Local History Photos 2


Albert R. and Elizabeth Baldwin Beardsley had the Beaux Arts styled mansion known as Ruthmere built in 1908. Various members of the Beardsley family resided there until it was sold in 1945. In 1969, the Beardsley Foundation, which is overseen by Robert B. Beardsley, Albert R.’s great-great nephew, bought and began restoring the building. It opened in 1973 as a house museum and continues in that capacity.

Historic buildings; Dwellings; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Foster Mansion

From its construction in 1917, the Foster mansion, second from the left in Photo 1, was the focal point of the St. Joseph Manor neighborhood. Elkhart architect E. Hill Turnock designed all the buildings in the picture. The Foster Mansion garage opened onto the St. Joseph River in back and doubled as the boathouse. The mansion, its boathouse, and the house on the right were razed in 2002 by their new owners, Rex and Alice Martin of NIBCO Inc., to provide space for a new home. Due to zoning complications, no progress has been seen at the site since then.

Historic buildings; Dwellings; Boathouses; Houses; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Main and High Streets, southwest corner

The Kavanaugh and Pollard grocery store occupied this corner site on South main Street from 1877-1916. First National Bank bought the building in 1917 and replaced it with the bank building seen in Photo 2. That building was expanded in 1954 as seen in Photo 3. The current look of the building is the result of major renovations in 1977 and 1988. Behind the glass skin on the High Street side of the building, the facade of the original bank building can still be seen.

Historic buildings; Grocery stores; Banks; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Conn Mansion

The home seen in Photo 1 was built by Samuel Strong in 1884. Later the house was expanded by brass instrument magnate C. G. Conn to the mansion seen in Photo 2. Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana board member Tim Shelly and his family now reside in the home.

Historic buildings; Dwellings; Houses; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Dr. Crow’s house

This house served as both home and office for Dr. Edward Crow and his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Crow. The building, minus its lovely porches, still stands today and hosts a family counseling business.

Historic buildings; Houses; Dwellings; Medical offices; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Beardsley Avenue, 116 East

In 1850, Benjamin and Sarah Davenport built the house in Photo 1 at the northeast corner of Main Street and Beardsley Avenue. It was razed in 1941 to make way for the mansion that now occupies the site.

Historic buildings; Dwellings; Elkhart County (Ind.)

South Main Street, east side of the 100 block

In the first photo, the east side of South Main Street is seen as it appeared in the 1920’s. The Hotel Bucklen can be seen at the north end of the block, while the Elkhart Water Company, built in 1910, is seen at the south end. The current state of the 100 block is seen in Photo 2.

Historic buildings; Hotels; Cityscape photographs; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Elkhart Armory

The Elkhart Armory was built by Herbert Bucklen in 1906, initially functioning as a garage for auto mechanic John Landon, as seen in Photo 1. In 1911, Bucklen had the building expanded to serve as the Armory. A liquor store currently occupies the building.

Historic buildings; Automobile service stations; Armories; Elkhart County (Ind.)

First Congregational Church

1906 saw the opening of the new First Congregational Church, seen in the first photo, on the northwest corner of Third and Marion streets. At some point prior to the second photo, the steeple and other embellishments were removed. The education wing, seen in the far right of Photo 2, was added in 1960 and retained when the original building was torn down in 1967. The new sanctuary building, seen in Photo 3, opened the following year.

Historic buildings; Churches; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Christian Science Church

Another Elkhart-area building designed by architect E. Hill Turnock, the Christian Science Church was built in 1916 and served its congregation until 1981. In 1984, the building was demolished and replaced with a parking lot.

Historic buildings; Churches; Parking lots; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Oddfellows Building

The Odd Fellows Temple was built around 1898 in the 500 block of South Main Street and for many years housed the Helfrich Furniture Store on its first floor. Later it served the Elkhart Institute of Technology. The building was renovated by its current owners, the Elkhart Housing Partnership, in 2002/2003. In comparing the two photos, one will notice that most of the fourth floor was removed at some point in its history.

Historic buildings; Fraternal lodges; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Orpheum Theatre

The Orpheum Theatre has been host to both vaudeville acts and motion pictures since opening in 1913. The building was remodeled to the condition seen in photo 2 in 1970 and served as Cinema 1 for the next two decades, when it was purchased by a church group. New Life Community Church currently occupies the building.

Historic buildings; Theaters; Churches; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Hotel Elkhart

Hotel Elkhart opened to much fanfare in 1923 and was for many years the most prestigious hotel in town. 1960 saw a massive expansion to the back of the hotel. The Cornerstone Building, as it is now known, is currently owned by the Elkhart Housing Partnership and serves primarily as senior citizen apartment space.

