Marquee Lights of the Lincoln Thea19. Business Heritage
ter, est. 1923, Lincoln, Illinois
of business and industry is the economic heritage of Lincoln, Illinois.
As a county seat, Lincoln has always been a retail hub for such
essentials as food, clothing, building materials, and hardware. In the past,
this activity was centered in the area of the courthouse square.
Unlike other downtowns, this area continues to be viable for general
business. Yet, more and more stores are less centrally located, with a
new developments on Woodlawn Road and its extension on Route 10 between
Business 55 (old beltline of Route 66) and I-55.
19.1: Present-Day Shops
Along Kickapoo Street on the Historic Logan County Courthouse Square
(Photo from Lincoln/Logan County
Chamber of Commerce
Community Profile & Membership Directory, p. 26. Photo courtesy of
VillageProfile.com, Elgin, IL.)
19.2: Ad Card for a Classic
Retail Store Product
This old-time (late 19th century/early 20th century) ad card was generously provided by Dave Armbrust, LCHS
noble Class of 1960 and native Lincolnite. Others Dave provided on this page are #s 17, 18, 27,
28, 41, 42, and 43. Also, other miscellaneous ads and ad cards provided by
Dave appear toward the bottom of this page. Many manufacturers provided an advertising service of
selling these cards for use by specific retailers who could then have their
business name and address stamped or printed on the card, often on the back.
A history of businesses in this community is too large
a subject for the purpose of this Web site. Here, I classify a range
of business types that were important to Lincoln in mid-20th Century.
I derived these categories by skimming ads and articles in the 144-page
Centennial Edition of the Lincoln Evening Courier, published August
26, 1953. The broad scope of this
page produces a long download time. For some business categories, I also list
specific sources of information.
19.3: Pulaski Street on
the Square in the Early 1960s
(Photo from Gleason, Lincoln: A Pictorial
History, p. 82. The vertical line in the photo is caused by a
crease. Note Guzzardo's roof sign.)
19.4: Pulaski Street on
the Square Today
(Photo by Leigh Henson, 12-02)
Downtown Lincoln continues to offer shopping and
professional services. Guzzardo's roof sign may be gone, but
"Bud" Roberts Trading Center, 223 McLean; Hanger's on Kickapoo
Hursh Television, 524 Third Street; McQuellon's Appliances on
Pelc's Radio Lab & TV, 116 N. McLean; Thorton Appliance, 506
Plumbing and Appliances on South Kickapoo Street
(Display ad from the 1957 Lincolnite)
I believe McQuellon's was still there when I drove past in 2002.
Colonel C.W. Wolpert;Sweeter T. Wiggers
Banking, Finance, and Real Estate
The current Lincoln/Logan
County Chamber of Commerce Community Profile and Membership Directory
lists five Chamber-member banks operating in Lincoln: CEFCU,
Illini Bank (www.illinibank.com),
Logan County Bank, Magna Bank, and the State Bank of
19.6: State National Bank
on Broadway Street in the 1960s
(Photo provided by D.D. Welch)
A Five Dollar Bill Stamped by the Lincoln National Bank from the 1920s
(Is this Allowed?)
19.8: Lincoln Savings
Located in the Hodnett Building (formerly First National Bank)
at Broadway and Kickapoo Streets on the Square
The Logan County Title
Office of the Logan County Title Company
(Photo provided by Fred Blanford)
view of the office above can be seen above in 19.2 at "Parker and Son."
In the above photo, note the photo of Abraham Lincoln on the back wall.
Fred provides the following
information for the Logan County Title Company
retro pic. I knew of this pic as I had gotten it from my aunt and had given
it to the title company--before I had scanning capabilities. They were kind
enough to loan it back to me [for scanning and emailing]. When I make
ID's in these pics, some are certain and others are based on educated
guesses from my memory.
In this pic, the gentleman on the left should be Mr.
Lynn (R. Parker) while the gentleman on the right is/was John R.
Parker--father and son respectively. Mr. Lynn was an abstracter who
purchased what later became known as (and continues to this day in a
thriving manner) Logan County Title Company. It was commonly accepted as
fact that Mr. Lynn had better and more complete title records than the
Courthouse as the Courthouse had lost some in a fire--while his remained
undamaged. His son was engaged in the casualty insurance business and real
estate. My aunt, Nelva Foster -- pictured second from the right -- worked for Mr.
Lynn for 40 years give or take. My mom worked for John for 35 years, give or
take. The pic was long before my mom's time there. The only other ID I can
offer at this time is second from the left which I believe to be Evelyn
Woodward Layman (Mrs. Roy), and I feel relatively secure on this ID. I think
I know one other, but await her confirming same--as well as maybe providing
While many businesses have died, this is one that has
prospered in modern times. Same location. You can go in there on any
business day and see the vault with the "Lynn R. Parker & Son" logo still
above the door. Four items I would note for your consideration: 1. The sun
shining in the back door. That is where the fireproof/retardant file
room (about half the depth of the storefront again) was added in
later years -- behind which is the garage/storage area which now extends to
the alley behind the building. I mention this I point to emphasize the
relative (by modern standards) small size of the functioning stores
we knew in our youth. 2. After noting the increase in size (they have
recently added the office next door) I would also note the WHY of that
increase--they have long been in an "information" business--the files
necessary to maintain their business have continued to multiply over the
years -- and despite innovations in technology -- a lot of their business still
depends on papers in files. This brings me to why I was there
yesterday -- I went to look up an old city directory to ascertain the
storefront occupants we had been discussing in this group recently.
Alas -- to my
amazement -- the 70-80 years worth of directories that Mr. Lynn had started
many years ago -- had been discarded. Thankfully -- they had been offered to the
local library -- and I was able to access (at least some) there. My time was
short so I only asked for 1955 (as a nice middling year for this discussion)
copied the three pertinent pages and was gone. 3. While it is a minor
item -- look toward the ceiling in the rear -- where you can see the chimney for
the "central heating unit" that provided the warmth for the office in the
winter. 4. Last but not least -- for some of the charm of those bygone
years -- lower left
foreground -- the brass cuspidor!! When I first returned to town to settle
(1966), I encountered these in a number of places (the Elk's town club being
a prominent one) and while "chewing" has never been among my plentitude of
vices, they were handy devices for the discard of many items of dross. If
nothing else -- you needed to be aware of their presence --as an unwary kick or
stumble might leave your leg stained in a
very unpleasant manner.
I could jpg the pages from the directory --but that
would deny me the opportunity to offer my pithy (?ugh) comments in the
process. I will wait until I have the time to keystroke those entries -- at a
later -- but
not too--date." Fred
sales in the Route 66 era was not the big and popular business it later
became. The centennial edition of the Courier does not show
much real estate for sale and few realtors. Under the heading of "Real
Estate" (p. 15) are found both rental property and property for sale.
Seven houses were advertised for sale in the Courier on August 26,
1953: one house and furnishings to be auctioned by Col. Wolpert; one
for sale by Lynn Parker as agent; one house giving Hegele Bros. as the place
to inquire; one with Pearl Musick given as the contact; two offered with
only a phone number; and one display ad with a photo of a house on N. Logan
Street offered by the Hodnett Agency.
Sources Cited and Suggested for Banking and Finance
Gehlbach, Nancy Lawrence. "Hard Times in the
'30s." Our Times. vol. 4, no. 1, spring, 1999, pp. 1-2.
Gleason, Paul E. Lincoln, Illinois: A
Pictorial History. St. Louis, MO: G. Bradley Publishing,
"Early Banking," p. 48
· "State Bank of Lincoln,"
Material from Mr.
Gleason's books is copyrighted with all rights reserved. Mr. Gleason's
material used in this Web site is with permission from the G.
