This week’s column takes a departure from the norm.  The Mailbag has received a few questions that I am not able to answer satisfactorily.  I’ve kept these queries on a back burner for a while, hoping to receive some inspirations of other resources that could hold their answers.  It then occurred to me that the readers of this site are history lovers who could have knowledge of these subjects.  I am hoping that there are folks out there who can help with these questions whose answers have eluded me.

Reader’s Question: 

I wonder whether you could help with an ongoing family “mystery.”  My great-grandmother was a Conn, and family lore has it that there was (is?) a Conn Building somewhere in downtown Indianapolis, probably built in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. Would you have any knowledge of this building and its whereabouts, or any ideas on where I might research this question?  ~  J. Lunsford 

HI’s Answer:

I looked at every Indianapolis City Directory from 1880 to 1920, as well as the 1880, 1900, 1910, and 1920 Census enumerations.  I did find individuals named Conn throughout the time period you’ve indicated, but they were residential listings.  I could find no mention of a Conn Building in either of the above types of records.

1910 Indianapolis City Directory shows Conn households (photo courtesty of IUPUI Digital Library)

This page from the 1910 Indianapolis City Directory is an example of Conn listings found from 1880 to 1920   (image courtesy of IUPUI Digital Library)

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Reader’s Question: 

My great-grandfather, Frank Funk, worked at the C. F. Schmidt Brewery from about 1872 to 1890. Around 1890, he operated a tavern on the corner of Wyoming and High Streets, where the Lilly Corporate Headquarters is now located. My great-grandfather operated the tavern until his death in 1903. Do you have any pictures of the brewery or the tavern? ~ Ronald E. Buckley, P.E., Indianapolis

HI’s Answer: 

Your great-grandfather’s tavern was on the southwest corner of E. Wyoming and S. High Streets.  His place was literally across the street from his former employer.  I can find no photo of either the C. F. Schmidt Brewing Co. or your great-grandfather’s tavern.  There are photos of the Indianapolis Brewing Company, of which the C. F. Schmidt Brewing Company eventually became a part, but none of it before the merger.

1898 Sanborn map shows the location of High and Wyoming is across the street from C. F. Schmidt (map courtesy of IUPUI Digital Library)

1898 Sanborn map illustrates that the corner of S. High and E. Wyoming Streets is across from the C. F. Schmidt Brewing Co.(map courtesy of IUPUI Digital Library)

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Reader’s Question:

I recently acquired the attached photograph, which reads “North Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis IND.” and “Copyright 1904.”  I am a lover of history and your website (which I find myself checking several times a day!). I also live on North Pennsylvania St. in the Fall Creek Place neighborhood. I have studied this photo and can’t seem to figure out where it might be taken from. My gut tells me that it’s between 16th and 22nd looking south, and that all those beautiful houses on the right are now parking lots for the backs of Meridian Street businesses.  Any thoughts? Thanks!  ~ Aaron Rambo, Indianapolis 

HI’s Answer:  

The styles of the homes in this image that I can make out suggest to me that this photo was taken south of 16th Street.  They are of an earlier vintage than the homes north of 16th Street.   There appears to be a narrow street or an alley on the right side of the photo that ends at Pennsylvania Street.  There are only a few thoroughfares between 10th and 16th Streets that do not continue straight through to make an intersection.  They include 13th Street, 14th Street, and an alley between 10th and 11th Streets.   There may have originally been other streets that ended or that jogged at Pennsylvania, before the construction of the Interstate resulted in their being rerouted.               

1904 Street View of N. Pennsylvania Street does not indicate what block it is (photo courtesy of Aaron Rambo )

1904 street view of N. Pennsylvania Street does not indicate what hundred block it is in  (photo courtesy of Aaron Rambo )

If you have any suggestions for answering these questions, feel free to post your comments below.  Thank you in advance for your ideas.