Downtown – 2

The 100 Block of Main St. – North Side

The 102 Block of Main

The 100 Block of Main Street, north side, in the mid-late 1920s
This page is about the businesses in this block.

On this page we will once again begin at the corner of Main and Jefferson Streets and go east only this time we will look at the businesses on the north side of Main. This side of Main is a lot more difficult to get a handle on because a lot of the businesses weren’t listed in the phone books. I don’t know if they didn’t have a phone or were just never listed in the book. An example of this is the Bowling Alley of which there has already been a lot of discussion.

102 East Main St (The NE corner of Main and Jefferson)

N W C Reeves’ Drug Store

Norman Wilmont Chesterfield Reeves opened his Drug Store at 102 East Main way back in the 1800. I’m not sure of the exact date. His son took over the business sometime in the 30s and then closed it in 1938. The son, also Norman, was a prominent and well respected figure in Knightstown in the 40s and 50s when I was growing up. He was active in many civic organizations including the School Board and Band Boosters.

Reeves Drugs 1908

N.W.C. Reeves’ Drug Store in the early 1900s
(How ’bout that cool set of wheels..??)

Parish Cleaners

The Parish Cleaners had the corner location after Reeves until about 1948.

The Cousins Shop

The Cousins Shop sold children’s clothes. They only were in business for about a year in ‘48/’49. I think maybe they were the same folks who ran the Tot and Teen and just changed the name.

The Tot and Teen Shop

The Tot and Teen Shop had the corner store throughout most of the decade of the 50s. They closed in 1959 and Shafer’s Jewelers moved into the store at 102 East Main. Maybe some of you readers can help with some more info about the “Tot and Teen Shop”.

104 East Main St.

The Citizens National Bank

The Citizens Bank was the smaller of the two banks in Knightstown but never-the-less a very strong little financial instution. I don’t think there was ever any fear of it going out of business during the dark days of the depression. It had been around since way back in the 1800s and one just assumed that as long as there was a town it would be there. But alas, like so much of Knightstown of my youth, it’s gone. My family banked at the First National so I don’t ever remember ever being inside the Citizens. Besides the actual bank, I know they always had an insurance agency and some lawyer’s offices in the building. I need to do some research to provide a little more history of the Citizens Bank.

106 East Main St.

The Carroll Co.

The Carroll Co. was an upscale haberdashery that opened in the store next to the bank in 1923. Ed Barker & Sons, also a men’s wear shop, had previously occupied the space. The Carroll Co. was in business at 106 East Main until sometime during the war years, (1942 to 1944).

Hopkin’s Gift Store

Hopkin’s shows up in the 1945 telephone book but is missing in 1948 so I don’t know how long they were in business. The advertisement below is from the spring of 1947 and indicates they sold upscale ladies clothes as well as “gifts”.
Hopkins Gift Store Ad

Hopkin’s Gift Store Advert. – 1947

The Gay Spot

Here’s where the history of the businesses at 106 East Main gets a little fuzzy to me. I believe a beer and wine bar took over the location in about 1948 but I’m not sure of the name. At some point it was called “The Gay Spot” but maybe not from the beginning. Of course, the word “gay” hadn’t yet been misappropriated.
I think there was a tavern there up until the building was torn down to facilitate drive thru banking at Citizens Bank. I believe that was in ‘58 or ‘59.

108 East Main St.

The Strand Theater

The Strand Theater opened sometime in the later teens and closed in March of 1941. The Strand was the smaller and cheaper picture show in town. They must have done a pretty good business because they were open for many years.
Strand Closing Notice

Here’s the article from the Banner about the Strand closing.

