Middletown Historical Photos

MIDDLETOWN HISTORICAL PHOTOS

Photos and historical information courtesy of Bob Hess and the Middletown-Fall Creek Twp. Historical Society.  Thank you!

Historic Middletown, IN

name="1906">LOOKING EAST ON LOCUST STREET ABOUT 1906

The photo was shot by Wilson N. Showalter’s assistant. Showalter is standing next to his auto on the far right in front of his furniture store, the large brick building with the awning, built in 1886 & dismantled in 1972 and now the parking lot for the Civic Center.

Showalter had one of the first cameras and shot many scenes of the town since about 1870,which are published in MEMORIES,DREAMS, & REFLECTIONS OF MIDDLETOWN@ 1975 and led to the organizing of a historical society by his great-grandson, Robert W. Hess. In 1998 the Society built a building with private funds on property donated by First United Bank to the town next to the former site of Showalter’s home. He also had a funeral parlor between his home and store. He had a horse drawn hearse & later a motorized one and owned the first automobile in town,a 1901 steam locomobile. He operated the first 5-cent movie theatre (NICKLELO) located across the street in the Tykle Block built in 1986 by L.O. Miller,just west of the Tykle business block on the corner,which contained the drug store and hotel above, built in 1873.

Showalter’s daughter, Hazel,married Hedrick’s son,Jim and they lived in their home built about 1899 on the northeast corner of 5th & High St., now on the National Reg. of Historical Homes. The Merchants Building on the left was built in 1904 by a group of local merchants led by a local attorney,Frank Wisehart. The windows from the Victorian mansion facing the east and belonging to Dr. Roland T. Summers were used in the back of this building. Page 61-62 describes many of the occupants of the Merchants Bldg. over the years,which was also used by the BMV & Library.The buildings to the left of his store were built by John Hedrick in the 1880’s-1891. Theatre performances were held on the 2nd floor in the Hedrick Hall,now the Civic Center. A fire in this block during the 1890’s led to the Water Works and hydrants being built in 1895 and Showalter helped organize the volunteer fire dept. on June 12,1896.

Concrete sidewalks were built in 1897 and in 1914 Locust St. was paved with approximately 250,000 bricks from the east Fall Creek Bridge to 8th St. with the interurban track down the middle from the east turn around,now the entrance to Dietrich Park. The bricks were paved over in the 1950’s. The interurban going to mounds State Park & Anderson,had a grand opening in 1905 and lasted until 1931.

Historic Middletown, IN

name="1940">LOOKING NORTH ON 5TH ST. LATE 1940’S

The late 1940’s model International panel truck belonged to Charlie Fields,who had a Best Ever ice cream route and store on the south side of Locust at the end of 7th  Street. He was probably delivering ice cream to the Cossack Inn,owned by Ted Raft, located on the right in the I.O.R.M. (Indiana Order of Red Men) building built in 1886, and in 1880 occupied by the Miller Bros. Drug Store. In 1949 it became the Hat Box and the Conservation Club met in the rooms above holding fish fries regularly. Ted moved the Cossack Inn to the present location of Homestead Market at the south end of 6th St. on the south side of locust.

The sign on the left identifies the Middletown News & printing located in the garage behind what is now Ballard’s Funeral Home. The car on the right facing the wrong way is a 1937 Chrysler Airflow.

Historic Middletown, IN

name="1963">c. 1963 BY CLETUS BRONNENBERG

Photo was taken from outside the photography shop of Bronnenberg located on the north side of Locust St., west of Moore’s corner drug store, marked by the Rexall Drug sign on the upper left.

The white building on the left was the former City Building built on block 1:lot one of the original plat of Middletown incorporated in 1840. The top of a public telephone booth can be seen and (if you look hard) the first Town police car with a red light on top; a 1958 2-door black Chevrolet is parked next to it.

The next tall building on the left would have been Ducheck’s hardware store per 1945, formerly an implement shop for Wisehart & Fisher, built in 1902.

Across the street was Dietrich’s Chevrolet per 1933, formerly Oakland-Pontiac Agency@Frank Dietrich:and to the right of the southeast corner was Tucker’s Furniture Store per 1951,formerly Fireside Furnishings owned by Delbert Fisher per 1947.

You can see the Farmer’s State Bank sign on their building built in 1912, after the first brick building in town built by Washington Franklin was tore down. A couple of 1955 Chevrolets and a rear-engine Chevrolet Corvair can be seen. The Xmas train was donated by the Chamber of commerce during the 1950’s.