Historic buildings; Hotels; Residential facilities; Elkhart County (Ind.)

West Jackson Blvd, 100 block

Only one of the buildings visible in the first photo of this set is still standing today. It was built in 1868 to serve as the post office and did so until 1886. Today it houses a garden supplies store. The buildings in the right of the picture contained a bicycle shop, a fish market, and a shooting gallery. They were torn down to make way for a new post office, which opened in 1905. The 1905 post office serves as a bank today.

Post offices; Banks; Historic buildings; Elkhart County (Ind.)

NE corner Main Street and Lexington Avenue

The building seen in the first photo was built prior to 1853. It served as post office from roughly 1853-1861. The building was housing the Hamilton and Heaton tinner/awning shop when the taken around 1900. 1910 saw the building razed and replaced by the E. Hill Turnock designed Elkhart Water Company building, seen in the second and third photos. The building is currently being renovated for an as yet undetermined use.

Historic buildings; Stores and shops; Public utility companies; Elkhart County (Ind.)

400 block of South Second St.

The large office building at the center of the first photo was known as the Monger Block. It was built in 1904 and the top level added three years later. It came down in 1971 and was replaced by what is now the Chase Bank building. Only the building in the left of the first picture survives today.

Historic buildings; Office buildings; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Lexington Avenue, 100 block west

Once known as the Cornish Building, the building on the left has been host to St. Joseph Valley Bank and Jenner Drug Store. The building was recently restored by Andy Wesdorp to the magnificent condition seen in photo 2.

Historic buildings; Banks; Drugstores; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Elkhart Public Library Bookmobile

Starting in 1921, Elkhart Public Library has had five chapters in its bookmobile history, as seen is this sequence of photos.

Bookmobiles; Libraries; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Lexington Avenue, 111 West

At the time of the first photo in this set, the building at 109-115 West Lexington Ave was primarily used as real estate office space. John Fieldhouse had an office at 111, the office pictured. Renowned photographer John Inbody, who took many of the photos in this exhibit, rented space at the back of 115 for use as his studio. Today the building includes a law office and a bagel shop.

Historic buildings; Photographic studios; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Truex Hotel building

Maurice Truex opened the Hotel Truex in the Short Building at 116-120 West Marion Street in 1917. He continued at that location until his death in 1944, while the hotel business continued until 1965. The building served as office space for owner St. Joseph Valley Bank through Feb. 1974, when it was demolished for parking space for the bank’s new building at the corner of 2nd and Franklin.

Historic buildings; Hotels; Parking lots; Elkhart County (Ind.)

German Lutheran Church

In 1912, Elkhart’s German Lutheran congregation built their new home on the northeast corner of Second and Harrison streets. It was later known as the Evangelical Lutheran Church. In the second photo, one can see that some of the building’s embellishments have been removed. A small park replaced the church when it was razed in January 1973 and still occupies the lot.

Historic buildings; Lutheran churches; Churches; Parks; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Elkhart Carnegie Library

Andrew Carnegie provided $35,000 towards the construction of Elkhart’s first public library, which opened in 1903. It served the city until 1963, when a new library was built across the street. In 1969, the Elkhart City Council approved the sale of the Carnegie to First National Bank, which promptly demolished it in favor of parking.

Historic buildings; Libraries; Parking lots; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Main Street, east side the 300 block south

An entire city block, including the former Elks’ Temple and the east side of the 300 block of South Main Street, pictured in Photo 1, was demolished in 1978 to allow construction of a new hotel, the Midway Motor Lodge. Sadly, by 1990 the hotel was bankrupt, and by 1999, it had been razed as well. Currently, the block is known as Civic Plaza and hosts outdoor events on a regular basis. Plans to redevelop the Plaza block were recently approved.

Historic buildings; Cityscapes; Fraternal lodges; Plazas; Elkhart County (Ind.)

920 Willard St.

The house at 920 Willard Street was built by Elmore Hart, coal dock foreman for the LS and MS Railroad, sometime between 1896 and 1904. Prior to a change in address numbering in 1909, it was 102 Willard. Today it serves as rental housing.

