Columnist Brian Spangle has once again favored us, this time in his Feb. 24 column written on the First Street houses originally owned by the Schultz family.
All my life, I have been curious about those beautiful homes. Who had the good taste AND the money to build them? There are many such houses in our city, although they are fast disappearing. I so appreciate Brian's scholarship and writing ability. With little or no effort on my part, I am informed about something that means a great deal to me: the interesting stories of the lives of the earlier residents of Vincennes. The Schultz story did not disappoint.
Arriving to the U.S. in 1858, they first settled in Freelandville. Moving to Vincennes in 1863, they became involved in the grocery business and then added the floral business with its greenhouse, all in the North End of town.
The success of the businesses let Christian Schultz build the elegant brick home on 617 N. First St. in 1903, and son Paul built the "sister" house on 615 N. First St. circa 1908.
I can remember the flower shop which opened later at 509 Main St. That building's front was nearly all glass, and there were marvelous groups of beautiful floral pieces that filled that window, beckoning and enticing customers to come inside. (The building now houses United Insurance Service.) According to Mr. Spangle's article, carnations were the specialty of the family's greenhouses, and they were no doubt a feature in the Main Street shop.
I will never understand why showpiece buildings — many of such quality and materials that would make them impractical to replicate with today's building costs — are sacrificed to “progress.” There have been worthy suggestions recently in this newspaper by the editor and by Indiana Landmarks and the Vincennes/ Knox Preservation Foundation for a vastly improved system here in Vincennes to prevent neighborhood decay and thus protect our treasures. They cannot be resurrected once razed. It seems we protest, plan, talk, argue, hold meetings, etc., ad infinitum — all to no avail.