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Old Times in Madison

Once prosperous business houses along Main Street Recalled

Editor, Madison Courier, Madison, Indiana
MARCH 22, 1934

I have just met up with your paper of Feb. 7th in which you had an editorial on the passing of the Marks & Benson Co., you mentioning several old firms of Madison in your comments.

May I brush back the cobwebs from the memory of some of the old residents of Madison and mention some firms that you failed to; firms of long ago when we had old Main Cross Street and the old town was prosperous and we all had a good times but did not know it.

How many recall when Mr. White had a grocery store at the southeast corner of Main Cross and Broadway. (White the fifer in the old G.A.R. drum corps); Connelly tailor shop just east; Winnefeld bakery east of corner of alley; Nicklaus wholesale grocery on opposite corner; Geile tailor shop, later the Nick Cook saloon; the Dehler shoe store and on the corner the Al Scheik grocery. Southeast corner of Main Cross and Poplar Lane Herbst & Collins with a big tin shop and next east was the Ditchen grocery store with Wm. Burke later with a dry goods store; next east was the farm implement store and later the Bruming spice mill; next east was A. Marks with a clothing store which for a time was called the Philadelphia clothing house. This Marks store was in the west half of the Martin Wade feed Store, the feed store being in the east half of the building. How many of your Madison folks recall the Marks store? How many of you recall A. Marks when he had a store at the northwest corner of Main Cross and Broadway where the Pate Graham residence was built? Just east of the Wade store and on the alley corner we had Dan Lyle with a general store; Zeizer with a shoe and boot store; Mark Clark with a plumbing shop and later on Jakey Myers with a clothing shop and then Frank Hill with a tailor shop, all in the old frame building on the alley corner. Next east on the alley corner, brick building, was Kinsley’s cobbler shop, Hosfetter with a jewelry store, Fowler with a watch and clock repair shop and later James Lawson with a saloon, all in the same alley building. In the little room just east Harry Childs had a cigar store and later on Alex White with a lunch room, Just east we had the Davidson tin shop followed by John Wade’s feed store and then by George Diederich, the latter store, as we all recalled it in those days, having the first lady clerk to work in a store in Madison, she being the sister-in-law of Mr. Diederich. Next east we had Jakey Myers with a clothing shop, he moving from the alley corner west. Jakey had a fire one night and he was badly burned about the hands. Next east we had Schelke with a novelty store. On the southwest corner of Central avenue and Main Cross the Power’s millinery store with Kline the tailor in it later on. Next corner east we had the Carroll millinery store; next east Rubin Hoffstad with a dry goods store; next east was Arno Smith with a dry goods store. East a few doors was Jackman & Cunningham dry goods store with the Calloway book store later. First National Bank next on the corner. Next corner east we had Foster and Calloway book store; east F. O. Brooks or Brooks and Dold with jewelry; east a few doors Stanton shoe store; same block east a man by the name of Davis had a restaurant which was, so I think the first downtown eating place in Madison outside of hotels. This room had a sign on the windows, a real piece of art, reading “Restaurant,: it being the work of that splendid sign painter we had in Madison in those days—Jim Neil. Moffett dry goods store was west of this restaurant. Alling & Lodge hardware store east at alley. East side of Alley Henry Hoffstand (Hoffstadt) clothing store (remember the black bear he had out in front?). Fred Glass same block with candy; R. L. Ireland east with gents furnishings; then east we had Lovinger with a millinery store; Abbinger’s drug store southwest corner Main Cross and Mulberry. Later on this was the De Loste drug store. Next corner east we had Bear with a clothing store. Same block east we had John Moore with a drug store and later on the Moses millinery store. East was Bach, with a clothing store; east Robert Craig with groceries. A. Marks again in a small frame building on east corner of the alley where brick is now standing, so I am told. Marks and Benson next east with clothing; next east was Mike Hoffstand and his brothers with clothing; east was Haggedon with Harness shop; east was McLelland with drugs and later on Green and Mullen with dry goods. Large building southwest corner Main Cross and Main Street (now Jefferson) was the Craig grocery store. Southeast corner Main and Walnut was the Abbinger drug store.

If you see fit to publish this I will follow it up with other old time business houses in Madison, taking the north side of your now Main street and parade the past before the present.

Yours truly,
Jefferson Trimble