Houses; Historic buildings; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Hotel Bucklen

The southeast corner of Main and Jackson is best known as the site of Hotel Bucklen, although several hotels preceded it. Clifton House, seen in the first photo, was built in 1863 and later purchased by Herbert Bucklen, who oversaw major expansion and reopened it as Hotel Bucklen in 1889. The building was renovated in 1958 and became Clifton House once again. A 1969 fire closed the hotel and by 1973 the building had been torn down. The Compass Wealth Advisors building now occupies the site.

Historic buildings; Hotels; Financial facilities; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Central Block

The Central Block, built in 1888 at 600-604 South Main, housed the Hotel Golden. Later, Hotel Osborne and then Hotel Indiana occupied the space. The Elkhart Institute of Technology used the upper floors as a dormitory from 1961-1970. The space at 600 South Main has featured many restaurants over the years and currently houses Harrison Landing. While the Central Block building has been well preserved, the neighboring building has been chopped down to two stories and houses an auto body shop.

Historic buildings; Hotels; Restaurants; Dormitories; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Bucklen Livery

Located at 117 East Lexington Av., the Bucklen Livery Stable could house up to 100 horses. The building ceased to function as a stable between 1917 and 1920 and housed a number of businesses before becoming a bowling alley by 1938. It continued as a bowling alley until a 1963 fire seriously damaged the building. It was demolished in 1979 by First National Bank to make way for a parking area.

Stables; Historic buildings; Bowling alleys; Parking lots; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Four Arts Club

The building now known as the Four Arts Club was initially the residence of Albert R. and Elizabeth (Baldwin) Beardsley before they moved to their Ruthmere home. Located at 311 West High St., the building later served Elkhart’s League of Women Voters and then the Four Arts Club. Purchased by Elkhart Community Bank in 2006 for eventual use as parking space, the building’s future is uncertain at best.

Historic buildings; Dwellings; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Marion Street, 100 block west

Photo 1 in this series was taken between 1922 and 1930. Hotel Elkhart, Hotel Truex and Hotel Read can be seen. Also visible is the new St. Joseph Valley Bank building, last building on the left side of Marion Ave. Since 1974, the bank building has housed the Midwest Museum of Art. Hotel Elkhart is now senior citizen apartment space, while the other two hotels are now parking lots.

Historic buildings; Hotels; Galleries and museums; Cityscapes; Elkhart County (Ind.)


Built in 1918 at 120 West Lexington, the YWCA is another design of architect E. Hill Turnock. The building served the YWCA until 1973 when it moved into the new joint YM/YWCA building. Oaklawn Psychiatric Center took over the building until about 1990, when current owner and historic advocate Craig Fulmer purchased and beautifully restored it. Mr Fulmer resides on the top floor.

Historic buildings; Young Women’s Christian associations; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Bucklen Opera House

Herbert Bucklen built the Bucklen Opera House in 1884. Houdini and John Philip Sousa were among the acts that appeared there in its glory days. Later known simply as Bucklen Theater, it screened movies from 1896 until 1956. A ballet school and Elkhart Symphony Orchestra also used the building before it was demolished in 1986 and replaced by a parking lot.

Historic buildings; Opera houses; Motion picture theaters; Parking lots; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Southeast corner of Second and High Streets

Elkhart’s First Presbyterian Church congregation completed their third building (Photo 2) in 1910 on the location of their previous home, seen in Photo 1. The Carnegie Library building can be seen to the left of the church in both photographs. The 1910 building was designed by architect E. Hill Turnock and graced the corner for over 50 years. It was razed and replaced by the new Elkhart Public Library, which opened in 1963.

Historic buildings; Churches; Public libraries; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Southeast corner Second and High, pt. 2

The second (1872)and third (1910) church buildings of the First Presbyterian Church are seen in the first two photos of this set. A new building for Elkhart Public Library replaced the 1910 church building in 1963. A recent photograph of the library is seen in Photo 4. Second story windows were added in the west side of the library.

Historic buildings; Churches; Public libraries; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Northwest corner of Main and High Streets

Sykes Dry Goods occupied 227-231 South Main from approximately 1885-1923. It then became Drakes Department Store until it was destroyed by fire in 1955. The lot was empty for a few years before the building that currently occupies the space was built.

Historic buildings; Stores and shops; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Main Street, 100 block north

The first photo of this pair was taken between 1915 and 1921, as determined by the presence of the C. L. George dental office on the second floor of the building on the far right. The St. Joseph Valley Railway, an interurban, had a depot in the same building directly beneath the George dental office. The new post office, finished in 1905, is seen at the left with the Century Club building next to it. As seen in the second photo, only two of the earlier buildings still stand today – the post office, now a bank, and one of the smaller buildings, which hosts the Time Was museum of Elkhart history on its second floor.

