East Main Street
of Evansville's first hardware stores was located at 6 East Main Street.
The business was owned by Aaron Baker, who had a small shop where he did
tin work and sheet metal work.
1864, the business was purchased by Caleb Snashall and Stillman Parker.
They removed the building Baker had been using to a lot on North Madison
Street where it was converted to a residence.
Parker and Snashall then proceeded to build a two story building, 22 feet
wide and 60 feet deep, fronting on East Main Street.
men filled the store with merchandise generally found in a well-stocked hardware
store of the day. Two years later,
Parker sold his interest in the company to Albert Adams and the firm became
known as Adams & Snashall.
Snashall was a native of England, born in 1840 and had come to the United States
at the age of 9 with his parents. They
settled in New York and at the age of 24, Caleb moved to Evansville and
purchased the hardware business. Two
years later, he married Emiline Adams, the daughter of his partner.
Adams and Snashall were in business together until 1871 when Adams sold his
portion of the business to Lansing Mygatt a native of New York.
The new partners changed the name of the firm to Snashall & Mygatt.
new partners purchased an adjoining store and began enlarging and improving
their property. A twenty foot
addition was made to the north side of the building making the floor space
nearly 5,000 square feet. They
added more stock to their hardware business, including shelf and heavy hardware,
revolvers, cutlery, stoves, farm implements, tin, copper, sheet iron and coal.
They also advertised the Senaca Falls Iron Well Pumps and offered to
install the machines in wells.
and Mygatt also carried windmills as part of their merchandise and in February
1873, as a demonstration and advertisement, the firm erected a windmill at the
public well in Evansville. The
apparatus was well received and proved to be a foreshadowing of another
enterprise in which Snashall and Mygatt would become partners.
same month, Allen S. Baker, William Smith, Almeron Eager, Levi Shaw and Snashall
and Mygatt formed the A. S. Baker & Co. to do general machine work and to
build a rotary steam engine that Shaw and Baker had invented.
Caleb Snashall became the first president of the firm that would later be
known as the Baker Manufacturing Company and would become known world wide for
Baker started manufacturing the rotary engine, Snashall & Mygatt continued
to operate their hardware business. They
began to manufacture cheese factory implements for new factories that had
started operation in the Evansville area. Their connection with the Baker foundry and machine shop gave
them additional facilities for manufacturing the vats, heaters, hoops, and cans
that were shipped to cheese factories in neighboring communities.
following year, 1874, Snashall and Mygatt's experience in the windmill business
proved advantageous when they became the general agents for the Monitor windmill
manufactured by the Baker Company. The
hardware merchants reported that the sale of the mill was meeting with success
far beyond any expectations the owners of the firm may have had.
contacted by Snashall and Mygatt wanted to buy the windmill, even before it had
been thoroughly tested. The
merchants described the windmill design as simple and easy to erect.
When it was in operation, the machine could withstand the heaviest winds
or changes in the weather.
the windmill proved a successful product for both the manufacturer and merchant,
the hardware store continued to supply other merchandise.
They employed an English immigrant, Ed. Sargent, to work in the store.
Sargent handled the tin shop, repairing and putting on tin roofs in the
1877, Snashall and Mygatt once again enlarged their store.
They purchased an adjoining store owned by George Magee, removed the
partition wall and made one large room where they could display their hardware
merchandise. A foundation was laid
for an addition to the rear of the building.
new floor space was said to be the largest and best equipped hardware store in
Rock County. While this may have
been an exaggerated local claim-to-fame, it was certainly the largest store in
Evansville in 1877. The new store
covered the area 42 x 82 feet and included a large cellar.
The floor space covered the same area as four of Evansville's largest
walls separating the stores on either side of Snashall and Mygatt's store were
made of brick and extended above the adjacent roofs for fire protection.
A tin roof was also put on the building for added fire proofing.
Snashall, Caleb's brother, was the building contractor.
Albert kept an office on the second floor of the store building and had
his carpenter shop in the building as well.
He employed several men and was kept busy building houses and stores in
1883, Lansing Mygatt's health was failing and he dissolved his partnership with
Snashall. While the two men
continued to own the building, they turned their interests to other ventures.
Their tinner, Ed Sargent, bought an interest in the F. A. Baker &
Company Hardware establishment and that firm became the local general agents for
the windmill and pump business of the Baker Manufacturing Company.
store was rented to another hardware firm, Clapp & Sausmann in April 1883.
They hired J. H. Benney to do their metal work, tin and iron work, tin
roofing, eave troughing and other jobs a talented tinner could handle.
Snashall turned his attention to another venture in 1883 when he, Allen Baker,
Stephen Baker, Almeron Eager, William Smith, Lloyd and George Pullen formed the
Evansville Manufacturing Company to make small nails and tacks in a building
near the Baker Manufacturing Company. Caleb
also became one of the traveling salesmen for the Monitor windmill and pumps
made at Bakers.
1885, Snashall made a trip to the western states and the following year visited
Illinois in pursuit of sales for the Baker company. His brother, Albert, installed the windmills and pumps until
1889 when the work became too strenuous for him.
When Clapp and Sausman went out of business in 1886, Benney took over the hardware store and Walter F. Biglow joined him as a partner. Biglow & Benny advertised that they were dealers in hardware and tinware at the old stand of Clapp and Slausman.
Biglow decided to go into the furniture business and the two men split the
business in January 1892. Benney maintained the hardware business and took in
another partner, a Mr. Herbert. Benney
kept his hardware business in the east side of the building and built a
partition dividing the store. Within
a month, the Benney hardware business was purchased by the Evansville
Merchantile Association, the Grange Store, and Benney and Herbert became
managers for the Grange hardware store.
set up his furniture store in the west side of the Snashall & Mygatt store
and Will Halsted became his partner. A
year later, Biglow added an undertaking business.
available space in the building was being used by early 1895.
