15 West Main St.
Hiram Spencer's name appears on many of the deed records for land located in the south side of the first block
of West Main Street. One of the five Spencer brothers to settle in Evansville, Hiram owned the site that is now
15 West Main Street.
Spencer held onto the land until 1864 when he sold lot 6 to Andrew Pettigrew and lot 7 to Elnathan Sawtelle.
Sawtelle sold the west quarter of the lot to Andrew Pettigrew. Pettigrew divided the lots so that two stores could
be built. The property that is 15 West Main straddles the lot lines of lots 6 and 7.
When Andrew and his wife Hannah Pettigrew died, his children sold the property to Jerome Bemis. In 1867,
Bemis advertised himself as a boot and shoe salesman and a life insurance agent for the World Mutual Life
Two years later in September 1869, Bemis sold the property to Henry K. Richardson and Martin Case for $500.
Just three months later, in December 1869, Case and Richardson sold the property to Isaac Hoxie for the same
Robinson and Hoxie moved their clothing store to a different location when Hoxie had a chance to rent the first
floor to Silas Cowell for a bakery in 1878. Cowell moved out two years later.
For a small village printer, Hoxie had a substantial investment in printing apparatus. He described his
equipment in an article in 1879. In his newpaper room, he had a Cincinnati double medium hand press (24 x
66), a quarto medium Globe press, and an eight medium Star. He had a large selection of news and job type
and could do stationery, cards, and advertising, as well as the weekly newspaper.
The printing business often seemed to be a burden to Hoxie and occassionally he would lease the business to
someone, or take in a partner. In April 1879, Hoxie announced that he had rented the Review to J. Boyd Jones
and was retiring. However, within a year, Hoxie was back as editor of the Review.
Over the next few years, Hoxie was in and out of the newspaper business several times. He tried the clothing
business again for a year in 1880 when Elijah Robinson sold his interest in the clothing store to Hoxie.
In the April 28, 1880 issue of the Review, Hoxie announced to his readers that he had purchased "the stock of
ready made clothing, hats, and caps of E. Robinson and opened the store lately occupied by Mr. Silas Cowell,
under the Review office."
That same month he also took over as editor of the Review. While the Review was being printed upstairs, the
tenants in the first floor changed frequently. Hoxie gave up the store business and a millinery store, where
ladies hats were created, was beneath the Review office in 1886.
Hoxie also ran a book store with his son, Wilbur called the Review Book store. They sold and repaired books.
Isaac was reported to be an accomplished book binder.
In 1894, the Review was sold to Magee & Lawton Publishers and they moved the printing offices into the Magee
Opera House block. Hoxie rented the old Review space to the Women's Christian Temperance Union.
The first story was rented to the tailoring firm of Boswick and Voeltz. Hoxie had a large glass front put into the
building so that the men could display their merchandise.
In September 1896, the conflagration that destroyed nearly all of the south side of the West Main Street
business district wiped out the Hoxie building. The first floor was still occupied by the tailor business of Bostwick
and Voeltz. The second floor was unoccupied.
The building was in flames before the tailors could get their goods out. The small insurance that they had did
not cover the loss of their stock. They moved their business to the Pioneer Drug Store block on East Main
Within two months, Hoxie applied to the City Council for a permit to building another wooden building to be
veneered with brick. The Council took his petition under consideration and tried to pass the matter off to Albert
Snashall, the building inspector.
Hoxie's building lot was in the fire district which required that the building be of brick or stone. While Hoxie
agreed to put brick veneer on the front to match the other stores, he wanted the frame to be of wood.
Snashall refused to grant the permit because of the fire hazard and said he "wished to do nothing about it
without instruction from the council as the plan was so different from the requirements." The council agreed
with Snashall and refused the permit by a vote of four to one.
Hoxie eventually got his permit and agreed to comply with the building regulations. His new store was built at a
cost of $1,000. The narrow two-story building fit on a site that was 20.25 feet wide.
A stamped metal bay window was built into the second story. The first story store-front had large display
windows. The decorative iron beam that went across the front, matched the other buildings being constructed.
Building Inspector Snashall was still not pleased with the new buildings going up to replace those destroyed in
the fire. According to Snashall, none of the new buildings being built were complying with city building
ordinances. His complaints to the city council went unheard and the builders were permitted to go on despite
When Hoxie's building was complete, he rented the space to merchants. The Economy Store was one of the
early occupants of the new building. They used the first floor of Hoxie's building for their clothing department.
Hoxie sold the building to real estate agent James Gillies in May 1902. Gillies had his office with his partner,
Marshall Fisher at 16 East Main Street and he began accumlating a number of commercial and residential
properties that he rented to other businesses.
In 1904, Frank M. Crow rented the building from Gillies and opened a drug store. Crow had been in the
community more than 20 years and had worked as a clerk and pharmacist in the Pioneer Drug Store owned by
Dr. J. M Evans and his son. When he struck out on his own, Crow was in competition with his former
In October 1904, the Badger newspaper announced the Crow was busy unpacking his new furniture for his
drug store. In addition to his pharmacy, that according to advertisements carried on "pure drugs", Crow sold
stationery, perfumes and school supplies. The real attraction in the store was a caged, live crow, kept in the
front of the store.
Besides his drug store, Crow and his son-in-law, local dentist, Dr. J. W. Ames grew ginseng. In 1906, they paid
$200 a pound for seed and when it was full grown, a process that took three years, the root was shipped to
China, where it was highly prized for medicinal purposes.
Gillies was adept at getting renters for the second story of the building. The space was used at various times
for doctor's offices, real estate and apartments for families. In 1919, James Gillies moved his real estate
agency to the second floor of the building, replacing Dr. Fred Colony who had been renting the space for his
office. The Myron Park family moved into the flat over the Crow Drug Store in February 1921.