Bradley Publishing Company, 461 Des Peres Road, St. Louis, MO 63131. Call 1-800-966-5120 to
inquire about purchasing Lincoln, Illinois: A Pictorial History (1998) (200
pages of rare photos and text) or Logan County Pictorial History (2000) (also 200 pages of rare
photos and text). Please visit
Chamber of Commerce
Community Profile & Membership Directory, 1998. Photo courtesy of Village Profile.com,
Inc., 33 N. Geneva Street, Elgin, IL 60120. Please visit the Web site
of this remarkable company at
Lincoln Evening Courier, Centennial Edition, Wednesday, August 27, 1953.
"Lincoln Savings-Loan Founded Here 70 Years Ago," p. 10.
"Lincoln State Bank Is Oldest in City, Established in 1903," section
5, p. 12.
· F.C.W. Koehnle Principal
Organizer of German Bank," section 6, p. 7.
· "Two Lincoln Banks Now out
of Existence," section 8, p. 15.
B. History of Logan County, Illinois, 1911. Evansville,
IN: UNIGRAPHIC, INC., 1978.
Chapter 31, "Commercial and Industrial," pp. 537-551.
R. Georgi & Son, 223 S. Logan Street. The Georgi Building had
allegedly been one of the locations where some of the work was done to build
the Lincoln automobile of Lincoln, Illinois. (For more information
about the Lincoln auto, see
22. Factories, Past and Present.)
Blacksmith Shop at Logan and Clinton Streets,
Demolished in the Spring of 2002
(photo by Judy Henson, March of 2002)
A history of the Georgi family in Beaver's Logan County History 1982
includes the family business:
"Richard Georgi, the father of Walter Georgi, Sr. (1886-1962), began a
blacksmith shop at the corner of Logan and Clinton Streets. Walter Georgi,
Sr., followed his father in this trade at this location, which this family
affectionately referred to as "the shop." Richard Georgi's performed
"all kinds of wagon work, painting, horseshoeing, etc.
The work of "the shop" "held fascination for many people, young people
especially. Walter Georgi was kept busy by doing repair work for
people and his specialty was the plowshares that had to be gotten ready for
the spring planting. When the spring season would arrive, Mr. Georgi
spent long hours working over the forge and there would be lines of
plowshares on the floor waiting for the farmers to come by and pick them up.
He did a great deal of welding in his work.
The building was brick with a brick floor and it was drafty in
the winter, but there was a stove situated in the center of the building,
where you would find Mr. Georgi and his friends quite often discussing the
matters of the day. He was an industrious, hard-working man who had
Georgi [Walter's wife], before her marriage, worked in the Boyd Clothing
Store, selling hats and then became a beautician and was one of the first
owner-operators of a beauty shop in Lincoln. . . She was a very good
cook and enjoyed sewing, raising house plants, and participating in the
activities of the Zion Lutheran Church and its Missionary Society" (p. 297).
Newspapers, and Magazines
Purcell's, 113 S. Kickapoo; Lincoln News Agency on Chicago
Purcell's Bookstore in 1916
(Fish, Illustrated Lincoln)
19.12: Three Businesses
and Four Modes of Transportation on Chicago Street in the Route 66
(Not Counting the Interurban, Whose Tracks Are Just out of Sight in the
(Photo provided by D.D. Welch, with
caption by Norm Schroeder)
The Lincoln Coca-Cola Bottling Company
A complete history of this company,
"Lincoln Coca-Cola Bottling" by Nancy Lawrence Gehlbach appears in Our
Times, 7.1, winter, 2002, pp. 7 and 8.
Howard Vaughn bought the franchise to bottle Coca-Cola in 1910. At
first the company was located at 307-311 N. Chicago Street.
A Vaughn's Clear-Glass Soda Bottle
Howard's son, James
("Jimmy"), continued the business, which was later located at 221-23 South Kickapoo Street. "Over the years, the Vaughn family ran the concession stand
at the Chautauqua; mixed other flavored carbonated drinks; had the Budweiser
distributorship (though it didn't bottle the beer); and sold Wrigley gum,
Hershey bars, and Snickers from its delivery trucks. But Coca-Cola was its
main business" (Gehlbach, p. 7). Vaughn's plant also bottled "B-1 (a
lemon-lime drink), Vaughn flavors in a 7-ounce clear bottle with the name
Vaughn in white paint [as seen in 19.12 above], and Orange and Grape Crush"
(p. 7). Jimmy Vaughn sold his business in 1976 to Coca-Cola Bottling
Company of Southern Illinois.
Mrs. Gelhbach's article
thoroughly describes the production process and distribution. In her
usual effective manner, she presents information from people directly
involved, including in this case such people as the late Pete Andrews, Carol
Poole Schmidt, Elmer Snyder, and Jimmy Vaughn's daughter, Susan Vaughn
Lessen. Susan continues the practice, begun by her grandfather, of
drinking Coke without the ice that dilutes it and weakens its distinctive
A 1/4-page ad for this
company appears in the
centennial edition of the Lincoln Evening Courier, Centennial
In addition to
Builders' Supply Co. pictured below, Alexander's Lumber Company
was a major source of lumber for local construction. Alexander's
Lumber was located on Sangamon Street in the same block as Lauer Hardware.
(Beaver, Logan County History 1982, p. 625)
A history of Mitchell-Newhouse appears in Paul Beaver's
Logan County History 1982: "On April 1, 1954, Mitchell-Newhouse
Lumber Company was founded by David J. Mitchell, Roger E. Mitchell, Luther J.
Newhouse and Bessie Gallagher. The founders had been employed by Spellman
and Company for an accumulated total service of over 100 years. With
forced retirement of David J. Mitchell and other management changes, they
decided to start their own business. The business was located at 910
Woodlawn Road and was purchased from the Weldon Huffacker family which had
operated a truck sales and repair business in the concrete block building
The concrete block building was converted to provide an
office and sales area in the front third of the building with the remaining area
used as lumber storage. In 1958 the first open lumber storage building was
built and was later doubled in size in 1960. A steelclad pole building was
erected in 1973 for fork truck handling of bulk building materials. An
addition was added to the main sales area to house a full kitchen and bath sales
The spring of 1977 brought about the biggest change in
our business with a complete interior and exterior remodeling of the original
building to triple our sales and display area to provide customers with a larger
selection of home improvement items, and to display these materials for easy
customer selection. At the same time both storage buildings were converted
to provide better storage of bulk building materials and for better utilization
of existing space" (p. 625).
Builders' Supply Company
(Photo provided by D.D. Welch and Norm Schroeder)
Ad from Official County Plat Book and Farmers' Directory of Logan County,
Illinois, p. 4.
Davis, 505 Broadway; Dierker's on Broadway, French's on
Gossett's , and Malerich and Sons.
Dorothy Faye Shop-Tots
and Teens, Pulaski Street on the Square (see 19.2 above); Gleason's
Men's Clothing, Pulaski Street on the Square (19.2 above); Hosiery
and Lingerie Shop; Jacobs and Company on Broadway; Myers Brothers,
Kickapoo on the Square; Mode O'Day,
Arcade Building; Penny's on S. Kickapoo; Spurgeon's, Broadway
on the Square
Boyd and Paisley Dry Goods and Millinery
was located in the Gillett Building at the corner of Broadway and Kickapoo
Streets and was major retailer in the late nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries. The following ad was generously provided by Dave Armbrust, LCHS
noble Class of 1960.
1404 5th Street; Chism & Miller, Springfield, Illinois; Frank
Hinman; Klemm Brothers; and Martin S. Fultz
Fullerton's; Hegele Brothers, Pulaski St.
19.20: Paper Bottle Cap
Real Glass Bottle
Drug stores in the Route
66 era in Lincoln included Alvey's at the corner of Broadway and
Chicago Streets, Boss's on Broadway, Feuerbacher's on Pulaski,
and Pfau's on Kickapoo (on the square).
