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1905 Newspaper Touts Nappanee Businesses

Welcome to Bill’s History Corner, I hope you enjoy the discovery as much as I do.

In 1905, The Nappanee News published “Industrial Nappanee,” a special edition, a supplement if you like, of The News. It consisted of 22 pages, front and back. Industrial Nappanee was an edition of 5000 copies and sold for 10 cents. On a beginning page, there are these three words in large type, COMMERRIAL, HISTORICAL, BIOGRAPHICAL. This page does not explain about these words, but the inference is that this Industrial Nappanee special edition will talk about these aspects of Nappanee. Part of the first paragraph is as follows.

                “Men and natural advantages have been the direct means of transforming some villages into thriving, bustling cities. Few country villages, however, have been able to make substantial progress beyond the status of the rural corner store, where they have depended entirely upon men, and where natural advantages were found not, until energetic, foresighted, untiring men brought advantages to their own assistance. The town of Nappanee is one of these exceptions: and where men might in the absence of some of those things which are the first essentials usually, in the building of commercial and manufacturing centers. Like the pioneers who transformed the country where forests stood into waving fields of ripening grain, the early builders of Nappanee have been and are now paving the way for those who come after them to enjoy the blessings of a great manufacturing and commercial center.”

Don’t you just love that flowery language that was the norm from this past era?  I needed to read it several times before I was sure I understood what they were saying. Writing was so much different then. 

The most interesting things I want to explain are the receipts we have in the Coppes collection from the Nappanee News. These were for the cost of taking pictures and publishing them in this Industrial Nappanee supplement. We have found five receipts so far. There may be others.

John Coppes, Frank Coppes and Daniel Zook each have a receipt for “to photograph & cut house at $1.75 each,” which means that the three houses were photographed and a printable “cut” made so it could be inserted into the paper. Another way to view this is to assume the editor of the Nappanee News contacted these three men and said: “If you want a picture of your fancy house in this new Industrial Nappanee supplement, it will cost each of you $1.75 to show off to the rest of the town.” I’m almost sure the editor didn’t actually say that, but you get my point.

This supplement has many stories about Nappanee people and businesses and industries. One such industry with a half-page spread is the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Company. The receipt for this includes four pictures and 13 “cuts” plus the printing space for the text, which cost the company $59.90.

I’m assuming that most all the people and businesses in this supplement had to pay for the privilege of being in the publication. This paper is full of interesting facts. For example, it lists the eleven churches in town with the then-current minister, the church’s starting date in Nappanee, and the size of each congregation along with an early photo of each building. A list of the main stories reads like a who’s-who in Nappanee history. Besides the Coppes, Zook & Mutschler Co., there are spreads on The Union Canning Co.; Nappanee Lumber & Mfg. Co.; Brown Bros Mfg. Co.; George L. Lamb; George Freese’s Sons; C. Volkman’s The Globe Iron Works; Enos Newcomer, the Jeweler; Harry Laughlin, the Onion Man; Samuel W. Craige, the Grocer; Noah A. Lehman, Furniture Dealer & Funeral Director; Howenstein, Burback & Rusher, Hardware Store; the Hartman Brothers, General Merchandise; Shively Brothers, Hardware, etc.; Weiss & Frevert Brothers, Hardware; Farmers & Traders Bank; George E. Miller, Photographer; W. H. Best & Sons, City Meat Market; Kaufman’s Department Store, Dry Goods & Hardware; Plus numerous smaller articles about other Nappanee Residents.

There are also interesting pictures around the town, such as one of the 17 automobiles owned by Nappanee residents who were gathered on the square, and an early morning picture of the stockyards. All in all, a very interesting account of the early history of Nappanee. I’m sure the Nappanee Library or the Nappanee Center has a well-thumbed copy.

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