Henry Monshau, a local harness maker, moved into the basement of the
building temporarily in April 1895. The
need for space for local businesses was growing rapidly.
June 1897, Snashall announced that the Snashall & Mygatt block was about to
be rebuilt and would be one of the finest stores in the city.
The cost of remodeling was estimated to be $4,000.
It was noted that the new store was one of the most metropolitan
appearing businesses in the city, with its beautiful long double front of plate
the following January, the building was ready for occupancy and Caleb's son, Dr.
Claude Snashall, a recent graduate of the Chicago School of Dentistry, set up
offices in the second story of the building.
There were also apartments in the second story that were considered to be
some of the finest living rooms in the business district.
Charles Barnard occupied one of the apartments and Frank Young another.
The Fiedler and Cole barber shop operated in the basement of the newly remodeled building. A red and white striped pole on the sidewalk advertised their business.
new building was photographed by Elmer E. Combs for a special supplement to the
Evansville newspaper, the Enterprise, in 1898.
The four-page brochure included pictures of prominent business people,
including Claude Snashall, and pictures of houses, churches, commercial and
former hardware store became a clothing store, within a year after it was
remodeled. The Grange Store, at 19
East Main, was outgrowing its space and renting additional stores to house its
various departments. The entire
first floor of the Snashall & Mygatt building was rented to house the men's
clothing, boots and shoes offered by the Grange. W. H. Doolittle and his son, Charles, were in charge of the
store. The Grange continued to rent
the space until they built their new store in the first block of West Main
Street in 1904.
property had by this time been given to Caleb's children, following his death in
1903. The Snashall's continued to
own the building for another seventeen years.
the Grange clothing store moved out, another clothing store was ready to move
into a larger space and Gillman & Sons, a men's clothing store operated by
Ray Gillman and his sons, Fred and Nay, rented the first floor of the Snashall
block. The Gillmans had rented
various locations on East Main Street before moving to 6 East Main.
the next thirty-four years, Gillman & Sons was located in the Snashall &
Mygatt building. Ray Gillman had
operated a livery stable in Evansville in the 1800s and then joined Michael
Maschler in the clothing business. In
1889, Ray and his sons began to operate their own men's clothing store.
store at 6 East Main was prominently featured in a 1907 photograph of thirteen
new Rambler automobiles owned by Evansville people. The local Rambler dealer, Clarence Baker, arranged for the
cars and their owners to line up on the street in front of Gillman's Store to
record his successful sales.
barbershop continued to operate in the basement of the building.
Fiedler & Cole were replaced by William Douglas in 1907.
Advertising himself as a tonsorial artist, he offered bath facilities as
well as the usual hair cuts and shaves.
years later, in 1913, William J. Cleveland operated the same shop.
Cleveland sold his business to Frank Ringhand and Mark Moore who
continued the barber shop business.
Snashall's sold the building to E. H. Garret in March 1920.
He continued to rent the main floor of the building to the Gillman's and
a new dentist, Dr. C. B. Cain moved into the offices in the second story, where
Dr. Claude Snashall had his dentist office.
Cain advertised X-ray diagnosis.
Ray Gillman died in 1926, his sons continued the clothing business.
Although Fred was an owner of the store, most people knew him as the City
Clerk and as the Police Chief of the City of Evansville.
Fred was known for his aggressive pursuit of criminals on the run.
Gillman brothers operated the store until 1938 when they quit the business.
Fred Gillman was the oldest clothing merchant in Evansville at the time
of the store's closing.
brothers held a liquidation sale to get rid of their clothing stock.
They hired a firm that handled closing-out sales to mark down the
merchandise and handle the final disposal of their merchandise.
In all the years of operation, the Gillman store had handled only three
brands of cltohing, including work shirts from the Racine Shirt Company, a brand
the store had sold for more than 40 years.
February 1939, Julius Jensen moved his Central Billiard Parlor from the store
located at 4 East Main between the Snashall Block and the Bank of Evansville.
(This store was demolished and the area was incorporated into the Union
Bank & Trust building in 1951.)
opened his new Central Billiard Parlor in the rooms vacated by the Gillman
Clothing Store. Before moving in,
Jensen remodeled the interior and moved four billiard tables from his old
location. He planned to expand to
eight billiard tables and add booths and tables for the tavern business.
Jensen's death, James Rowley opened Rowley's Tavern in the Snashall block in
1944. He purchased the building
from Katherine Cheriee of Chicago. The
Rowley family moved into the apartments above the tavern at 8 1/2 East Main.
Rowley also purchased the tavern and pool business from Burr Jones,
located in the Biglow building, east of the Snashall block.
the 1954, Rowley sold the business to Ron and Peg Berg.
sold to Gib Farney and Wallace Fink and the business name was changed to Gib and
Wally's. Fink sold his half of the
business to his partner.
the time that Farney owned the business, the front was remodeled with wood
paneling replacing the plate glass windows.
May 1969, Farney sold the business to Lee Zurfluh for $42,000.
Zurfluh updated the restaurant and bar by adding a walk-in cooler and
remodeling storage space. He also added air conditioning and a new heating system.
In 1971, he remodeled the former barbershop in the basement into
additional tavern space.
turned the business over to Jim Martin in the early 1980s.
The business was sold to Steve Lord in the early 1990s and the name of
the restaurant/bar was changed to the Field House Bar & Grill.
Today the restaurant is a pizza parlor, opened in 2002, after a fire closed the same business in 2001.
building was purchased by the Union Bank & Trust Company in 2002 and the
upstairs is being remodeled for offices for the bank.
many changes of ownership and building style, the business property at 6 East
Main has been a prominent feature of Evansville's commercial district since the