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Henry Kahn, the founder of Kahn’s Tailoring, was born in Bloomington, Indiana in 1860.  His father, Isaac, was one of the first Jewish settlers in Monroe County, immigrating from France in 1844.  The Kahn family moved to Indianapolis when Henry was six years old.  Twenty years after moving to Indianapolis, Kahn opened a small tailoring shop near the corner of Washington and Meridian Streets.  The business grew to become one of the most important retail establishments in Indianapolis, with multiple locations within the the city.  In addition, the Kahn Tailoring Company traveled all over the United States offering its tailoring services.  The company was also a main producer of military uniforms for World Wars I and II.

At one time, Kahn’s Tailoring employed almost half of the Sephardic Jews in Indianapolis.  Kahn, though not active in the Jewish community, employed thousands of Jewish immigrants through his cooperation with the New York City Jewish community.  Overwhelmed by the number of immigrants, the New York Jewish Community created the Industrial Removal Office to relocate immigrants from New York City, and Kahn was an active participant in the effort. In addition to a job, Kahn’s Tailoring would assist its employees with social services, such as housing and medical care.

Henry Kahn died in 1934, and his son-in-law took over the reins of the business.  In 1954, Kahn Tailoring merged with Globe Tailoring Company of Cincinnati.  By 1970, all Kahn’s Tailoring Stores had disappeared from Indianapolis.

2 responses to “Sunday Adverts: Kahn Tailoring”

  1. Sharon Butsch Freeland says:

    I have always been struck by the many overlapping relationships between the people, places, and events that have helped to shape Indianapolis’ history. I realize your post was simply meant to display a vintage ad, but I thought it might be interesting to note a few additional details about the Kahn family. There are numerous “small world” connections to other subjects that have previously been mentioned in Historic Indianapolis posts and comments.
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    My mother, who passed away three weeks ago, was friends with Henry Kahn’s granddaughter, Mary Lang Furscott. They were classmates during their school years and continued a friendship throughout adulthood. Mary Furscott’s mother, Claribel Virginia (Kahn) Furscott, was Henry and Sara (Lang) Kahn’s only child. In 1914, Claribel married Mortimer Cuthbert Furscott. Furscott was the son-in-law who became president of Kahn Tailoring Co. after Henry Kahn died in 1934. I grew up hearing about the Kahns and the Furscotts from my mother.
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    At least three properties built by Henry Kahn are of note. One is the building that housed the Kahn Tailoring Co.’s main retail store at 7 N. Meridian Street. It was built by Henry Kahn in 1915 and 1916. It was designed by Vonnegut, Bohn & Mueller. Today, the 10-story structure is generally referred to as the King Cole Building, even though the restaurant of that name occupied only a small portion of the building, and even though the restaurant has now been closed for two decades. In my humble opinion, the building should be called the Kahn Building.
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    A second property of note is the manufacturing facility of the Kahn Tailoring Co., which was located at 802 N. Capitol Avenue. Henry Kahn built that facility about a year prior to his construction of the better-known downtown office building at Washington and Meridian Streets. Kahn built 802 N. Capitol Avenue in 1913 and 1914, so that it could become the production site for the Kahn Tailoring Co. The building served that function for four decades, until Kahn Tailoring Co. merged with Globe Tailoring in 1954. The building on the northwest corner of W. St. Clair Street and N. Capitol Avenue then became the home of Litho Press Inc. for nearly half-a-century.
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    Both of the above-mentioned commercial buildings that Henry Kahn built have recently been redeveloped by The Whitsett Group. TWG Development LLC has been mentioned in several Historic Indianapolis posts in the past. In addition, the 800 block of North Capitol Avenue was for many years the site of Indianapolis Mayor Thomas Taggart’s home, which was discussed in an HI post by Tiffany in 2011 here: http://historicindianapolis.com/thomas-taggart-tennessee-home/ . Prior to Tom Taggart’s residence, the 800 block of North Capitol Avenue was the site of one of Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne Stevenson’s homes, whch was discussed in an HI post by me in 2013 here: http://historicindianapolis.com/hi-mailbag-fanny-van-de-grift-osbourne-stevenson-part-i/.
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    The third Kahn property of note was the personal residence of Henry Kahn, which was located at 101 E. 27th Street. Designed by architect Herbert Foltz, the Kahns built the home in 1908. The house sat on a triangular block of land immediately east of what later became the Marott Hotel (now the Marott Apartments). The Kahns’ lot had frontage not only on E. 27th Street but also on N. Pennsylvania Street and on Fall Creek Boulevard (now E. Fall Creek Parkway N. Dr.). Henry and Sara Kahn sold the property to the State of Indiana for $65,000, and the former Kahn home was the Governor’s Mansion from 1919 to 1945. When the Governor’s Mansion relocated to 4343 N. Meridian Street in 1945, the 101 E. 27th Street residence was purchased from the State of Indiana by the Marott Hotel. The hotel owners claimed they planned to keep it as an events center or clubhouse, but they eventually demolished it for parking. It remains a parking lot today.

  2. Kristan says:

    As I was doing research on my 1927 home, I came across residents from at least 1939 through the 1960s. Leonard A. Strauss and Louise E. Strauss. Leonard is listed as secretary of the Kahn Tailoring Company in a 1941 Polk’s Indianapolis City Directory. He was also the first president of the Jewish Community Center Association board. Not only that, he founded the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

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