Strand Advert

An Ad from the 1920 Phone Book for the two theatres
in Knightstown

The Bowling Alley

I’m not sure when the Bowling Alley moved into the premises at 108 East Main but I think it was when the Strand vacated in March of ‘41. I have no idea where the Bowling Alley was located before it moved here. Perhaps upstairs in Bell’s Hall.
There are some good articles about the Bowling Alley on the “Knightstown was a busy place” page. Jim Lefforge bought the business from Cecil Binford in 1947 and I think he ran it until 1950 when it closed but I’m not at all sure of that date.
Bowling Alley Ad

Here’s an Ad from a 1947 Banner for the Bowling Alley

Ed Fox Carburetor and Auto Electrical Service

I don’t know who occupied the premises after the Bowling Alley and before Ed Fox opened his specialized auto parts and repair shop at 108 East Main in 1954. Maybe it was vacant for a while. I think Fox mostly operated out of the rear of the building since there was no access for cars in the front. He later (in 1958) operated only in the back by the alley and turned over the front of the building to a finance company. He was in business at 108 E. Main until 1962.

Wabash Loan and Finance Corp

The Wabash finance company opened up in the front of the building at 108 E. Main in 1958 but changed their name to Beneficial Finance Co. of Knightstown in 1960. They moved over on Jefferson Street in 1962 and Miller’s Paint Store took over the property (front and back).

110 East Main St.

Thornberg Grocery – American Grocery

There were grocery stores at 110 East Main during the early years of the 20th century. Thornberg Grocery occupied the premises from 1909 (maybe earlier) until 1923 when American Grocery took over. American was in business there until 1931 or 32.

Henley Studio

Henley Studio opened at 110 E. Main in 1936. I don’t know who was there between ‘33 and ‘36 but I’m working on it.
I never knew Oren Henley. Joe Cooney operated the business from about 1950 on. I think the name should have been “Cooney Studio”. He took most of the portrait photos in Knightstown including all the school pictures.
The business operated at 110 E. Main from 1936 until about 1980.

114 East Main St.
When I was growing up the First National Bank took up the whole building on the north side of Main by the alley. That wasn’t always true. Up until the late ’30s they only had the part nearest the alley.

Charles Ratliff Shoe Repair

There was a shoe repair shop next to the Bank in the first years of the 20th century. I’m not sure when they opened or closed but I’ll try to find out.

The Dainty Sweet Shoppe

After the shoe shop, the premises at 114 East Main was occupied by a Confectionary/Restaurant (I’m sure it had a soda fountain, yum.!!). It opened in about 1922 and was run by a W. J. Wilson until ‘29 when N.A. King took over. King removed “Dainty” from the name so it was just the “Sweet Shoppe” after 1929.
Ad for the Dainty Sweet Shoppe

Here’s an advert from the 1923 phone book.

There are no listings in the phone book for it in the years 1934 and ‘35. I don’t know if they were closed or just didn’t have a phone. Those were tough years…!!
In 1936 and ‘37 Mary Henricks was the proprietor and then, alas, the Sweet Shoppe was gone.
I can’t find 114 East Main listed in the phone directories from 1937 onward so I suspect the Bank expanded to take over the space around that time.

First National Bank Building

This picture shows the 1st National Bank Building in about 1905. You can clearly see businesses at 114 and 118 E. Main St. Looks like a Barber Shop was at 114 at that time but I can find no record of it.

118 East Main St.
There are many listings for businesses at 118 East Main Street in the phone books through the years but they are always for professional type endeavors, ie, Doctors, Real Estate, Insurance, Lawyers and Dentists. I think there was probably a suite of offices on the second floor of the bank building and they all had 118 E. Main as an address. Willard Avery’s office was always upstairs over the bank and his address was 118 E. Main.

120 East Main St.

The First National Bank

The First National Bank opened at 120 East Main Street during the last year of the war between the states, 1865. It was in business at that location for well over 100 years and there is still a bank doing business there.
I’m looking for more history of the Bank. If anyone can help, please let me know.

As we pass the Bank going east we come to the alley. The next half block is considerably shorter due to the space for the public square.

122/126 East Main St.
The establishment on the other side of the alley from the bank is something of an aberration from the normal downtown business structure. It must have been built to be a residence instead of a business. It certainly looks that way. The address is also unusual because it was designated as 126 E. Main until the 1940s then was changed to 122 E. Main.

Tyner Millinery Parlor

There was a ladies hat shop at 126 E. Main around the turn of the 20th century. I don’t know much about it but there was a Miss G.E. Tyner still living on east Main St. listed in the 1909 phone book. There is no mention of the hat shop.
Millinery Parlor advert

This flyer is in the Historic Knightstown archive.
I don’t know what year it’s from.

