The Definitive Dwiggins no. 106—Richmond, Indiana, Part I: Businesses
This post accompanies The Definitive Dwiggins no. 94 and The Definitive Dwiggins no. 107 as part of my attempt to establish the context and environment in which W.A. Dwiggins grew up.
Richmond, Indiana was the city where Dwiggins spent his childhood.  When he arrived there, as a six months-old infant, the city had a population of 12,742; by 1890 when he left, following the death of his father, the population had increased to 16,608. Richmond was a booming, bustling industrial center during his decade there. The anonymous author(s) of Manufacturing and Mercantile Resources & Industries of the Principal Places in Wayne, Henry, Delaware and Randolph Counties, Indiana… (n.p.: Historical and Statistical Publishing Co., 1884) gushed about the city’s industrial progress:
We know of no other town of its class in this part of the Union that so impresses the stranger with its metropolitan manners or goaheaditiveness, yet it is plain to be seen that business is conducted on a solid, conservative basis, which we attribute to the predominance of an element composed principally of members of the Society of Friends…. 
Factories in Richmond made farm implements (threshers, reapers, cultivators, grain drills, etc.), mill machinery and steam engines, lawn mowers, musical instruments (especially pianos), roller skates, school furniture, and coffins.  The city, located on the border of Indiana and Ohio, was also a transportation center with several railroads running through it: the Chicago, St. Louis & Pittsburgh Railroad; the Chicago division of the Pittsburg, Cincinnati & St. Louis Railroad; the Dayton & Western Railroad; and the Richmond division of the Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railway. 
The Historical and Statistical Publishing Co. book cited above included entries on the merchants of Richmond as well as on the city’s factories. Since it was published in 1884, all of those businesses were in existence during the years that Dr. Dwiggins and his family lived in Richmond. The two photographs of Main Street shown here were made several years later, one the same year that Dr. Dwiggins died and the other in 1893. Although they are not precise views of what downtown Richmond was like when Willie was growing up there, they are fairly close. 
The c.1890 photograph of Main Street at Eighth Street is looking east toward the First Methodist Episcopal Church at 14th Street. On the north side of the street the identifiable businesses are Johnson & Woodhurst (no. 810), stove merchants; J.B. Gilbert (no. 820), shoe merchant; dentists Wilson & Pearce (upstairs at no. 830); P. Lichtenfels & Co. (nos. 830–832), clothing store; the Model Clothing House (corner of 9th Street); Joseph Grimm (nos. 904–906), furniture dealer; and B.A. Field (no. 910), druggist. The awning advertising cycles (at the far left) probably belongs to I.C. Doan, agent for Victor Cycles, whose office was located around the corner at 45 North 8th Street.
On the south side of the street the identifiable businesses are: Richmond Business College and Institute of Penmanship and Short-Hand (O.E. Fulghum, principal) (corner of 8th Street); The Geo. H. Knollenberg Co. (nos. 809–817), a dry goods store; Arnold’s New Hotel and Restaurant (no. 823); The Eldorado Steam Laundry and Bath Rooms (no. 829); James M. Coe (no. 917), book and job printer; and The Richmond Telegram (nos. 917–919) (J.M. Coe, proprietor of the Telegram Job Room). The ghost sign for a real estate and fire insurance agent could not be identified as Richmond city directories do not list any with initials W.J. Similarly, no musical instrument stores are listed on the 800 block. 
The photograph of Main Street at Fifth Street also looks east toward the First Methodist Episcopal Church. Taken in 1893, it is likely that most of the businesses were present during Eva and Willie’s brief time (April 1891 to July 1892) back in Richmond between their stays in Los Angeles and Zanesville, Ohio. There are fewer clues to the businesses than in the Main-and-Eighth-Street photograph, but they are more exact.
On the north side of the street is the “candy factory” of Nicholas Anagnost (no. 504); Henry Stiens (no. 510), boot and shoe dealer; and the restaurant of Herman Rost (no. 512). On the south side there is an oyster cafe that is probably the saloon of Louis Muth (no. 501); Detch & Son (nos. 515–517), bicycle dealers; Wiggins & Co. (no. 509), a saddlery; R.B. Dickinson (no. 523), seller of clocks, watches, and jewelry; Grothaus & Son (no. 533), furniture dealers; The Palace Drug Store (also known as J.L. Adams & Co.) (no. 601); and C.B. Hunt (no. 603), grocers. The job printer in the ghost sign was probably B.F. Wissler & Co., located at the southeast corner of Main Street and Sixth Street, while the rubber stamp purveyor may have been Iliff & Co., a stationer located at the southwest corner of Main Street and Sixth Street. 
Below I have attached photographs of individual storefronts on Main Street to provide a better sense of what Richmond’s business district looked like at street level.
