When thinking of Indy’s shopping legacy, many often think of longtime Indy institutions L. S. Ayres, William. H. Block, or Wasson’s. While those venerable names are still remembered fondly by many today, other retailers offered similar experiences and had a fine reputation not only in Indy, but across the country, even if no one living remembers them. Unfortunately many stores did not survive the Great Depression. One of those was the Selig Dry Good Company, which offered the fine women’s apparel and other items from 1890 until disbanding in 1932.
In 1908, the store moved into the high rent retail district along West Washington Street. After the move, the store stopped operating as a general dry-goods department store and began specializing in high-end women’s fashion. Business must have been good, as in 1914 the store bought out the Henry Huder drug store in the adjacent 22 West Washington to expand its offerings. Advertising during the time boasted the finest in women’s fashion, comparable offerings to the likes of what you’d find in New York City or Philadelphia.
Tragedy struck the Selig family over the next decade, with son, Sidney passing away in 1919, followed shortly thereafter by patriarch, Moses. Despite these setbacks, a grand remodeling was undertaken. The original structure was demolished, and a grand seven-story building sprang up on the same site. The store temporarily relocated to South Meridian Street. During that time, Herbert, the last remaining Selig son, passed away, leaving the store in the hands of the widow Mrs. Moses Selig and a Mr. Hahn. The store celebrated its 37th anniversary in grand fashion in 1927, with a large birthday cake that set Washington Street ablaze with light.
In 1930, Samuel Hahn retired amid an illness and turned the reigns over to Grover Millet; however, by this point, the Depression loomed large in the life of the typical Indianapolis consumer. The store went in to receivership and was gone for good by 1932. In 1933, the building became the longtime home of Morrison’s Women’s Apparel. By the 1970’s, the former store stood vacant. Things got livelier for the building again in the early 1980’s, as the city tried to acquire the entire block where Selig’s Building stood on from the Goodman family, owners of Goodman Jewelers. During this time, many art shows and performances were staged on the upper floors, while plans to build Circle Centre north of Washington were scrapped. The Selig’s Building interior was remodeled into office space. Today the ground floor serves as the longtime home of Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery.
Indianapolis Star, May 3, 1927
Indianapolis Star, March 30, 1930
Indianapolis News, June 21, 1933
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