The columns at the City Market have the name “Hetherington & Berner” imprinted on them. Did that company help build the facility? What is their story? ~ John R., Indianapolis
In the early years of its operation, the Indianapolis City Market provided only simple market stalls for its vendors. In 1886, the architectural firm of D. A. Bohlen & Son designed a larger, sturdier, much more impressive brick building with stone trim for the city’s main public market. Among the companies that collaborated on the construction of the new facility was the iron foundry of Hetherington & Berner.
The interior of the Indianapolis City Market was supported by a system of both cast iron and wrought iron columns and trusses, which were fabricated by Hetherington & Berner. At least two dozen of the cast iron poles that support the structure’s framework are embossed with the name of the manufacturer.
Benjamin Franklin Hetherington (1828-1906) was born in Carlisle, Cumberland County, England. His grandfather was a member of the British parliament. His father died when Benjamin was twelve years old. A year later, his mother moved the family to the United States and settled in Massachusetts. When he was nineteen, Hetherington apprenticed himself to a machinist in Cincinnati. When his co-workers went on strike a couple of years later, he did not wish to participate, and Hetherington moved to Indianapolis. He was employed by several local foundries, as well as the Indianapolis, Cincinnati, & Louisville Railroad (IC&LRR), before finally opening his own shop in 1866. Hetherington was active in Republican politics, Knights of Honor, and the Indianapolis Board of Trade. At the time of his death, his residence was at 2032 North Alabama Street, in what is now the historic Herron-Morton Place neighborhood. In about 1912, the 2032 address was reunumbered to 2052 North Albama Street. The home still exists today.
In 1867, Hetherington formed a partnership with another machinist who had also worked in Cincinnati before moving north to Indianapolis. Frederick Berner (1832-1901) was born in Prussia and came to this country in 1854. Berner was active in the South Side Turnverein and German Pioneer Association. He was one of the founders of a school that eventually became Manual Training School and later still, Emmerich Manual High School. Berner’s home was at 624 Union Street, which was near McCarty Street and Madison Avenue. His home no longer exists, as that site is adjacent to the on ramp to Interstate-70 West.
Hetherington & Berner’s first plant was located on West South Street, between Meridian and Illinois Streets. It was across the street from a popular hotel originally called the Tremont House, which today is the city’s oldest continuously operating bar located in its original building, the Slippery Noodle Inn.
After the company’s founders passed away in 1901 and 1906, Benjamin Hetherington’s son Frederick Alexander Hetherington (1859-1931) became president of the company. Hetherington & Berner outgrew its space on West South Street and in 1909 built the first of what would eventually be several buildings at the intersection of Kentucky Avenue and West McCarty Street.
In addition to running the company, Frederick Hetherington was an inventor, photographer, and amateur artist. He was friends with T. C. Steele, which dated to their art school days together, and he spent a lot of time at his cabin in Brown County. In the 1920s, Hetherington relinquished his presidency of the company to Frederick Berner’s son, Robert Berner (1884-1973). Berner ran the company for the rest of its existence.
I have Hetherington’s 1932 carriage stone in my back yard. I always assumed it belonged to this house because at some point weren’t the street numbers changed?
Also, there is Hetherington steel in the columns supporting the exterior of the Hedback Theater.
Thank you for commenting. At the time Benjamin Hetherington lived there, the address of the home was 2032 North Alabama Street. Within a few years after his passing, though, the houses were renumbered. You didn’t say what your address was, but if it’s 2052 North Alabama Street, then yes, you live in Benjamin and Jenny Hetherington’s former home. I’m confused by your mention of 1932, though, as Benjamin’s home never had that address. Since the area served as Camp Morton and the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Morton Place wasn’t platted for homes until 1891. That means Hetherington’s house was built after 1891. All of the directories in which Benjamin Hetherington appeared in the 1890s listed his address as 2032. Benjamin’s son, Frederick Hetherington, lived at 1913 N. Alabama Street, which after renumbering, became 1925 N. Alabama Street, so the carriage stone was not from Frederick’s house either. BTW, the lot on which Frederick Hetherington’s home formerly stood is now part of the Herron-Morton Place Historic Park.
Great article, Sharon. Thanks.
Sharon I miss chatting with you—missed Kent’s call recently but planning to catch up–Kelly has been out of country and I minding the store—loved your article but as always, a question was sparked–as follows re your reference to Slippery(sic) Noodle–its current name. But not always. I am without timelines so let’s put it in 70’s-8o’s when a small group of us headed largely by wonderful,funny VIP Carl Dortch, then head of C of C but active in every top level of community, had a silly luncheon custom. For no reason I can remember, I used to cut thru downtown alleys to go from TIMES at 214 W. MARYLAND, to cover then Cop-Shop,Jail, facing each other on Alabama. One of my favorite alleys bisected back of rear entrance (revolving door, l-time package pickup complete with doorman) of LS Ayres. (may have been Pearl St?)
A lkoading dock on s.side of alley,facing Ayres main store had a big brass plaque proclaiming that Dr.John Bobbs had performed lst gall bladder surgery at nearby site over Kiefer something drug store (Sign now in wrong geographic spot on what used to be Ayres, now Circle City Mall. But anyway, Carl and I thought it was fun to invite people to lunch and walk them past that alley down to what was then, I swear it, the “Slippery Noodel Inn.” for lunch. Owner Hal Yeagy, blind, would have tables pre-set Braille style and he was so amazing that it took a while for the newcomer to realize he was blind. ( He could take charge originally-before diners handled silver–but someone at the bar would clear for him after everything was jumbled. I don’t know why we all thought the incorrect spelling so great–and neither do I know when some busy body got new signage spelling correctly–historically loved the old sign better. FYI
My Dad, Waymon Garner worked at Hetherington & Berner for 33 years as a Crane Operator until they closed in 1975/1976. They gave him a wonderful letter of recommendation and his pension. He then retired and received one SS check that we used for his funeral for he was shoveling snow in 1977 and had a massive heart attack and passed away on March 24, 1977.
Thank you for your article with all of the very interesting information.