Image: Indiana State Library
Name of Business: African Ostrich Feather Company
Date of this Advertisement: March 26, 1916
Location: State Life Building, 15-23 East Washington Street, Fourth Floor
Neighborhood: Downtown, Wholesale District
Service Provided: Millinery, Makers of custom women’s hats
Notable: Millinery: a description of the service/product provided. Today, it is tough to find anyone donning head wear without the logo of a local sports team on it, but unique custom hats were prized by many women up until the early 1960’s — thank you, Jackie Kennedy. Although a few independent milliners still exist, this trade has largely gone the way of the silversmith.
Additionally: This particular millinery shop was located in the State Life Building in downtown Indianapolis. Constructed in 1895, the building loomed 13 stories above East Washington Street. Aside from the namesake insurance company offices, the building also contained many retail outlets on the lower floors. The building, later known as the Thomas Building, was destroyed by fire in 1973. Sparked by a welder in the adjacent Grant Building, the fire became one of downtown’s greatest pyro-tragedies.
My father Blaine Strong fought this blaze and his friend Chief John Mitny was in a helicopter overseeing the fight of the blaze.