The Alvey Drugstore has always been located at the corner of Broadway and
Chicago Streets. The original business was located in the [2nd]
Lincoln House (hotel), built in 1872 by John Gillett, one of the three
founders of the city.
Homer W. Alvey, Sr., came
to Lincoln from Ada, Ohio, in 1902 to be the pharmacist of T. Fuson,
Lincoln's mayor, who also owned a drug store at another location on
Broadway. Homer Alvey, Sr., was a pharmacist in Lincoln for 53 years
(Beaver, p. 626).
Drugstore in the Lincoln House Building in 1932
(Photo in Beaver, p.15)
Paul Beaver's Logan County History 1982
contains a page devoted to the history of the Alvey Drugstore. That
page includes some of the senior Alvey's recollections of Lincoln from the
first decades of the 20th century:
"In the early days sodas were made from home-made
ice cream and syrups for ten cents. Varieties were endless:
marshmallow, caramel, maple nut were favorites. Ice cream was a
luxury. Fountains in stores were not open in winter time. In the
summer ice cream was brought from Peoria in large wooden buckets which had
to be hand packed with crushed ice each night. Soft drinks of green river,
coke and root beer were popular at five cents. In the 1920s housewives
bought spices and herbs. Farmers secured their hog cholera serum and
vaccine from pharmacies. On the shelves were common remedies, such as
: Pe-ru-na, Crazy Water Crystals, Swamp "Root, Lydia E. Pinkham and
The interurban ran next to Alvey's on Chicago
Street. When the interurban began, that railroad had no ticket office,
so the drugstore was used for that purpose.
"The Chicago and Alton Depot was then located
[directly] across the tracks [from Alvey's] on the right side of Elm Park on
Sangamon Street, facing the tracks and the Lincoln House. Many
celebrities, including Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt and Chief Justice
Hughes spoke from the platforms in Elm Park when they were candidates
for the Presidency" (p. 626).
"Mr. Alvey, Sr., and the late W.H. Conley were
ardent White Sox fans during the World Championship Series between the
White Sox and the Cubs in 1906. Mr. Conley, whose grain office was
across the street on Broadway from the drugstore, and Mr. Alvey decided to
show their spirit to the public and stretched a rope, across Broadway,
30 ft. high and suspended a 6 ft. white sock made of canvas from it.
The White Sox won, much to the Cub fans' disapproval" (p. 626).
Biographical information about the Alvey family
appears in Paul Beaver's Logan County History 1982 on p. 155.
Alvey's in 1954
19.24: Alvey's in
Background of Homecoming Parade, 1954
The above photo shows that the top floors of the
Lincoln House, seen in 19.19, had been removed some time prior to the 1954
photo, which was sent to Fred Blanford by LCHS Alums Dottie and Bud Huffaker
of Chatham, Illinois.
Fred emailed this photo to 160+ LCHS alums of
mid-20th Century. The scene is the corner of Broadway and Chicago
Streets during the 1953-54 Lincoln Community High School homecoming parade.
The young lady is only temporarily unidentified; she is most likely a
homecoming queen attendant -- senior queen attendant? Class of 1953
Fred Blanford recalls Alvey's
"Spent many hours at the "fountain" there as the
teenage "soda jerk" made wonderfully sweet (chocolate, cherry or green
flavored--was the green supposed to be lime?) flavored cokes. Never
much cared for the bottled product -- but the flavored and supersweet fountain
cokes were very drinkable.
She/they (was one of the "jerks" an older sister to the
Janet brothers?) indicated that shutting off and restarting the flow from
the fountain added extra sweetener (coke basis) to the carbonated water.
state this to be a fact--but it seemed to work at the time. Stopped
there many times while enroute to Bree's to play pocket pool (with a capital
P and that rhymes with T -- and you see how it corrupted all of
us) with the other friends I consorted with" (email to162 LCHS alums,
Carla Schmock replies
"The two sisters who worked the fountain at Alvey's
were Pat and Janet Brosamer. Pat is back in Lincoln now.
Her husband's name was Tom Berger, a friend of my husband in the 50's.
I believe Tom was a physicist in Virginia and a graduate in the 50's of New
My husband told me the foundation of Alvey's was
originally thick wooden timbers with brick on top. He was working for
Paul Klem when he showed him. I don't know if that changed when
Alvey's was remodelled or not" (email to Fred and Leigh, 2-3-03).
19.25: Three Lincoln
Kingpins at the Conference Table in Alvey's
(Photo from Gleason, p. 93)
Oh, to have been the proverbial fly on the wall to
hear just what was said that so amused Homer Alvey, Jr., and evoked the "oh
my god" expression on Mr. Randolph's face and the passively amused
countenance of Mr. Sapp, with his trademark unlighted cigar in mouth.
At the back of the above photo, note the sign of the Thudiums' Lincoln
Office Supply through the window (photo of Lincoln Office below).
Leigh's Memoir of Mr. Joe Sapp (and
The caption from Gleason's Lincoln: A
Pictorial History reads "Alvey's store -- who can forget it? Perhaps
as many political decisions were made at Alvey's over the years as
prescriptions were dispensed. There one could expect to find left to
right, William Randolph, Homer Alvey [Jr.], and Logan County Republican
Chairman Joe Sapp, as well as Republican Vice Chairman Vince Boughan and
others of the 'old school of backroom politics'" (Gleason, p. 93).
Darold Henson tells me that Joe Sapp was the "right
hand man" of Illinois Governor William G. Stratton during the 1950s.
Above, Joe appears with
his trademark unlighted cigar. All in the photo wear ties, a standard
feature of professional men's apparel in those times.
I was one of the countless beneficiaries of Joe
Sapp, a long-time family friend. His elderly parents had lived across Fifth
Street from my father's childhood home (squirrels in the tree tops jumping
back and forth across Business Route 66) . A few years older than my
father, Joe Sapp had been one of my Dad's baseball mentors. Dad has
told me that after games the team would refresh themselves at Bushel's
Tavern, where Mr. Sapp and Dad's other older teammates would attempt to get
him drunk. According to Dad, they never succeeded.
Mr. Sapp knew that everyone in my family -- both
sides -- voted Republican, so he got me two summer jobs. In the summer
of 1960, after my high school graduation, he got me a job with the Illinois
Department of Conservation that had me working on the old game farm located
at the northwest corner of the Illinois State Fairgrounds, now the site of
the new Department of Natural Resources Headquarters. My dad arranged
for me to ride -- a dollar a day gas money -- with a lady who worked for the
state in Springfield. Bing McCullough was also a passenger. Just
another way folks from Lincoln got their kicks on Route 66!
My main duty in that job was pushing a power mower
over areas not reached by the Ford tractor mowers. I tended to move at
a steady pace and stay on task. The result was that I finished the
day's work before quitting time -- sometimes by an hour or two. The
older guys who rode the Ford tractors admonished me to slow my pace so that
I would not have extra time on my hands. I followed their advice for
the time being, but rejected it as a career work ethic. (Again, Abraham
Lincoln's long shadow reaching two blocks north of the Postville Courthouse
to where I lived at the corner of Monroe and Seventh.)
During the State Fair that summer, I worked at the
Conservation exhibit (in the Centennial Building), where my job was scooping
out dead fish from display tanks and replacing them from horse troughs with
aerated water at the side of the
building. The main attraction that year was a 200-pound, 200-year-old
snapping turtle that the Department folks had taken from the Big (or Little)
Muddy River in southern Illinois. This behemoth was grotesquely
displayed in a small, round, shallow center pool that had originally been
intended to exhibit panfish. The old snapper had a huge parrot-like
beak that, I was told, could snap a man's leg in half. Fairgoers threw
coins at the poor old creature to try to get it to move, blink an eye, or
otherwise show some sign of life, ignorant of the fact that it was not
adapting to captivity, was not eating the livers thrown to it at night, and
was slowly dying. It would not be attending the next fair.
