The Wilking Music Company looks to drum up sales in October of 1940. (Courtesy Indiana State Library)

The Wilking Music Company looks to drum up sales in October of 1940. (Courtesy Indiana State Library)

 

15 years after its founding, Wilking expanded and remodeled. This is a newspaper view of the new lobby at 120 E. Ohio Street in December 1937.

The Cathedral Room was another feature in the remodeled Wilking space at 120 E. Ohio in December 1937.

Business:  Wilking Music Company

Location:  120 East Ohio Street, near Massachusetts Avenue

Years of Operation: 1922-1995

Notable: For over 70 years, Wilking Music Company was the place to go if you wanted that glamorous Steinway and Son’s grand piano. Founded in 1922 by Frank Wilking in a small storefront in the 200 block of Massachusetts Avenue, the business grew to occupy the entire building. Many ads list the business at 120 East Ohio Street.

Anticipating a big boom after World War II, the company moved to the Vajen Building at 114 North Pennsylvania in 1946.

The company was heavily involved in cultivating music within the Indianapolis community. One related distinction was that the Blind School’s Steinway piano was purchased from The Wilking Music Company in 1953.

Additionally:        Wilking Music Company became part of the Steinway Company in 1960, who in turn sold it to local distributor Richard Gigax. During this time, the company expanded to locations at the various shopping malls throughout the city and a warehouse store in Park 100 on the northwest side. Gigax sold the company in 1981 to Jasper, Indiana based Kimball Piano Company who consolidated the operation to a massive showroom at 86th Street and Allisonville Road. That venture closed in 1995. Richard Gigax went on to found Meridian Music, which continues to do business in Carmel.

sanborn

This Sanborn image highlights the 200 block of Massachusetts Avenue and the 100 East Ohio block where Wilking Music was located. (Image: IUPUI Digital Library and Archives)

The above Sanborn image and historic photo highlight the block of Massachusetts Avenue where Wilking Music was founded. The storefront would have been in the Bradford building just to the right of the familiar Leon Tailoring although later ads indicated the address at the Ohio Street frontage. (Courtesy Bass Photo Company Collection, Indiana Historical Society and Indiana University)

The storefront was located in the Bradford building at 120 East Ohio, just to the right of the familiar Leon Tailoring (seen above). (Photo: Bass Photo Company Collection, Indiana Historical Society and Indiana University)

The Wilking Music Company moved to new digs along Pennsylvania Street in 1946. The facade from the long-demolished Vajen Block was saved and incorporated into Circle Centre Mall along south Meridian. (Courtesy Library of Congress)

The Wilking Music Company moved to new digs along Pennsylvania Street in 1946. The facade from the demolished Vajen Block was saved and partially incorporated into Circle Centre Mall along south Meridian. (Image: Library of Congress)