by Albert Greiner (Walter’s Dad. A portion is now Mayflower Transfer and Storage).
We passed up or failed to mention that a focal point of the river trade was the Madison Wharf boat, for many years moored at the foot of West Street. Early history of Madison tells of the many boats from Louisville to Cincinnati that stopped here bringing passengers and varied freight. From the early 1900’s folks recall the old familiar whistle of the packet steamer, Hattie Brown that operated from Warsaw, Kentucky to Vevay then over to Carrollton, stopping at Brooksburg and other landings to pick up passengers, livestock, foodstuff, or other goods. Arriving at Madison every day just before noon, she shoved off about 2:00 p.m. for the return trip. Later, of course, it was the White Dove, Revonah, steamer, Hanover or many, many more. River travelers, in addition to stopping at the New Western, also patronized the Washington House and the William Tell House on Mulberry Street (these were located near the Information Center on the Southeast corner of Mulberry Street and Front Street). Coming back west downtown Madison we found the Eagle Cotton Mill on Church Street (built in 1884). The Richard Johnson, Sr. family operated this for several years and provided jobs for folks all over Madison (This site is now Meese, Inc.). The railroad at the time ran up Front Street about to the Water Works, mainly to handle goods of the cotton mill. Of course, folks of my age can recall the operation of the Richwood Distillery just above Milton, that helped in many ways the business folks of Madison and provided jobs for many on both sides of the river. We passed up mentioning that there was a cooperage shop and paper mill about where the Jr. Chamber of Commerce Park is today. These were run by Gam Thomas and family.
The area east of Ferry Street was known as Fulton and, like West Madison, they were separate from old Madison. They had their own school and town board. Near Harrison Street were the remains of the Isom Ross’ tanyard. Going west down High or First Street on the corner of Jefferson Street and First Street was Schofield Woolen Mill where they made woolen blankets (this is now Meyer and Sons) just south, across First Street the old stone building was used by the Kahn brothers as a slaughterhouse and stable for their horses. Of course the gas house was very much in operation, making gas from coal and selling coke, the quarters are used now for storage and maintenance tools. Jefferson Street has always been a busy street with varied business houses. The courthouse market stands about three times a week during the growing season and in my youth, had three or four livery stables just off Main Street.
Going west on Second Street, several businesses, and the Madison and Central Hotels. In 1950s the Hotel Madison was torn down. The block on Mulberry Street from Main Street to Second Street was the first to be paved in Madison. The merchants in that area had the City put down brick in the early 1900 years. Around the Mulberry Street and Second Street intersection also was the Cal Francis and Charles Courtney blacksmith shop,(and) Oscar Oliver & Son, dealers in eggs, poultry and produce, also, Charles M. Short & Son, fresh produce and oysters and fish in the cooler months. On the alley, back of the Central Hotel, was another small accommodation called the Ione Hotel. Goyet & Vogel Commission House, dealer in eggs and poultry was in the building where Don Muster has (is) at this time. Walter Kahn had a livery and stable between the Muster property and the alley (now used by the Courier for storage).The Demaree brothers had a livery stable back of Oliver’s property. Later, of course, the Demaree stable was a garage and salesroom for “Hudson & Essex” autos. A very popular Italian couple, Mr. & Mrs. Tony Dasta had a fruit stand, next was Pardy’s Restaurant and on the alley on the east side of Mulberry Street was John Zimmerer’s bakery (now Hentz). Across the alley on the north was Sulzer Bros, buyers of rags, scrap iron, roots and herbs. In this area was Champ Kahn’s meat shop and three or four barber shops just off Main Street (Ben Fisk and Jake Harr, barbers, also had public bathrooms. For a quarter men folk could take a hot tub bath, with soap and towel furnished).