Other than this pathetic situation, my job there
was "cool," and I wore hand-painted, pinstriped sunglasses accordingly.
I felt no pressure from the Department honchos who sat around looking
important in their uniforms, retreating to the air-conditioned office to use
the phone to make golf dates.
In the summer before my senior year at Illinois
State, Mr. Sapp got me a job at the Lincoln State School. Then, I
worked in the store taking inventory and in the commissary of the "Farm" as
a short-order cook -- a bit less glamorous than working in the
Conservation Department's State Fair exhibit, but interesting to deal with
Bevan Alvey's Memoir of Alvey's Drugstore and Tribute to Sgt. Carson
Note: early in 2008, Bevan Alvey emailed me to
introduce himself and express his pleasure in finding this Web site. I then
invited him to write about his memory of Alvey's drugstore, and the result
is the wonderful, evocative essay that follows.
My name is Bevan Alvey. My great uncle Frank
Bevan was the famous Judge who presided over the infamous pinball trials.
My uncle was Homer Alvey of Alvey's drugs.
Two of my
favorite adult friends were Joe Sapp and "Little Billy" Randolf. I think I
took the picture you have of the three of them at Alvey's drugs [scroll up
to see it]. The Lincoln
website is like having a window to my childhood. Like you, I worked in the
lemonade stand with the Fults brothers. Joe Sapp got me the job. I was a
"spoiled" prep school kid and from a fairly well-to-do family and as such
they did not like me much. As I recall they got quite a bit of enjoyment out
of humiliating me except when it reflected poorly upon them with Jim
Mckinstry [owner of various refreshment stands at the Logan County and State
Fairs]. I have vivid recollections of sliced fingers and lemonade juice. I
also remember knocking over the cash box at the height of the grandstand
rush one Saturday night. I have had a lot of difficult situations to deal
with in my life, but that job I think was the worst. I was in the constant
state of fear, humiliation, exhaustion and burning fingers. Your
descriptions are so vivid and timely that I wonder if we knew each other? I
think I worked there two summers around 1961-1962.
just recently found your Website on Lincoln and have been overwhelmed with
the fond memories it has rekindled. I can't tell you how much I miss those
days walking into the Drug store and seeing George or Lennie Janet behind
the counter and Uncle Homer peering out through the peep hole. I think I had
more happiness in those days than at any other time in my life.
I have a lot of fond memories of
the drug store, Joe Sapp and Billy Randolph. Do you remember Carson Culleton?
He was like a big brother to me, and it was one of the worst blows to me in
life when he was killed. My father, Tom, was very well known in Lincoln as
well. He was a football star and war hero. After a career in the Army, he
renewed his pharmacy licenses and worked with Homer for about ten years in
the drug store. Thank you again for all your work on this.
I can't tell you how much this all means to me.
memories of “Alvey’s” start with visits to Lincoln beginning in the late
1950’s. At that time my father, Tom Alvey, was a Lt. Col in the Regular Army
so our contact with Alvey’s came on semi-annual family visits to Lincoln. At
that time my grandfather, “Granddad” Homer Alvey, was semi-retired with his
son, Homer “Watt” Alvey, in charge. Alvey’s was started in the early 1900s
by Grandfather Alvey at the same time his brother “Uncle Bob” started
another drug store in Clinton, IL.
those days Alvey’s was more than just drugs, probably more like the old
“general store” of its day. One of the more exotic items in its day was
barrels of fresh oysters packed in salt brine shipped by rail from the east
coast during holiday seasons. This led to the oddity of oyster casserole as
a traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas dish in the land-locked Alvey
my youth the center of attention was always the soda fountain. A majestic
grey and black marble counter fronted by five spinning stools and backed by
a mahogany wall casement adorned with engraved antique glass jars that
formerly held exotically named drugs like Pv. Myrrha, Syr. Scillae, Limonis.
The big red Coca Cola machine mixer and dispenser was the center of
attention, but the with a wide variety of fresh syrups for cherry cokes,
green rivers, chocolate cokes, ice cream floats, sodas, and Sundays, no need
Next, came the case with spinning trays of fresh warm nuts of multiple
varieties. Finally, came the news stand with all the most popular newspapers
and magazines. Across from the soda fountain were the main cash register and
the candy case. The candy display was the last stop on the way out the door.
I can’t remember a time leaving when Uncle Homer didn’t ask me if there
wasn’t something sweet he could send with me. With mainstays like “Little
Billy” Randolph, “Joe” Sapp, “Doc” Jerry Owings, Don Holland, the Barrys,
the Goebel brothers, Vic Thudium, and many, many others there was a
contestant stream of entertaining conversations about politics, local
gossip, sports, funny stories and off color jokes.
all the characters that flowed in and out of Alvey’s, Joe Sapp was my
favorite. Joe and his best friend “Billy” Randolph were a veritable comedy
act in motion every day. The-always cigar-chewing (but not smoking) Joe was
a constant source of good humor with “Billy’ as his straight man or fall guy
depending on the situation. Joe was one of those special people who always
knew the inside scoop on everything going on in local and national politics.
And, Joe’s connections were legendary. Any young (Republican!) person who
needed a job could find one through Joe. I will never forget the sparkle in
his eyes and the sly but warm smile that seemed to always be there.
Alvey’s gang seemed evenly divided between Cub and Cardinal fans with a few
oddball White Sox fans to boot. During football season it was all Illini and
Bears fans. Lincoln High sports were always a hot topic as well. Uncle Homer
always had at least one or two part-time high school students employed to
run the soda fountain and cash register up front. Chosen for their work
ethic and outstanding character, some of them became my best older friends
in Lincoln. My favorites were Carson Culleton, George and Lenny Janet. Lenny
used to entertain me by catching flies in mid-air with one hand. These fine
young men were like big brothers to me. One of the darkest days of my youth
was the day my Father told me Carson had been killed in Vietnam. I think of
him and miss him to this day.
father, Tom, was also trained to be a pharmacist and started out working in
the drug store with his father and brother. Dad was also a reserve officer
in the Illinois Army National Guard and went on active duty a few years
before WWII started. After the War he made a career of the Army until he
retired in 1961. Tom then renewed his pharmacy licenses and practiced at
Alvey’s for a number of years before he retired completely. Over the years
whenever I returned to Lincoln for family visits always the first stop, the
morning after my return, was a visit to Uncle Homer and the drug store. My
young sons also had a chance to spin on the fountain stools, taste the sodas
and be indulged by their Great Uncle.
Uncle Homer ran the drug store all the way up until his untimely death.
While walking his beloved dog one evening, he was stricken by a heart
attack. Coincidently, my father was walking his dogs on the same street, at
the same time, and was the first person to come upon the scene. Uncle Homer
died in his brother’s arms, and all but the memory of Alvey’s drug store
died with him.
would like to share with you my memories of Carson Culleton. My father was a
regular Army officer, decorated hero of WW II and an extremely good judge of
character. When Carson worked at Alvey's, he and my father became very close
friends. I know my father admired and respected Carson as highly as any
young man he ever knew. This is not mild praise as my father worked with
fine young men all his life. In some respects my dad was as close to Carson
as he was to his own children.
Carson was four years older than me, but at the age of fifteen it seemed
liked a generation. In those days young men did not have much in common with
fifteen year old boys. I was from a somewhat snobby family and was sent to
an elite Eastern prep school beginning in the eighth grade. As such even the
Lincoln boys my age did not have much to do with me. Despite all of this
Carson befriended me like no other older boy I knew. I can still see clearly
his smile and hear the warm greeting Carson would give me every time I
walked into the drug store. He was the type of person who just made you feel
good about yourself. There was something very special about how he could
reach out and connect on a level of warmth and camaraderie.
