Business: National Furniture Company
Date of Ad: August 6, 1916
Location: 335-343 West Washington Street, downtown Indianapolis
Years of Operation: 1899-1958
Notable: The dog days of summer have everyone looking for a way to cool down. A hundred years ago, you’d be hard-pressed to keep the butter from melting and the milk from spoiling. The technology of the day consisted of the icebox: wooden cabinets featuring a zinc lining where food could be stored with a large block of ice. Ice was delivered by “icemen,” who would haul chunks harvested from the arctic regions and kept in large warehouses known as icehouses. Mechanical refrigeration made its way into the home in the late 1920s, though, iceboxes remained common into the 1950s.
Additionally: The National Furniture Company was a downtown fixture for over five decades. Started by the Kahn brothers, Edward, Harry and Nathan, they took over the existing Parker Stand store in 1899. By 1941 the store had remodeled and expanded to encompass three floors. According to city directories, the business ceased existence between 1957 and 1958. In 1960 the Imperial House Motel took over the site, catering to the Indiana State offices across the street. That venture lasted until 1985, when the lot was cleared to accommodate parking for the Indiana Convention Center. In 2001, the new Indianapolis Marriott Downtown opened on the site and was the city’s largest hotel until the J.W. Marriott opened two blocks away.