Let’s go back down to Second Street. In the area between the Madison Hotel, on the alley, there was a large shady yard with good size Catalpa trees. The yard must have been about one hundred feet square. Sometimes churches and clubs would hold lawn fetes or ice cream socials in that yard, lit up with Japanese lanterns strung on wire between the large trees (The Madison Hotel had been built by Francis Costigan after he had finished the Lanier Home and the Shrewsbury house. He built the hotel in 1850 and about 1950 it and other nearby property was razed for the Kroger Super Market). Going west on the south side of Second was the Walter Mundt & Son candy factory, then an office and storage area of Thomas Graham Company (these were razed and a two story brick garage was built there in the early 1920s by Penn Maddox and a lot of Model “T” Ford cars were sold to folks on both sides of the river from that auto outlet). On the corner of West Street and Second Street was a three story brick used by Sulzer Bros. for storage of roots and herbs and his others purchases (This was Marcus Sulzer who was mayor here for two terms, his brother, Louis was his partner until he died. The Maddox and Sulzer property were destroyed by a big fire in February 1942. This was about the largest property loss by fire in Madison’s history, estimated at better than $400,000. Sulzer was out of business, but Vail’s were using that building for storage).
On the southwest corner of West Street and Second Street was a four story brick building for several years used as a woolen mill. We heard that it was rebuilt after a bad fire in 1890, then the firm went broke. The building was vacant for several years (Most recent occupant was John Naill and the Madison Lumber Company. Mr. Naill died in 1973). On the northwest corner, we were told, is where Trow Flour Mill was before they moved to Broadway Street and Front Street. Other mills or feed stores were there and it has been used for several years by Vawter Irwin. Going down Second Street on the corner of Central Avenue was a school building. It was originally built for Madison High School, but after the Central School across the street closed, that became the Senior High School. The former building was called “Grammar School” and on the second floor the assembly hall was where Lide White started having the boys playing basketball about 1910. (Most of my family, brothers and sister, went to Madison High School in the building now used by the American Legion).
Going on down Second Street were several fine residences but the next business of note we mentioned before was the furniture factory run by the Graham and Colgate families under the name of “McKim & Cochrane Company”. We remember that down on the north end of Pearl Street and Second Street was a brick building that at one time was a spice & coffee mill outlet. This was bought by my dad and was used as our planing mill until it burned in 1919. Where Everett Goins lives now, used to be the building of John Klein’s Grocery and Saloon.
Let’s go to the end of West Main Street. The large two-story brick was the West Madison School (Later owned by Ed McKinney, Dr. Whitsitt and more recently called the Stanley Olmstead Apartments. I recall one of the teachers there was Miss Bess Stackhouse and she later married Frank Hitz.) We remember a blacksmith shop on the north side about a couple of blocks from the school in West Madison. This later became the site of the West Madison Church. A lot of old-timers called this the “Blue Goose” Church. But I can’t recall the reason. Below the bridge on West Main Street there were three or four groceries. Ollie Holwager, Charles Benson, Hammel’s (later Pete Metzger) and a saloon on the south side at the end of the railroad bridge run by Slapjack Murphy. On the north side of West Main were ice houses (Stone buildings storing ice cut from ponds along crooked Creek and packed in saw dust, to be used in the summertime). A man named Cordrey was one and Louis Holwager another. (Holwager, later with Dr. Townsend, owned the Grand Opera House and the Little Grand Movie houses).We can recall also that the incoming train used to stop just below the bridge and steps came up from the tracks to Main Street and folks of the West End could get off and not go on to the depot. Alongside of the railroad incline on the west was a sand bank, lime kiln and at one time a cement block shop. These were run by Harrison Conway. Also, in that area was a slaughterhouse of John and Harvey Cisco along Crooked Creek. They both had meat shops on West Main Street. There used to be a road along the hill to the Hitz farms but this was abandoned shortly after the State bought that acreage for the State Hospital about 1908. While very young we recall that horse cars of the street railway had a turntable before the tracks crossed the railroad bridge. At that time this was the end of the line and it ran east up Main Street and out Walnut Street to Aulenbach Avenue, and also a line did go on East up Main Street to Church Street to Second Street and to the Madison Brewery area near Ferry Street where there was another turntable. Electric street cars came to Madison in 1895. About 1905 when the Chautauqua and the fairgrounds were drawing folks to that entertainment area, the Street Railway put tracks down to in front of the State Hospital Pumping Station at the west end of Main Street. When the Madison Country Club took over the old fairgrounds and put in the golf course, some of our golfers and caddies would ride the street cars. The street cars went out about July 1,1919. After World War I the auto took over a lot of folks means of travel. During my school days I can recall while living on the northwest corner of Wall Street and Main Street, several big circuses came and thrilled the local folks in the ball park of Irish hollow. Some I recall were the John Robinson outfit and he (had) the first auto I ever saw in 1894. Later about 1910 the Sells-Floto Circus & Rodeo was there. About 1896 William Cody, better known as “Buffalo Bill” brought a circus and rodeo to the center of the racetrack at the fairgrounds of Beech Grove, which we mentioned before.