Historic buildings; Cityscapes; Post offices; Railroad stations; Banks; Elkhart County (Ind.)

South Main Street, west side of the 200 block

Photo 1 of this pair was taken between 1910 and 1917. Businesses that can be seen along this stretch of South Main, starting at the corner, include Jenner Drugstore, Chicago Candy Kitchen, a grocery store, Bonfiglio fruits, a shoe store, and Shafer and Schult menswear. With the exception of the large building at the far corner, all of the buildings in Photo 1 are still standing today, although several have been drastically altered.

Historic buildings; Stores and shops; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Tyler Street looking west

Elkhart’s Tyler Street once featured several impressive buildings in the vicinity of the NYC depot, most notably the New Kaiserhof Hotel, distinct in Photo 1 because of its tower. Also visible are the Depot Hotel, just beyond the Kaiserhof, and the second Railroad YMCA, which is the large building in the distance. Of all the buildings seen in Photo 1, only the depot survives today. The entire block in the right foreground was razed to provide space for the new post office complex in 1965, including the parking lot, seen in the second photo.

Historic buildings; Railroad stations; Hotels; Parking lots; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Northwest corner of Main and; Franklin Streets

Silas and Jane Baldwin lived at 325 South Main until 1901 when the house in Photo 1 was demolished and replaced with the Baldwin Block building, seen in Photo 2. Over the years the building served several merchants, most notably the Ziesel Brothers dry goods store, which opened in 1904. The Ziesel Brothers store moved to Pierre Moran Mall in 1985 and the Baldwin Block was razed the next year. The parking area seen in Photo 3 now occupies the lot.

Historic buildings; Dwellings; Stores and shops; Parking lots; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Northwest corner of Second and Franklin Streets

Trinity Methodist Church built their first church building starting in 1855. The church, seen in Photo 1, served the congregational until 1889 when it was razed to make way for a new building, seen in Photo 2. The second church was used by the congregation until 1961 and then by Elkhart Community Schools until it was demolished in 1972 and replaced by the Elkhart County Courts Building, seen in the third photograph.

Historic buildings; Churches; Courthouses; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Second and High, southwest corner

Elkhart’s Central School opened in 1868 following the destruction by fire of the prior building. An annex was added in 1884, as seen in Photo 2. The building seen in Photo 3 replaced the original Central School and was actually two buildings, built in 1908 and 1910. The entire complex was torn down to provide parking for the new Elkhart County Courts building, seen in the background left in Photo 4.

Historic buildings; Schools; Parking lots; Elkhart County (Ind.)

NYC Depot

Photo 1 is an 1893 view of the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern depot at Elkhart. The building was demolished and replaced by the depot building in the next two photographs in 1900. The LS and MS joined with the New York Central RR in 1912. Aside from the removal of the smaller depot extension at the far end of the building, its exterior is largely unchanged. A $600,000+ restoration project for the depot is currently in the bidding stage.

Historic buildings; Railroad stations; Elkhart County (Ind.)

South Main, west side of the 400 block

Part of the west side of the 400 block of South Main Street is seen in the foreground of this set of photographs. In the earlier photo we see the ornate buildings that once graced that block; in the second, we see that all but one of those buildings have been replaced by either new construction or parking space. Even the sole survivor has been stripped of it triangular facade ornamentation.

Historic buildings; Stores and shops; Cityscapes; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Public restrooms

One of E. Hill Turnock’s more unusual designs was this building housing Elkhart’s public restrooms. Built in roughly 1923, the building served Elkhart until 1965. It was torn down in 1967 to provide parking space for Ziesel’s Department Store.

Historic buildings; Public comfort stations; Elkhart County (Ind.)

Northwest corner of Second and Harrison Streets

W. B. Vanderlip, a piano dealer, built the house shown in Photo 1 in 1866 at 517 South Second Street. In 1904, the house was moved onto a new foundation in what had been its own backyard to allow construction of the Winchester Mansion, home of Charles Winchester, president of First National Bank. The old Vanderlip home was torn down in 1957, while the Winchester still stands on the NW corner of Harrison and Second.

Historic buildings; Dwellings; Elkhart County (Ind.)

YMCA Building

Elkhart’s third YMCA building was built in 1927 on the southeast corner of Third and Franklin streets. Sadly, the building only survived for 47 years. It was torn down in 1974 in favor of – you guessed it – parking spaces.

Historic buildings; Young Men’s Christian associations; Parking lots; Elkhart County (Ind.)

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