Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bischof's Big Store

We have many historic postcards of Montgomery County, and we are happy to reveal our latest acquisition: an interior view of the Louis Bischof Big Store, which was a landmark in Crawfordsville for many years. Louis Bischof came to Crawfordsville at the age of 17 from Terre Haute, Indiana, and soon became a partner of Jacob Ferber who owned a store at the corner of Washington and Main Streets. In 1882, Louis Bischof bought his partner's interest in their store and started his own career as a storekeeper, which would span three more decades. Bischof eventually built a four-story building on the corner of Main and Green streets, opening in 1899, and in 1907 this establishment became "Bischof's Big Store." The store was a cooperative with more than 3,000 area stockholders earning annual dividends (as well as a 5% discount on their purchases). Bischof was a lifelong bachelor and natural salesperson who wore a red carnation every day, which he would buy on the way to work, for more than 40 years. His successful store contained everything in its basement and four floors -- and in mass quantity. This postcard dates from 1908. Bischof's eventually became Goodman's store in the late 1920s but burned to the ground in 1933 in one of the town's most disastrous fires.

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