This 1920 advertisement, showcases a product sold at Hibben, Hollweg, & Co., a dry goods store in Indianapolis, which was located in a prominent building that still stands near the corner of Georgia and Meridian Streets. By 1920, Hibben, Hollweg, & Co. had cycled through many different names, and the men attached to them sound like a “Who’s Who” of early Indianapolis.
In 1856, J. A. Crossland established J. A. Crossland & Co., which was at the time one of the only dry goods stores in Indianapolis. Crossland was one of the corporators of Crown Hill Cemetery, where most of the men in this company history would be buried. Crossland was a successful businessman before and after his time in the dry goods business. In 1862, Crossland was the owner of one of two businesses in Indianapolis which had enough employees to pay more than $10,000 in income taxes – the other was Calvin Fletcher.
In 1864, Crossland sold his business to Franklin Landers, Willis S. Webb, William Claiborne Tarkington, and Alexander Bainbridge Conduitt, who changed the name to Webb, Tarkington, & Co. Webb was already an established banker by that time, and left the organization within a year. The three remaining men had close ties to Indiana government. Conduitt, also well known in the grocery trade, was a member of the convention that adopted the 1851 Indiana Constitution. Landers served in the Indiana Senate in 1860, and as a U.S. Representative from Indiana from 1875- 1877. Landers also ran for governor of Indiana. Tarkington served in the Indiana Senate around the same time as Landers, and left politics to serve as a Captain with the Seventh Indiana Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War.
When Webb left the partnership in 1865, Coleman Bates Pattison joined the company, and the name changed to Landers, Tarkington, & Pattison. A few years later, in 1867, James Samuel Hibben joined with the other men, and the firm split into two factions – Landers, Conduitt & Co., and Hibben, Tarkington, & Co. It is unclear from the names which side Pattison ended up on, however, Pattison’s sister married Hibben, so it is likely Pattison either left the dry goods business, or worked with Hibben.
In 1871, the two firms reunited and added John W. Murphy and R. Frank Kennedy. It is unclear if the new Hibben, Kennedy, & Co. included Landers and Tarkington. In 1875, it again changed hands and was renamed Hibben, Pattison, & Co. James Samuel Hibben died in 1877, so when ownership again changed in 1880, it was James’ son, Harold Barcroft Hibben, at the helm with Murphy to form Murphy, Hibben, & Co. Murphy moved on to other endeavors, and in 1891, Hibben joined with Louis Hollweg, a German immigrant, to form the last iteration of the long-standing dry goods legacy – the Hibben, Hollweg, & Co. advertised here.
Hibben, Hollweg, & Co. remained in the building near Georgia and Meridian Streets until 1936. By that time, both Hibben and Hollweg had passed away. In 1949, Harold James Hibben, Harold Bancroft Hibben’s son, was listed as the owner of Hibben, Hollweg, & Co. The company name appears in the City Directory until the late 1950’s. The Harold James Hibben passed away in 1956, and it is likely the business closed shortly after his death.
We’ve also discussed Hibben, Hollweg, and Murphy in the HI Article, Then and Now: Harness Factory Lofts and the Georgia Street Improvement Project, 30 – 34 E. Georgia St.