This is the intersection of Main Street and Seventh Street. The First National Bank, established in 1863, occupies the building on the northwest corner with A.G. Luken & Co., druggists, to its immediate left at 630 Main Street. The latter also sold paints, varnishes, and dye stuffs. It shared the building with A. Fox & Co. (“Fox the Clothier and Hatter”) (no. 628) run by Anna Fox. 
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.) was a national fraternal organization founded in 1819. Their building at the southwest corner of Main Street and Eighth Street was constructed in 1868 with an addition on South 8th Street (at far left) added in 1888. It housed a number of businesses, including in this photograph Nussbaum & Mashmeyer (at the corner), purveyors of dry goods, and Nicholson & Bro. (729 Main Street), booksellers and stationers. N.H. Hutton & Co., real estate and fire insurance agents had offices on the second floor. The Central Union Telephone Co. (Telephone Exchange) shared the building next door with the clothiers Loehr & Klute (no. 725) and dentist August F. Kemper. 
Although the building in the photograph has a cornice dated 1885, J.A. Cunningham (The West End Shoe Store) was located at 529 Main Street during the entire decade of the 1880s. Presumably they either remodeled the previous store or built a new one on the same site.
In the 1893 photograph Grothaus & Co., operated by “George and Son,” was located at 533 Main Street. In the photograph below (from the period 1897–1901) the store, now run by son Ferdinand, has relocated a block away to 614–616 Main Street.
Although these photographs of Richmond, Indiana are from the 1890s rather than the 1880s, they still provide some visual flavor of the urban environment in which Willie Dwiggins grew up. Most of the businesses stayed at the same address for years and thus the streetscape would not have changed drastically from one decade to the next—with the exception of modes of transportation. However, even that would have been the same for Willie since the tracks visible in the two Main Street photographs were for horse-drawn street cars rather than electric cars. Interurban railways did not arrive in Richmond until the end of the 1890s. The building facades of Richmond’s commercial center and its architectural texture—the mix of low-rise and high-rise buildings—was relatively static into the early 20th century. 
1. For the background on Dwiggins’ birthplace see The Definitive Dwiggins no. 101; and for the background on Cambridge, Ohio where Dwiggins spent his adolescence see The Definitive Dwiggins no. 47.
2. Manufacturing and Mercantile Resources & Industries of the Principal Places in Wayne, Henry, Delaware and Randolph Counties, Indiana… (n.p.: Historical and Statistical Publishing Co., 1884), p. 9. 3. Ibid., pp. 10–61. In the 1880s Gaar, Scott & Co., Robinson Machine Works, and Wayne Agricultural Company made farm implements; Richmond Machine Works, Robinson Machine Works, and Dill & McGuire Manufacturing Co. made mill machinery and steam engines; Dill & McGuire—and later many other firms—made lawn mowers; the piano manufacturers were William R. Swan & Co., Chase Piano Co., and Starr Piano Co.; roller skates were made by Champion Roller Skate and Wagon Company and Richmond Roller Skate Co.; Haynes, Spencer & Co. made school furniture; and J.M. Hutton & Co. and Ezra Smith & Co. Manufacturing Association manufactured caskets and coffins. Today Richmond is remembered more for being the home of Gennett Records, a division of Starr Piano Company, which in the 1920s recorded such jazz luminaries as Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Bix Beiderbecke, and Jelly Roll Morton.
4. Manufacturing and Mercantile Resources & Industries of the Principal Places in Wayne, Henry, Delaware and Randolph Counties, Indiana… (n.p.: Historical and Statistical Publishing Co., 1884), p. 10.
5. I dated the photographs based on cross-referencing businesses visible in them with a detailed examination of Richmond city directories from 1883 to 1893.
6. Several addresses in Richmond city directories don’t exactly match those visible in the photographs, indicating either that businesses legally occupied more than one number or that the signs may have been out-of-date. E.g. Johnson & Woodhurst are listed at 810 Main Street (matching the photograph) until 1888 when they are listed at 812–814 Main Street. C.S. Wilson is never listed on his own as a dentist in the directories, only as a partner in Wilson and Pierce; though a Wm. N. Wilson—presumably his father—is at the same address before then.
7. See R.L. Polk & Co.’s Richmond City Directory 1893–1894… (Richmond, Indiana: M. Cullaton & Co., 1893). The C.B. Hunt sign, facing east, is to the left of the telephone poles on the south side of the street.
9. See R.L. Polk & Co.’s Richmond City Directory 1897–1898… (Richmond, Indiana: M. Cullaton & Co., 1897).
10. To see how Richmond, Indiana changed physically and visually over the course of the 19th century see Dalbey’s Centennial Souvenir Pictorial History of the City of Richmond, Indiana… 1806–1906 by Edwin F. and Walter L. Dalbey (Richmond, Indiana: Nicholson Printing & Mfg. Company, 1906).
I want to thank Sue King of The Morrison-Reeves Library (Richmond, Indiana) for the photographs of Richmond, Indiana and for providing me with information about some of the businesses.