Going back to the south side of West Main Street above the railroad bridge, George Metzger had a dry goods store where the Laundromat is today. On Main Street Charles Bowman had a broom shop. “Kaltenbach Shoe Shop” and also a shoe repair shop of Pap Gaumer which was the meeting place for the boys of the West End where they had half soles and metal heel plates put on the heels of the shoes so they could make more noise in school. On the corner of Depot Street (now Cragmont) and Main Street, north corners, were John Waltz Grocery and Zeiser’s Bakery. On the south side of Main Street was M. J. Bowman’s grocery and the quarters of the Citizen’s Building Association. On the east corner was Cisco’s meat shop. Next to Zeiser’s place was Bill Peak’s broom shop and east of Cisco’s meat shop on the alley was Bethel Church and then William Heberhart’s drug store (later Wetzel’s and then Perry & Dunbar), then a grocery store and Henry Schnauer’s feed store (a beauty college later). In 1886 W. H. Miller bought a vacant lot in the 800 block and started in the lumber business, now run by the third generation. The only other business in Madison still run by the same family is “Lodge Hardware”, third generation.
The Miller property joined Charles Henry’s boiler shop. (He was Irene Dunne’s grandfather and they lived where Mrs. Bob Haak lives now while Irene went to school in Madison). Robert Henry ran the shop for his father and they made boilers for a lot of the boats on the river as well as for some of the factories in town. Going up Main Street on the southwest corner of Vernon Street was Shambach’s grocery (later George Frank and now the “Star Store”). On the east side of Vernon Street was Pete Requet’s saloon and they had a watering trough for the horses on the street side and in front on Main Street they had platform scales to weigh wagons (of course, while being weighed and the horses watered, the drivers could get a nickel beer and a free lunch at that spa). Up on the next corner (Plum Street) was Zeigler Bakery (later Louis Rivaud grocery) and in a frame building, Ed Trigg’s barber shop (these two buildings were torn down and the late Mike Garber built a brick home on the site). Across the street a little west of where Plum Street ends, was the General Milton Stapp property, and in 1844, so we were told, Henry Clay, a notable of that era, came to Madison on a political jaunt and made a speech under a large elm tree in the Stapp yard near Main Street. (This home was last occupied by Freida and Laura Bach.) The old elm had to be cut and was sawed into small chunks and sold for souveniers. Next to the Stapp place, west, a large frame was the home of Charles Wymond of the coal supply firm, going east was another large frame setting back off of Main Street and occupied by Mr. Taylor (later owned by Lee Yunker and now by James Demaree) then a large brick mansion owned by the Brunings (this later was the Madison Clinic operator’s parking space). Next door west of the Lower Seminary School was Dr. R. W. Cochran’s home (later owned by Dr. Whitsitt). Lower Seminary School was heated by a couple of large pot bellied, cast iron stoves in each room and they didn’t have electric lights when I was a student there from 1894 to 1900. In the southeast corner of the schoolyard was the station of Western Fire Company #3 where they kept a steam pumper, a hose reel and three horses. I belonged to this company for several years (that building was torn down in 1924 when the new Lydia Middleton School was opened. The city built a new engine house adjacent to the Miller lumberyard). Across the street from what is now the Madison Clinic, the large brick two story home on the southeast corner of Plum Street was the home of W. H. Miller after he moved from the Wall Street residence. He died there at the age of 105. About 1920 the frame two-story east of dad’s house, was the home of Homer Long, Principal of Madison High School. Next was a two story brick, the meat shop and family residence of Harvey Cisco (Now Margie’s Antique Shop) Next door east was the Madison Light & Power electric generating plant and the street car barn for the electric cars. Madison replaced gas street lights with electric in the 1890s.