Carson had a little of the Devil in him as well and could kid around with
the best of them. There was always a sparkle in his eye as if to say “don’t
take life too seriously or you will miss all the fun."
Despite his warmth, humor and kindness Carson was widely admired as “man’s
man." He had an inner strength and calmness about him that drew other men to
him as a leader. Through contacts my father had in the Army and
correspondence from Carson, my father had some insights into Carson’s
service in Vietnam. Carson excelled in infantry training and was identified
early in his service to be a fine soldier and inspirational leader of men.
At that time the Vietnam War was raging at probably its most intense phase.
It is not well known that during the Vietnam War only about 20% of the
American soldiers were actually engaged in active combat operations. The
rest of the soldiers were engaged in support roles in very secure areas.
Just because someone served in Vietnam does not mean they did anything more
dangerous than drive a cab in New York City. But for the soldiers that
actually served in combat units in the field, the danger and casualty rates
were staggering. During the time Carson served in Vietnam combat units like
his routinely suffered fifty to sixty percent casualties (killed or wounded)
over the course of a year. Furthermore, a soldier’s job in a combat unit
also had a lot to do with his chances of survival.
Carson volunteered for and served in the most dangerous role of all. Because
of his hard work and leadership, he rose to the rank of Sergeant and served
as a squad leader. When the situation was most dangerous, he was the person
who had to lead his troops when they were most afraid and in danger of
losing their lives. He had to overcome his own fears and lead by example.
That meant at the most dangerous moments he had to move and show himself to
the enemy in order to lead his men. As result of his service, he was
decorated for bravery and valor in the face of the enemy.
During Carson’s service it was his unit’s policy that soldiers served in
field combat operations for six months then were rotated back to a more
secure area in a less dangerous position for their last six months. I recall
my father telling me that Carson resisted returning to the rear for as long
as he could but eventually was ordered to a more secure area to serve out
his remaining months in country. It was a tragic irony that he was killed by
a mortar attack while serving in a more secure area.
Several years after Carson’s death I also served in Vietnam as a lieutenant
in a combat unit. I experienced some terrible things, but nothing ever
affected me more than the news of Carson’s death. Somehow I was never able
to accept his death. I couldn’t even muster the strength to attend his
funeral. To this day I suffer from his loss.
should know that though Carson’s life was short his spirit burned
exceedingly bright in my father’s and my life. As I have aged, I have
learned it is not how long you live but how you live. By that standard
Carson lived many lives.
Thank you again for all your work on this Web site. I can't tell you how
much this all means to me.
Bevan Alvey is a true "Lincolnite at heart" as indicated by his perceptive
essay. Please express your gratitude by responding to him at
19.26: Boss Cut Rate Drugs
and Other Landmark Businesses on Broadway Street in 1962
The Lincoln Evening Courier,
Centennial Edition, Section Four, August 26, 1953, p. 5, presents a
half-page ad for "Boss Drugs" that includes the following: "Now! Open
display. Serve yourself service. Shop and look to your heart's
content! No turnstiles. No check-out lanes. 10,000 items
plainly marked and displayed at your fingertips." The story of the
store's founders, Marvin H. and Blanche Boss, is found in Paul Beaver's
Logan County History 1982, p. 203.
19.27: Classic Headache
19.28: Cigar Ad: Nicotine Was
a Common Non-prescription Drug
McAffee Electric Shop,
401 Pulaski; Sablotny, 720 Clinton; William Lamprecht, 311 S.
The 1953 Centennial Edition of the Lincoln Evening Courier
contains ads for Gullett and Sons, Carl Hembreiker Florist,
Otto Hembreiker Florist. This edition of the Courier
also contains short articles on all three operations, as cited in places
Gullett and Sons' Greenhouses
enterprise was one of the oldest businesses in Lincoln, beginning in 1865,
and one of the largest suppliers of flowers to the nation in the early 20th
Century. The greenhouse operation ceased in 1961, the floral shop on
Tremont closing in 1966 ("Everything's Coming up Roses," Our Times,
3.1, spring, 1998, p. 3).
Paul Beaver's Logan County History 1982, "Raising roses was a
specialty of the firm. Four to five million were cut annually.
Carnations, chrysanthemums, and snapdragons also were grown in quantity.
Other cut flowers produced were gardenias, camellias, asters, gladiolas,
delphinium, etc. Also potted plants were grown: cyclamen,
hydrangeas, African violets begonias, geraniums, tulips, hyacinths, azaleas,
green plants and various others. Production focused on three large
market days: Mothers' Day, Christmas, and Easter. Principal
markets were in the Midwest, South, and southeastern parts of the U.S.
Employees numbered from 70 to 150 in peak years" ("Gullett & Sons, Inc.," p.
19.29: Gullett Greenhouse and Retail Store at Tremont and Logan
(Photo from Gleason, p. 52)
19.30: Gullett & Sons'
(Photo from Our Times, spring, 1998, and
provided by Stu Wyneken)
Chronology of Gullett and Sons
· 1865 -- William H. Gullett "opened a
small 12 by 24 greenhouse at 515 North Logan Street ("Gullett Flower
Business Dates Back to 1865," Lincoln Evening Courier, Centennial
Edition, Section Six, August 26, 1953, p. 7)
· 1870 -- operation moved to the corner of
Tremont and Logan Streets (Courier, p. 7)
· 1888 -- William's son Charles Edward
joins his father; 1889 -- William's son Wilbur joins ("Everything's Coming up
Roses!", p. 1)
· 1914 -- sons begin building greenhouses
on east Tremont, on property bought from the Citizens' Coal Company.
That east side (wholesale) plant was located between Sherman and Limit
Streets and by 1928 consisted of 41 buildings, each 500 feet long
("Everything's. . .," p. 1)
· 1915 -- shipped flowers from 10,000
Japanese Easter lily bulbs ("Everything's. . . ," p. 2)
· 1930 -- union strike with union workers
-- force feeding a carnation to a scab ("Everything's. . . ," p. 2)
· 1940 -- greenhouses dismantled at Tremont
and Logan Streets with glass saved to make repairs at the main east-side
location ("Everything's. . . ," p. 2-3)
· 1942 -- a devastating hail storm in May
and later that year a fire destroying more than two thirds of the
greenhouses (Courier, p. 7)
· 1948 -- Alan Wyneken joins Wilbur J.
Gullett in management (Beaver, p. 53)
· 1950 -- more than ten acres of
greenhouses in operation bringing product to near pre-1942 levels in about
50% of the space thanks to "improvements in genetics and disease control"
("Everything's. . . ," p. 3)
· 1950s -- no local coal available;
competition from California growers using cheaper labor and flying flowers
into St. Louis and Chicago
· 1961 -- boilers shut down ("Everything's.
. . ," p. 3)
· 1966 -- floral shop closed at 620 Tremont
Street ("Everything's. . . ," p. 3)
Gehlbach's article contains interesting personal observations from people
whom she interviewed, including members of the Gullett family, neighbors,
and other citizens.
of Business District from Gullett's Chimney on Tremont Street with
Atlass Mansion in Foreground
(photo, undated, courtesy of Stu Wyneken)
19.33: 1917 Gullett's Construction at East Tremont and Limit Streets
(Photo courtesy of Stu Wyneken)
Massive Greenhouse Operation in East Lincoln
(photo from Gleason's Lincoln: A Pictorial
History, p. 53)
Between the tall chimneys and Limit Street in the background is a pond used
to supply water to the operation. "The third daughter of Wilbur and
Mildred Gullett, Julia [Gullett Holth] lives in Florida. She remembers
fishing in the lake. . . " (Gehlbach, "20 Acres Under Glass," Our Times,
spring, 1998, p. 6).
