Thirty-six thousand souls. Claim to fame:

"Richmond is sometimes called the "cradle of recorded jazz" because the earliest jazz recordings, and records were made at the studio of Gennett Records, a division of the Starr Piano Company.[7] Gennett Records holds the esteem of being the first to ever record artists such as Louis Armstrong, Lawrence Welk, Gene Autry, Bix Beiderbecke. Jelly Roll Morton, & Hoagy Carmichael to name a few."


Not the first thing that comes to mind when people say "Indiana."

This is heartening - well preserved, no bricked up windows or garish paint.

It’s two buildings, not one. If it had been one, I think there would have been a ground-floor street access door to the upper floors.

Can’t date the inlay as well as I’d like, but the exterior material suggests 30s. Except . . .

. . . the awning does not suggest an era of taste and style, and probably hails from the 80s. Speaking of which, one good storm with small-sized hail and that things’s stippled for life.

That’s nice.

I mean, it’s sad, what with the old department store gone, and the storefront given over to a charity place, but the fact that the old piece of history is visible, that’s nice.

The rest of the building. It is not nice.


This was one of the biggest names in town. Below, two scraps from the paper: on the left, his 1881 ad, which indicated that one need say no more. On the right, his obit in 1918. Front page news.

The paper's helpful for showing what the block used to look like:

Say, let's go back to that first building:

So now we can piece it together:


That explains this:



I love this style of building; it had a brief vogue. Late 30s, perhaps, but more likely the 40s, especially given the color. It replaced the main store.

Fire? Demolition? I can't find anything.

Knollenberg's closed in the mid 90s, and information seems scant.

That ought not to be the case. C'mon, Richmond. This is your history.


Moving right along.

“Ah, c’mon, if I take out the glass display cases, people’ll just want to park their scooters there.”

I’m getting the sense that trees and landscaped sidewalks may not have revived downtown to the extent that they hoped.

Sixties swoopy shingled awnings:

No doubt a fine clothing store once.


Beached by a street redesign:

Plenty of history.

It was originally used as a vaudeville house and featured the Marx Brothers in 1916. It closed in 1930 due to the depression but reopened a year later as the Indiana Theater, a movie house. In 1952 the building is leased by the Richmond Civic Theater and their programs begin showing productions at the "Indiana Theatre". It was eventually purchased by the Richmond Civic Theatre in 1966 for $42,000 and the venue was renamed the Norbert Silbiger Theater, after a founding member and driving force of the company. It was renamed again, back to the Murray Theatre, in 1984 in order to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Marx Brothers, eh? I’ll bet I can find that review. Searching . . . ah.


It’s time for the boards to come down from the windows, the bricks to be knocked out. There’s a lot downtown, and you can’t help wonder - what happened?

We've just scratched the surface. More next week.