The next business going east on West Main Street is the John Hoefling barber shop (now operated by his son, Carl, who started barbering after he finished the eighth grade and has been working there for over 60 years). Across the street on the northwest corner of Mill Street was Ed Zeiser’s saloon (now the “Economy Clearners”). On the northeast corner was a grocery run by Louis Ernst, Sr. (now a beauty shop). On the southeast corner Fred Miller had a bakery and grocery (later Vincent’s grocery, now “The Attic”). Going on east up Main Street a two-story brick was Mary Ernst’s grocery, later C. T. Branham, Peace & Lohrig. Fred Freidersdorf had a chicken hatchery, now it’s a Laundromat. Next door east was Mose Ach’s dry goods store. (This later was Heitling’s grocery, Ray Sherman’s grocery and now a ceramic pottery outlet). Across the street was the Union Brewery operated by the Peter Weber family. This, after prohibition, was used by the Hampton Cracker Co. until they moved to Louisville and Meese, Inc. made iceless ice cream shipping jackets and canvas baskets there until a bad fire in 1939 razed that old landmark (Meese moved into the old “Eagle Cotton Mill” and are still in business and a new one story brick building was built on the site and is now the Wesbecker Tractor & Implement Co.). Going out Vine Street back of the old brewery was the United Brethren Presbyterian Church, on the southwest corner. It was later called the Willard Hall (Mrs. George Denny and some other women formed a Loyal Temperance Legion and made a recreation center out of this building in the 1920s, offering membership to boys and young men and the use of this facility for basketball and other athletic pursuits, if they would sign a pledge to refrain from smoking and drinking. I guess that was the first “Boy’s Club”. The death of some of the sponsors saw it fold up. (The property was bought by John Knoebel, the father of Alois, who tore it down and built a nice residence on the site.) The First Baptist Church has been on the north side of the alley on Vine Street for over a hundred years and they have bought and expanded around the corner of Third Street to the parsonage on the alley on Third, south of the Costigan home.
The library was on the southeast corner of Elm and Main Streets (now a part of Lytle Mortuary). On up Main Street a two story brick on the alley had various occupants (moved so fast we can’t recall). Sidney Morton had a shoe shop along in the area before WWI. A building next to William Kahn’s residence and meat shop was used at different times as a Holiness type church. In the late 1920s or early 1930s Earl Storm bought the Broadway Hotel (southwest corner) a landmark for 100 years, run for along time by Mike Finnegan, bought by Fred Koehler and John Neihouse from the Finnegan heirs and now owned and operated by the Clifford Taflinger family.
Toward the river on Broadway were two livery stables that were very busy before the auto age, Mel Litson on the west side and John Feuerstein on the East. The Litson stable was Bennett Motor Co. until they moved to the hilltop and the Feuerstein facility was Elmer Brown’s garage until he died then Glass Dairy used the building until they built on the hilltop. For several years the local Social Security Office used the front portion as their offices, they also moved to the hilltop. Some furniture outlets have followed the social security renters on Broadway and Montgomery Ward is in the Litson building (however, the property for several years belonged to the Harry Stanley heirs until sold to Clifford Taflinger).
My earliest recollection of the southeast corner of Broadway & Main Streets was the Vogeler Drug Store. Those folks sold out to W. H. Peters and went to Cincinnati, Ohio to start a wholesale drug firm, McKesson-Vogeler. Bill Wetzel worked for Peter’s Drug Store until he bought John Baum out . It was the old Heberhart store in 1926. Across the street on the northeast corner was the Shannon mill, also on the north side of Main was Charles Schelke’s watch repair and Peter Hertz Saloon (afterwards a delicatessen, the first place make and sell potato chips) and Walker Furniture Store. Across the alley was Taylor-Hitz Flour Mill & Bakery run by J. J. Kasper, Andrew Augustin Grocery, George Lotz Shoe Repair, Herbert Mountjoy Dry Cleaners and John Weber’s grocery. Going back we might say that after Shannon, the mill on the corner was run by Page (That corner became Fred Koehler’s Auto & Tire Shop in 1928, now is the natural gas service office).