Crow retired in 1923 and Robert L. Collins, another pharmacist, moved into the first floor of the building.
Collins had attended a pharmacists school in Milwaukee and had graduated in 1920. Opening his own drug
store was R. L. Collins' first venture into the business world.
Collins moved his drug store into the Grange Store in 1926. His goods were housed in the space that had
been the Grange Bank, on the east side of the building. Arthur E. Tomlin moved into the Gillies building and
opened a variety store.
In addition to his work in the variety store, Tomlin was also an electrician and received contracts to do the
electrical work on the Footville and the Albany Condenseries. The jobs of wiring the plants meant several
thousand dollars income, according to the Evansville Review.
Tomlin stayed in Gillies' building five years and then moved his variety store to the Pioneer Drug Store block.
In 1932, the Uptown Barber Shop took over the space that had been used by Tomlin.
In November 1933, Gillies rented the store to William Bliven, an experienced grocery man. Bliven had worked
for Matt Ellis' grocery for 11 years and the Universal-Kroger store for six more years. He was ready to venture
out on his own.
Gillies remodeled the store for Bliven's Royal Blue Food store. Bliven purchased new show cases, display
shelves and electric refrigeration. He also offered free delivery service to his customers.
The Bliven store was a success and he operated the store until March 1944, when he became too ill to work.
The stock and business was sold to Jens Norum, Jr.
Norum was also an experience grocery man. He had worked for the Grange Store, Miller's grocery, and for
Bliven in the Royal Blue store. He hired Alice Peace and his wife to assist him in operating the store.
Four years later, Edwin Teubert had taken over the Royal Blue Store. Campbell's tomato soup was selling at 3
cans for 28 cents. A large package of Dreft, laundry soap, sold for 30 cents. A 25 lb. bag of Robin Hood flower
sold for $1.89 according to the ads for Teubert's store.
Parking on Main Street in Evansville was becoming a problem in the late 1940s. The businessmen up and
down East and West Main Street placed an ad in the Evansville Review.
"The undersigned Businessmen do agree in the past that lack of parking has been much their own fault by
parking their own vehicles in front of their own places of business. So therefore, the following businessmen
pledge to their customers that after the first of July, 1948, we will not occupy the precious parking space on
Main Street during store hours." Teubert's Royal Blue Store was one of the businesses listed.
Having a business district filled with shops and shoppers created a lack of space for vehicles. The
businessmen also asked the city for additional parking space and police protection for that parking.
In August 1948, a new business located at 15 West Main Street in the former Royal Blue Store. Mr. and Mrs.
Edwin Teubert placed an advertisement in the Review thanking their customers for their support during the time
they operated the store
The business had been rented by Jim Davis for an I.G.A. store. Davis held a close-out sale to get rid of the
merchandise he had purchased from the Teuberts.
The interior was also remodeled with two check-out counters, instead of one. Davis held a grand re-opening in
April 1950 to celebrate the improvements made to the store.
Burton Janes had an insurance agency office in the building in 1961, according to the Evansville Telephone
The building was sold to Albert H. Gill in August 1963 and since that time has served as offices for attorneys.
Gill had been in Evansville since 1950 and had carried on a law practice at 16 1/2 East Main Street before
purchasing the Gillies building at 15 West Main. He also had a law office in Footville.
Albert Gill was a well respected member of the lawyer profession. He was president of the Rock County Bar
Association in 1953 and 1957. He was also elected to the Rock County Board of Supervisors. When the
country one-room schools were being consolidated into the larger municipal districts, Gill served on the Rock
County School committee to ease the transition.
Six years after he purchased the new offices, Gill died unexpectedly of a cerebral hemorrhage. His widow,
Rene continued to own the building and she rented it to other attorneys.
In the 1970s, Richard Werner and Richard Hemming had law offices in the building. Wayne Wilson, of
McBurney, Wyngaard & Wilson, shared the office with Robert Raymond in the early 1980s.
Wilson & Wyngaard continue to maintain an office in the building, as well as an office in Madison. The rear
portion of the building is used for office space by the Magee Construction Firm.
The building is still owned by Kim Gill and his sister Kay Gill Magnus, the children of Albert and Rene Gill. The
building has had relatively few owners through the years, but has served a great variety of businesses.
A picture taken by Don Every, shows the Davis store. Jim Davis is surrounded by his co-workers and a small
boy. Mr. and Mrs. Grover Holmes, who had been in the grocery business in Evansville since 1927, are pictured
in the photo. Jim is the man in the striped shirt and tie standing directly behind the meat counter. The others
are unidentified. Any information about the identities of the people in the photo would be appreciated.
Hoxie, the editor of the Evansville
Review opened up his printing office in
the building. Hoxie had started the
Evansville Citizen in 1866 and
operated for two years, when he sold
the newspaper and moved to Cresco,
Iowa. He returned to Evansville in
1870 and started publishing the
newspaper once again, this time under
the name the Evansville Review.
The two-story wood building that Hoxie
constructed for the Review office
housed the newspaper printing
business in the second story and he
rented the first story to various
merchants. Rev. Elijah Robinson
operated a clothing store with Hoxie
from 1872 and 1874 under the Review
office, then they rented another store
front for the clothing store.
In 1876, Hoxie painted his building a
dark color and he received quite a few
critical comments. He felt compelled to
put his explanation in the Review.
"Quite a good many have said to us,
'Why did you have your office painted
that dark color when every other
building in the row was white? That
was just the reason." He did
acknowledge that he might lighten the
color just a little, based on the criticism.
In 1950, the Gillies estate,
managed by Laverna Gillies
Houghton, daughter of James
Gillies, remodeled the store
for Davis' I.G.A. The front
was replaced by a new brick
and glass front. The Trunkhill
brothers were in charge of the