19.35: Gullett's 500-Foot-Long Greenhouses in East Lincoln Before the 1942
Disasters of Hail and Fire
(Photo from Beaver, Logan
County History 1982, p. 52)
1942 Extensive Damage at Gullett and Sons' East Side Greenhouses
(Photo from Our Times, spring, 1998, p. 4, and
provided by Stu Wyneken)
built by the Gullett family are noted for their architectural style.
Artist David Alan Badger describes the older of these houses as built in the
Colonial Revival style popular from 1880 to 1955 (The Badger Collection
Featuring Lincoln of Illinois, no page numbers used). This house,
built in 1917-1918 by Charles and Ida Gullett, features "a side-gabled roof.
. . one-story side wing with a flat roof (enclosed). . .stone lintels. . .
pedimented dormers. . . curved entry porch. . . an elliptical fanlight
with sidelights. . . (Georgian features)" (Badger, David Alan. The Badger Collection
Featuring Lincoln of Illinois. Havana, IL: Privately
published, 1987. Mr. Badger's material is copyrighted with all
rights reserved. Material from his work used in this Web site is with
his permission. Please
visit his Web site at
The second Gullett residence noted here was constructed by the Wilber Gullett
family in 1922. It has been described by the Stuart Wynekens, its
present occupants. Mr. Wyneken is the grandson of Wilbur Gullett.
The Wynekens identify the architectural style of their home as 'English
Tudor featuring "an original Vermont slate roof, copper gutters and
multi-paned windows.' The home received the 1999 Mayor's Award for
Historical Preservation" (lincolndailynews.com, May 8, 2000).
I am unsure if the first Gullett house
survives, but the second Gullett residence is just one of the
many remaining historic houses that people enjoy seeing when they drive
through Lincoln's traditional neighborhoods. Historic houses of
various styles may be observed -- Craftsman, Greek Revival, Italiante, Second
Empire, Spanish, Tudor, and Victorian.
Memories of Gullett's and
wrote, "As kids we'd walk out there [Gullett's], and look at the roses that
had been pruned and discarded. Pick up a bouquet of rejects (that still look
good to us) and bring them home for mom."
responded, "Those roses made very good bouquets for moms--I know. Grazed the
discard pile many times as a youngster on a bike. Gulletts discarded some
roses that were "fine" for the day but would not have shipped well. While
stationed at Ft, Huachuca, AZ (67-69) -- a fellow heard I was from Lincoln and
asked about Gullett's. At one time -- I believe it was the world's largest
such facility under glass and simultaneously (maybe the folks puffed a
little) the world's largest producer of roses. Sadly--it is all gone. The
other guy was from Pana, IL, which still has a very large rose producer--and
he spoke of Lincoln 'in awe.'
It was an adventuresome bike ride from my 'Northend' of
town. The present Cilco property was cleared of what was a 'wonderful
playland'-- an old auto graveyard that also provided many hours of
Gullett's fostered what in retrospect was a program
that was decades ahead of its time -- recycling. They bought old newspapers @ a penny a pound (if memory serves) which they used in their
packing/shipping. I had done this as a young child even before then and when
I joined the Scout troop (102 that provided the
skywatchers) -- you could only get their specially designed unique
neckerchief --by participating in the troop's paper drives -- and selling the
papers to Gullett's. I'm a little fuzzy -- but think the troop got all the
money and you earned the kerchief by the number of hours you contributed.
The memory is very fuzzy -- but again your nudge -- I do
have a slight recollection of the animals grazing in the lot around the jail
property. To this day, my wife and I take an evening "buggy ride" around
town -- to wind down and many times to just 'gather wool,' as my grandmomma
called it. I remember dad taking us by to see the animals (I didn't remember
sheep specifically) there grazing on one such buggy ride. No a/c, no
TV -- buggy rides were cooling -- and often ended at Hegele's.
Hell -- in the 50's when I delivered papers in the Northend --, there were people on my route that kept chickens -- a few that kept
a porker or two and I think there were a few cows -- IN TOWN. Everybody -- and I
mean most everybody in my Northend had a garden, grape arbour, rhubarb patch
and a fruit tree or two -- and most 'put food by' as a practical matter, not a
hobby thing like we do. By the time I got to HS -- most of them had been
phased out -- at least the animals. Even McMillen's layers (Starkeys' property
at the junction of Nicholson Road and 66) had moved a mile further out."
Fred's email of 11-04 concerning Gulletts' original Tremont operation:
Twenty-one greenhouses of the type pictured would be a
lot of work space requiring a lot of laborers--and in 1903--80,000 of
anything--was a lot of whatever. I cannot document "the largest acreage
under glass in the world" boast that I heard repeated many times as a
youth--but do know that about 1967 while stationed in Southern Arizona--when
a guy heard I was from Lincoln--he asked how Gulletts was getting along. As
a younger civilian--he had been somehow involved in the retail flower biz
and told me that Gulletts was legendary--repeating the quoted boast above.
The claim obviously circulated further than the limits of Logan County.
This email message prompted the following
Fred...I read your email about Gullett's Greenhouse.
It brought back some memories for me also. When I was in grade school, we
lived in the 300 block of North Hamilton. Gulletts also had greenhouses
on the east end of Tremont, (within walking distance of our house), taking
in the entire area where the trailer park is now and extending over to
Limit Street. As a child, I used to go over there with a neighbor and get
flowers that were discarded. It was quite a treat for us. And, to make a
little spending money, we would collect old newspapers in the neighborhood
and sell them to Gulletts (they used them for packing). I think the
statement about them being the largest greenhouse in the world could very
well be true.
Jim's grandfather worked for Gulletts at this location also. Just
Your latest message certainly pushed some "memory
buttons" for me. I along with several other teenagers trying to find income
during our high school years worked at Gullett's. By the 1950's all except
the green house to the right of the picture had been removed and the
building in the picture was modified but still located in the same spot. By
then Gullett's main green house had relocated to the edge of town far south
of this location. John Dehner will remember the summer when we worked at
the southern location
repairing broken glass in the roofs. The thin ladder-like structure seen on
the roof of the green house second to the left of the "office" was our means
of getting up to the broken panes without crashing through. By the 1950's
even the south green houses were old, the wood showing the effect of age and
some minor "crashes" did occur. At that stage of life we didn't really
consider the consequences of falling 20 feet through glass and landing on a
mix of cement, poles, roses. etc. It was hot work, but the $1.00/hr wage
made it seem worthwhile. With gas at $0.32 a gallon and Coca Cola $0.10 for
16 oz. we had plenty of money to do the essentials of the teen scene.
I was going to let Fred's "Lincoln Views" pass without comment, but
Chuck Lansford's story of his and John Dehner's employment at Gullett's has
proven irresistible. In the spring and summer of '59, I got my first real
job with a real pay check at Gullett's wholesale operation on the southeast
edge of town. By that time pay had shot all the way up to $1.10 per hour.
My weekly pay check was around $36 and I was in the chips. Oh, what a
young buck could do on $36 a week.
My first day's task, one that repeated often, was to mix equal parts
of that rich Illinois loam and manure in a large concrete bin with steam
pipes in the bottom, cover it with a tarp, and "cook" it. When I got home
from my first day's work, and my mother took a whiff of her eldest son, I
took great delight in explaining all about my new job as a "s*** cooker".
I recall working with several Hungarian immigrants who had fled the
repressive Soviet military action of 1956 and being so impressed with their
work ethic, though I was unimpressed that Hungarian women did not shave
their legs. I suppose at that age I gave very little thought to the dire
circumstances that brought them to a job in the heart of the midwest. I
think our schoolmate, John Poszgei(sp?), class of '61(?), arrived in Lincoln
for those same reasons.