On the south side of Main Street leaving the drug store is Mary Ernst’s millinery store, Mundt’s candy store, Winfield’s bakery (most of these are now part of the Koehler property). Crossing the alley was the Nicklaus wholesale grocery (before 1896 the Madison Post Office was in the alley of the Nicklaus block where Speigel’s is now.) The last two stores next to Poplar were the Dehner Clothing and Shoe Store. (The post office moved to the new building on Third Street in1896). Nicklaus sold out to Elmer E.Scott and it is now called Scott Block (now the Sherwin-Williams Paint store, “Time Finance”, and “Sears”. Basketball was played on the second floor prior to WWI and Knights of Pythias Lodge meetings were held there). Going across Poplar was W.W. Burke Drygoods (later Charles Renschler) Peter Brisbo’s barber shop, Pat Wade Feed Store, Frank Hill Tailor Shop, Adolph Wunderlich had a fruit store and across the alley was Motz Lyons saloon, Dan Jones’ pool room, Alex White lunch room, Jake Meyers store, W. H. Todd book store and Woods’ Millinery store. Across Central Avenue on the corner was Gallagher & Mullen Millinery, Spaulding and Schwab, George Metzger, George C. Vail and Sons, Zepf Shoe Store, Lou Voiles Millinery Shop and First National Bank.
On the north side of Main Street starting at Poplar Street was Hoffman & Quinn (later Anger Plumbing and then Frank Schnaitter’s Confectionery), Jim Crozier Grave markers, then Uncle Bill Crozier’s print shop and the “Grand Opera House” (all torn down for a parking lot) Across the alley was Robert R. Rea’s livery barn with a second floor used as a “hall” for dancing, roller skating and also some club meeting rooms (about 1912 Carlyle Strader had a garage, Madison Motor Co., and next door in a part of the livery stable Glenn Forry had an auto repair shop), Adams Express Co. and Madison Light Co., these had upstairs tenants of, Dr. E. B. Fewell and George Spaulding Photo Gallery (later these properties were razed and the building later used by “Reed’s Laundry” built there. Mathias Hoffman had a barber shop (that is where “Hinkle’s” is now). Upstairs was the “Eagles” Club then”Valley City Laundry” run by Frank Peck (later occupant was Geile Bros. newstand and now a newstand & variety store). Next door was M. D. Harding’s bicycle shop and next to Harding was the “Star Theatre”(later City Market), then Charles Kahn and Louis Moxie Cohan variety, gift and wallpaper store (these two fellows also took photos of people and places around Madison). Next door east was Hillabold’s Queensware & Souveniers, on the corner was Hargan’s Hardware (later Riedel Brothers and now “Lodge Furniture”).On the northeast corner of West and Main was James Hargan’s drug store (now Roger’s Corner). In 1912 Louis Holwager had an ice cream parlor and confectionery with rooms upstairs. Dr. Wm. Graham, a dentist, Dr. S. M. Townsend had a tailor shop, Kronenberger, buyers of junk scrap iron, bottles, rags and hides. The Madison Daily Herald”, run by Mose Cochrane and Joe and John Niesse families, the Ed Meyer furniture store, Scholfield and Welling Exchange. Across the alley was Pat Quinn’s stove and tin works, Gebest hotel annex, the Krebs saloon, Conrad Heck farm implement store (Later Madison Light & Gas Co.), Hargan wholesale groceries (later called Cofield & Barber), going back to West Street and the south side of Main was Lauer Bros. Company, Dr. Hussey, a dentist, Geile Bros. newsstand and cigar store and tailor shop, Stanton Shoe Store, Crystal Theatre, John C. White’s wallpaper and cigar store.
The following was copied by Frank Bird from a hand-written copy that the Miller family loaned him. Additions or corrections by Mr. Bird are in parenthesis, mostly to tell what is, at a later date, in the locations described by Mr. Miller. Some punctuation has been corrected to make reading easier. Copies of the original were placed in the library and the historical museum.
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