Jolly’s Drug Store

Walter Jolly had his Drug Store at 126 East Main from about 1922 until about 1925 when he moved straight across the street to 121 E. Main.

Wood’s Pharmacy

Wood’s Drug Store opened at 126 E. Main when Jolly’s moved out around 1925-26. Wood’s did business there for 15 years and then also moved across the street to 127 East Main in about 1940.

Elite Cafe

The Elite Cafe was listed in the 1948 phone book with an address of 122 E. Main Street. I don’t know why there is a disparity in the address but it has to be the same place as 126 East Main. There just isn’t any other place it could be.
I don’t know who occupied the building between the time when Wood’s moved out and the Elite opened. I’ll try to find out.

The Elite Cafe

Here’s a picture of the Elite Cafe from the mid 1950s

Here’s a comment by Deborah Whitesitt about the Elite Cafe:

After rereading people in the past, another couple who owned The Elite Cafe was Scott and Hettie Johnson. I think this is the name of the couple who may have had Elite in the approximate years…55, or 56 and beyond until its demise. The Elite Cafe looked like a cute little house with a swing on the front porch. In the entry, was an ice cream case and the cash register. I used to go visit them and swing for hours. Of course this is while I was doing my growing up at Robin Lee. The food was excellent and I believe the wonderful cooks last name was Caudill????

I think they were open at 122 E. Main until the late 1960s.

128 East Main St.

Boyd’s Drug Store

There were druggist at 128 East Main for many years. A.O. Boyd had a Drug Store here in 1909. I’m not sure how long he had been there prior to that.

Wink’s Drug Store

Vern Wink took over the Drug Store at 128 in 1910. By 1919 Wink no longer owned the business. I don’t know when it changed hands but it must have been in the late teens.

Johnson’s Drug Store

Johnson’s was listed in the 1919 phone book at 128 E. Main St. and remained open at that location throughout most of the 1920s. They went out of business sometime around 1928.

Leavitt’s Cut Price Store

Leavitt’s took over the location when Johnson’s closed. They were only in business there for two or three years, approximately 1928 to 1930.
Ad for Leavitt's Cut Price Store

Here’s an advert from the 1930 phone book.

The Bargain Leader

I don’t know anything about the “Bargain Leader” except they were in business from 1931 until about 1936. I don’t even know what they sold but suspect they were probably like a dry goods store. I’ll try to find out more.

Robin Lee Dress Shop

Mary Leisure opened the Robin Lee Dress Shop at 128 E. Main in 1937 or 38 and was in business in that location for at least 30 years. It was a very successful business and popular with girls and women from a large area in Eastern Indiana.

Here are some adverts from the Banner in the 1955-56 period:
[seo_thumb_gallery category="Downtown K Town" gallery="Robinlee" size="small"]

130 East Main St.

130 E. Main is the address for the corner of Main and the Public Square. There was a grocery store at that location for most of the 20th century.
Risk's Grocery

Here’s a picture of the Risk Grocery from about 1905. An Interurban car is in the foreground.

There may have been a Grocery store at this location for a long time before 1900. I just don’t know and have no way to find out.
Charles Myron Risk became part owner of a store here in 1899 and soon owned the business outright. He was 35 at the time. He built the business into the most successful grocery in Knightstown at the time. He ran it until 1923.

The grocery changed hands several times after Risk but it was almost always a grocery. I’ll just list the proprietors through the years. I think most of us remember the Vestal’s running the store in the early 50s. They were nice folks…!!

  • Charles Risk Grocery – c.1900-1922
  • Green and James Grocery- 1923-1924
  • Henricks Drugs – 1924
  • Green’s Grocery – 1925-1928
  • Philip Parker’s Home Store Grocery – 1929-1946
  • Browne’s IGA Store – 1946-1950
  • Vestal’s IGA Store – 1950-1956
  • Patton’s IGA – 1956-1980

We have come to the end of this block and thus the end of this page. If you see any mistakes or have anything to share about any of these businesses please leave a comment…!!!

Click here to Go to a page about the east side of the Public Square

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