Rushville Republican

Columns

October 1, 2013

A walk down Memory Lane

(Continued)

Wendell Willkie used the Durbin Hotel in Rushville as his headquarters for his Presidential run. I was quite young, but remember how busy and full Rushville was with outsiders for the whole campaign. The Durbin family made a national name for themselves thanks to Wendell. I remember my parents taking me down to the train station to see Wendell off to campaign all over the country. The whole community was involved in this event and a lot of outside money was brought into town. The Durbin bar as well as the Elks and other clubs that had bars were full most the time. The Smoke House close by the Durbin did a land office business in out-of-town papers and smokes. Quality Bakery could not keep salt rising bread in stock (much to my disgust, I loved that stuff!).

Pitman Wilson and Rushville Pharmacy were busy places. Rushville Pharmacy was where Willkie Park is today. They purchased the old furniture store on Main at Third, took the top floor off and made it into the place it is today. I believe they were the first all-encompassing shopping store downtown. If you wanted it, I would make a bet they had it or would get it - everything but clothing. Pitman Wilson was a Rexall franchise and I loved their twice yearly penny sales (buy one get the second for a penny). Mr. Freshie would close down for the State Fair, take their store, which was a trailer, up to Indy for the fair and then back home afterward. Wilhelm’s (where Downtown Shell is now) was always busy. The Corner Restaurant has been where it is today as long as I can remember. That and Moster’s are about all that is left from the downtown of my youth.

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