Back When… Episode III

Hello again. It’s been a while since I’ve been here to update you on Neighbors Mercantile Co. While we are continuing our progress on the floor plan of the new store as well as the exterior changes we have coming, I wanted to get back to our history for a moment. We have most definitely left a gap in our story from the Bechtels to the Martins in ownership of this old building. This time frame is the most fuzzy for me. Most of what I have for you are pictures and the attempts at making sense of the timeline. The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, will surely make this one of my most wordy posts to date. 🙂

Now, I must preface this post by stating that I am no historian; and I can only dedicate so much time to digging for the historical information. But from what I can tell the Shively Brothers occupied our building for the majority of the time between the Bechtels and the Martins. I have found fragments of information that Howenstein, Burback & Rusher (H., B. & R.) bought out the stock of hardware goods from Carpenter & Hamblin as well as equipment from W. J. & W. A. Newcome of South Haven, Michigan.

H., B. & R. were located in Nappanee continuing at the “old stand”. The photo below shows the exterior of this “old stand”, I believe. Though I’m not sure the location of this building.

According to a bill of sale posted by Coppes Commons on their blog about the Shivelys; it would seem that at least for a time Shively and Rusher were in business together. Then it would seem that Rusher left and it became just the Shively Brothers

Shively Brothers seemed to have a couple different departments. A major aspect of their business seems to have been harnesses and horse goods. Found above the suspended ceiling was a rail of sorts hung across a portion of the ceiling. One of our Amish workers said he thought it looked like what you use in a barn to dip in oil and then hang harnesses. After I mentioned a previous occupant of the building sold harnesses he felt convinced that’s what it was probably there for.

At some point it seems that the Shively Brothers expanded their business to include dry goods, furniture and rugs. The following images are Provided by the Nappanee Public Library, Evelyn Lehman Culp Heritage Collection showing some shots of the store as it was occupied by the Shively Brothers. I find these photos the most interesting. You can see the light fixtures in these photos that we also discovered a few still mounted above the suspended ceiling. Comparing two of the photos you can even see where the Shively Brothers built the half level that sits between the first and second floors. The railing seen at the back of the second photo is still in the building today.

East section of the ground floor facing the back of the building.
East section of the ground floor facing the back of the building.
The east section of the second floor facing the back of the store.
A few good men and one woman at Shively Brothers’ Hardware Department
This west section of the second story has multiple layers of wall paper. Here the windows across the west (alley-side) of the building are still functional. In 2020 these are now boarded closed, though I’m not sure when they were closed up. But they will soon be shedding sunlight on to new product at the Neighbor’s Mercantile Co. again soon!
Light fixture on second floor still installed in 2020
The Nappanee Hotel connected to Shively Brothers’ Hardware, soon to be Neighbor’s Mercantile Co.
The streets of yore!

Thank you for journeying with me back in time. I know there are many details of the history of this building yet to be told and discovered. We treasure this knowledge and the images of what used to be. It is our hope to bring back a certain quality of nostalgia and small town charm seen in these photos.

We’ll see you back here soon as we turn our focus to the future of 151 E. Market Street!


1 thought on “Back When… Episode III

  1. Thank you for providing this information. It was very interesting and the pictures helped to envision that timeline in history.
    Looking forward to more of your posts.

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