Another distinct memory is
of old Wilbur Gullett, over 90 years, working every day at the menial tasks
of the plant. I suspect by this time he had turned over the business side
of Gullett's to others and was content to spend his days engaged with the
growing end of things. My memory is of a small wiry man, a stump of unlit
cigar in the corner of his mouth, trudging along the maze of aisles in the
houses, hauling two buckets of potting soil to his work station. He did not
direct the work force, in fact, I don't recall him speaking to us. He
simply did his own thing eight hours a day, five days a week.
To this day I cannot enter a greenhouse, taking in its distinct
aromas, without feeling a powerful nostalgic rush all attributable to a mere
five months of my life at age 16. Bob Goebel
Otto Hembreiker in 1953 owned and operated fourteen greenhouses comprising
50,000 square feet of glass. He had begun working for Gullett and Sons
in 1894 at the age of twelve, and he continued to work at Gullett & Sons for
thirteen years. Otto's younger brother, Carl, too, worked at Gullett's,
under another older brother, William, a foreman, who later owned and
operated a large greenhouse in Springfield, Illinois.
In 1907 Otto began his own greenhouse at 437 Tenth Street, and brother Carl
joined this company. Their product was vegetable plants (mostly
lettuce, tomato, and cabbage), and they expanded into growing bedding plants,
such as geraniums, and then cut flowers. First deliveries were made
with a wheelbarrow before he could afford a horse and wagon.
Otto Heimbreiker's motto was "Earth with every plant and a scent with every
flower" ("Love for Flowers Began Business of Otto Hembreiker," Lincoln
Evening Courier, Centennial Edition, Section Four, p. 10).
19.37: Undated Delivery
In 1923, Carl sold his share of Hembreiker Brothers Florists and began his
own floral operation with a few blocks. Carl's wife, the former Doris
La Villa Camp of Peoria, worked as a partner in the operations. "In
1944 a new office was added to this business, which is the modern curved
front brick building on the corner of State and Eight Streets" ("Carl
Hembreiker Veteran Florist," Lincoln Evening Courier, section seven,
August 26, 1953, p. 10). Carl also provided landscaping service.
that on State Street near the round window of Carl Hembreiker's display room
a very old and large elm tree had survived the Dutch elm disease that killed
most of Lincoln's elm trees. I wonder if he cared for that tree and
helped it to survive into the early 1990s, after which it perished.
What more logically (and, here,
alphabetically) follows from flowers than funeral homes?
Dammerman-Fricke, Wright's), corner of Logan and Pulaski Streets,
Kerrigan's 401 Delavan Street; and Holland and Barry at Pekin
and Kankakee Streets.
Fricke-Calvert-Schrader Funeral Home,
Formerly Dammerman-Fricke, and Wright's in the 1950s
(Beaver, Logan County History 1982, p. 618)
The photo above shows one of the oldest structures in Lincoln to be used as
a funeral home. According to Paul Beaver's Logan County History
1982, Mr. John Boyden first owned and operated this facility as a
funeral home in 1893. "Livery stables for horses and carriages were
maintained directly across on Pulaski St. The Boyden family, as well
as future successors, maintained residence in spacious quarters within the
funeral home" (p. 618). The family of Edwin C. Goff owned and operated
a funeral home at this site from 1924 till 1943, when it was purchased by
Leigh G. Wright. In 1952, the business was sold to the Frickes and
Herman Dammerman (p. 618).
Ad from Official Plat Book and Farmers' Directory of Logan County,
Illinois, 1962, p. 18
Avery and Comstock, corner of Broadway and
McLean; Harold's, 108 N. Kickapoo; Harwick's, IOOF Building
(McLean on the Square); Sears, Pulaski and McLean
Gebhardt's on Broadway (see below); Lauer Brothers,
S. Sangamon Street;
Lincoln Hardware Co., 116 N. Kickapoo;
19.40: Lauer Brothers
Hardware, 201-207 S. Sangamon Street
(Photo in Beaver,
History of Logan County 1982, p. 389)
Dave Armbrust points out that Lauer Brothers Hardware was preceded by M.
Reinhardt Hardware (ads below):
Atteberry-Taft Agency, 211 S. McLean Street;
Dean J. Harris, Griesheim Building;
Marion C. Thickson, 218 Willard Avenue; Vincent Jones, 509 1/2
Doty's in the Arcade Building (Hamilton-Elgin, Feature-Lock diamond
Edwards' Jewelers at 211 S. Kickapoo Street, and Charter's on
Charter's Jewelry at 520 Broadway Street
(Photo provided by D.D. Welch and with caption by Norm
Jewelry, founded by John Charter, Sr., was originally located in the Lincoln
Theater building. A full-page ad in the Lincoln Evening Courier,
Centennial Edition, Section Two, p. 16, lists the merchandise offered as
"Hamilton, Elgin, Gruen, and Bulova watches. Keepsake, Orange Blossom
and Art Carved diamond rings. Gorham, International and Heirloom
sterling. 1847 Rogers, Community Plate, Holmes and Edwards plated
ware. Syracuse, Castleton, Haviland, Flintridge, Royal Jackson and Winfield
china. Tiffin and Duncan glassware. Krementz, Kreisler,
Jacoby-Bender and Speidel, fine Jewelry for men. Trifari, Eisenberg,
Kramer, Elgin-American, Deltah and Marvella jewelry for women.
Telechron, General Electric and Seth Thomas Clocks. Sunbeam and
General Electric appliances. Ronson lighters, Sunbeam, Remington and
Schick razors. Justin and King billfolds and leather products.
Briar's Tin Shop,
320 8th Street; Elmer Peck and Son, 112 N. Chicago Street; Pluth
Tin Shop, 125 S. Sangamon Street
Ace Novelty, 110
N. Chicago Street; B&B Optical (J.E. Fults, O.D.), Arcade Building;
CinderellaBeauty Shop, 127 1/2 S. Kickapoo; Culligan Soft
Water Service, 316 N. Chicago Street; Lincoln Flying Service,
Routes 10 and 66; Lincoln Monument Company, 550 Pekin Street;
Stoll's Radio Service, 225 McLean Street; Western Auto
19.45: It Doesn't Get
Any More Miscellaneous Than This. . .
(Photo provided by D.D. Welch)
Except Maybe for This. . .
19.46: Sign Says
(Photo by D.D. Welch, captions by Norm Schroeder)
Sangamon Street had some peculiar businesses. I had forgotten about
Birchie's till I got an email from Chris Huff in October, 2002:
Chris Huff wrote, "Hi
all: I remember Fegle's being on Chicago Street: First was Alvey's
Store then Harold Huff's shoe repair, Fegle's Barber Shop with a guy who
cleaned watches in the corner of the shop, but believe that Birche's was on
Sangamon Street somewhere near where the parking lot is now for Alexander
Lumber Company. Birchie also cashed payroll checks for a dime each and
sold used tires. Rumor had it that he stashed his payroll money behind
the piles of used tires. Sold any type of shotgun shells for 5 cents
each and a box of .22 rifle shells was 45 cents. BB's were a nickle a
box. He also sold
fishing and hunting licenses. If you wanted to go squirrel hunting and
only had 10 or 15 cents, you could buy two or three shells and if you were a
decent shot - could have a couple of squirrels."
19.47: Lincoln Office
Supply at Broadway and Chicago Streets in the 1960s
(Photo provided by D.D. Welch, caption by Norm Schroeder)
Vic(tor) and Geraldine Thudium started their office supply company on south
Kickapoo Street. "One of the first sales in this new venture was a
fan, sold for $35 on payments of $3.50 per month" (Beaver, p. 609). In
1945, the Thudiums purchased the former "L" tavern building at the corner of
Broadway and Chicago Streets, moving the business to this location in the
1950s and incorporating in 1956. Lincoln Office held a franchise for
Steelcase products, acquiring and maintaining several large accounts.
