In 1852, John C. Hereth, a German immigrant who came to Indianapolis via Jefferson County, Indiana, opened a shop in downtown Indianapolis which sold anything needed to maintain a horse – at that time the main form of transportation. John’s younger brother, Adam, joined him a short time later, and in the early 1860’s the name of the harness and saddle store was changed to Hereth and Bro. Adam served in the Civil War in the Seventy-Ninth Regiment of the Indiana Volunteer Infantry.
The location of the brothers’ business was quite convenient – it was located across the street from the Indianapolis Court House. In 1866, John and Adam constructed a larger building in the same location for their business. The three story Italianate building, located at the corner of Delaware and Court Streets, was called the Hereth Block. The Hereth harness and saddle business was on the main floor, and there were mostly law offices on the upper floors. Today, the Hereth Block building holds a bail bondsman and Paddy’s Legal Beagle Pub.
John went on to other business opportunities in the 1870’s, and Adam retained the harness and saddle business in Hereth Block. The 1879 Polk’s Indianapolis Directory indicates Adam also went into business with his brother-in-law George Hitz, who was a grocer.
This advertisement, from 1881, features what was one of the most popular and well-established manufacturer of equine accessories in Indianapolis. Unfortunately, it seems this ad ran near the end of the Hereth reign. John died in 1900, and Adam died in 1908. Both were buried in Crown Hill Cemetery, and it’s unclear what happened to the business after their death, though it is likely it was phased out when automobiles became the preferred means of transportation.