In 19756 construction of a new facility was begun on Route 10 west of
Lincoln (Beaver, p. 609).
steady growth, eventually the company headquarters moved to Peoria, and the
company was sold. A chronology of this company's "highlights" appears
on its Web site at
http://www.lincolnoffice.com/company/history.htm, which includes another
version of the photo above.
Note: During one Easter break from college in the early 1960s,
Jim Thudium showed me his ability to drive the company Ford cab-over pickup
truck to herd sheep. While I rode with him in this truck one night, he
demonstrated this remarkable skill by moonlight in the pasture at the front
of Karen Kleinschmidt's parents' farmhouse north of Lincoln near Lawndale.
He laughed hysterically while the truck lurched across the rolling field,
turning sharply one way, then another. I'm sure it scared me more than
Charles C. Wodetzki, 513 Broadway (in photo
below at left); Feldman's Gifts and Paints, Kicapoo Street on the square;
Lincoln Paint and Varnish Co., 428 Broadway; Raymond L. Lenhardt,
Downtown Paint and Hardware Stores on Broadway Street in the Route 66 Era
(Photo provided by D.D. Welch)
Burchett Studio Inc.,
Fourth and State Streets;
George H. Brown, 404 N. McLean Street; Rhoads', 410 Broadway
Feldman Print Shop,
112 N. Chicago Street; Kickapoo Press, N. Kickapoo Street
Merrill's Cesspool &
Septic Tank Service, 606 Washington Street
Street on the Square;
Dehner's Family Shoes, 416 Broadway; Nash's, 521 Broadway;
Telephone directories surviving from yesteryear are rare because
typically when a family got an updated version, the old one was thrown
away. After more than ten years of looking at memorabilia on eBay
relating to Lincoln, Illinois, and browsing in used
bookstores, I saw and purchased a telephone directory for the Lincoln
area published by the Illinois Commercial Telephone Company.
Besides the regular listings, which will be useful to people in search
of family history, the classified section at the back of the directory
will be especially interesting to history buffs to show the services and
products available to area residents of small Midwestern communities in
the heart of the land of Lincoln at mid-twentieth century (twelve years
before Walmart was founded in 1962). The tips
on telephone etiquette are reminiscent of a kinder, gentler society. In
view of the vast social changes that have taken place since
then, this directory thus becomes a cultural artifact
of a former civilization. As a courtesy, I have carefully scanned this
entire directory and republished it on this site as a printable PDF:
Click to access the
1950 Telephone Directory for Armington, Atlanta, Elkhart, Lincoln,
McLean, and New Holland.
Note: this is a 51-page document and will take a couple of minutes
Various Retail Stores Downtown
19.49: Landauer's Clothing,
Broadway Street on the Square
(Photo provided by D.D. Welch)
Avery & Comstock Furniture,
Broadway and McLean on the Square
provided by D.D. Welch)
The Landauer family
owned one of Lincoln's most enduring retail clothing stores, dating from
the 1870s into the 1980s (Beaver, History of Logan County 1982, p.
386). Joseph Landauer, the founder, had married Bertha Kahn, daughter
of Solomon Kahn, who "had purchased the Postville Courthouse from the county
for $300 in 1848 and opened a mercantile and general store on the first
floor of the building" (p. 386). In 1900, Joseph Landauer opened his
clothing store at 604-606 Broadway Street on the square. William
Maxwell describes the Landauer clothing store in "With Reference to an
Incident at a Bridge" (All All the Days and Nights: The Collected
Stories, pp. 265-269). For more information on this description,
5. Social Class & Race in
William Maxwell's Writings Set in Lincoln, Illinois.
Joseph's sons, Nathan (Nate)
and Julius, moved the men's and women's clothing store to 608-610 Broadway
Street. In 1931, the business was
rebuilt, following a disastrous fire. In 1935, the store was sold to Nate's
son, Norman. His nephew, Cary Block, became co-owner upon Norman's death in
1977 (Beaver, p. 386).
Old photos of stores on the
square in the 1900s show they often had large awnings. The photos
above show that even in mid-20th Century Broadway Street storefronts on the
square had distinct awnings.
19.51: Kickapoo Street on
the Square, 1960s
(Photo provided by D.D. Welch)
Myers' Brothers, Kickapoo Street on
the Square, 1960s
(Photo provided by D.D.Welch)
The store fronts in the
above photos were on Kickapoo Street on the square, the same block shown
above in 19.1. A close comparison of the second stories of the left and
middle stores of 19.40 to the second stories of the middle in 19.1 shows the
same architectural features, especially in the windows' designs. Note
the 1950s and '60s vehicle designs.
Suggested for General Business in Lincoln
Beaver, Paul J. History of Logan County Illinois
1982. Published by the Logan County Heritage Foundation. Dallas,
TX: Taylor Publishing Company, 1982:
few photos of 19th-Century streets and storefronts in the courthouse area
Dooley, Raymond, ed. The Namesake Town: A
Centennial History of Lincoln, Illinois. Lincoln, IL: Feldman's Print
articles focusing on general business but a few ads for such retailers (in order
published) as Hanger's, Julius Jacobs & Co., Purcell Book Store, Sears Roebuck
and Co., Spurgeon's, J.C. Penny, Roy Clappers Tire and Appliance, Landauer's,
Lincoln Paper Co., Schoen's Shoes, Alvey's Drug Store, Charter's Jewelry, Avery
& Comstock, the Lincoln Hardware Co., the Lincoln Camera Shop, Doty's, Spellman
and Co., and the Music Shop.
Gleason, Paul E. Lincoln: A Pictorial History.
St. Louis, MO: G. Bradley Publishing, 1998:
Inside cover filled with mosaic of numerous ads for Lincoln, Illinois,
businesses over many decades
One-page section titled "Business," with photos of the Dehner Block and Lincoln
Business College, p. 43.
Section titled "General Businesses" with photos of street scenes in the downtown
area, including photos of man exteriors and a few interiors (Alvey's, Jacob
Stuckel's National Cigar Store, and Denger's Grocery).
Gleason, Paul E., and Paul J. Beaver, Logan County,
Illinois: A Pictorial History. St. Louis, MO: G. Bradley
Photo of Sheer's Wagon and Buggy Shop in 1865 and Sheer's Auto Supply in the
Photo of Sandel's at Fifth and Stringer Avenue in 1929
Photo of Pulaski Street on the square in 1941, showing Sears Roebuck and the
Lincoln Evening Courier,
centennial edition, Wednesday, August 27, 1953:
"John A. Lutz Drygoods Store Had Been a Part of Illinois for over Seventy-Five
Years," p. 13.
Numerous ads, including full-page ads, for such major retailers as Avery &
Comstock; Boss Drugs; Feldman's Paints, Wallpapers, and Gifts; Hursh Television
(two full pages); Landauer's; and Myers.
Stringer, Lawrence B. History of Logan
County, Illinois, 1911. Evansville, IN: UNIGRAPHIC, INC., 1978:
Chapter 31: "Commercial and Industrial," pp. 537-551, deals mainly with
· Information about general
business is limited and found mainly in Chapter 33: "City of Lincoln," pp.
560-586, with descriptions of early commerce and stores in Postville and
19.53: Christmas Retail
Promotion in Lincoln, 1923
19.54: Penny's on Kickapoo
Street in the Route 66 Era
The Past Is But the Prelude
(1953 centennial and 2003 sesquicentennial motto)
100 S. Chicago Street as
Obcamp's Tavern in the Late 1800s
(Gleason, Lincoln: A Pictorial History, p. 79)
200 S. Chicago Street as
The Jane Wright State Farm Agency in 2002
(Photo in lincolndailynews.com, 5-19-01)
Building received award for exterior rehabilitation.
Miscellaneous Old-Time Ads and Ad Cards from Businesses in Lincoln,