Demolition, Destruction and Revitalization

Demolition, Destruction and Revitalizing explores the town’s disasters by fire, tearing down, and what is being done with some of the older buildings in town

Demolition, Destruction and Revitalization

Nappanee, Indiana 46550, United States

Created By: Nappanee Public Library

Tour Information


Nappanee’s downtown has seen many different looks and businesses over the years. Demolition, Destruction and Revitalizing explores the town’s disasters by fire, tearing down, and what is being done with some of the older buildings in town. Find out what building burned to the ground and caused many from surrounding areas to think that Nappanee was going to burn to the ground. Hear about the Community Building the largest gym in the county before North Side, why is was torn down and made into a parking lot. Learn how a “hospital” has seen many faces since its original beginning. Find out about the original uses of some of the most loved businesses in Nappanee like how the Hunter’s Hideaway building was originally the first hotel in Nappanee or how the place that first held town council meetings is now upscale apartments.

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What You'll See on the Tour

PLAY AUDIO The Nappanee Public Library (NPL) has its beginnings in June 1916 when the Thursday Club got behind the idea of a Public Library and donated $31.50. The first Library Board Meeting was held May 6, 1919. In June 1920, they were ab... Read more
For the first eighteen years, Nappanee had very little fire protection. In 1878, Nappanee started to raise money for a fire company and they're fourth of July celebration was like never before; it had baseball, foot racing, climbing greased... Read more
PLAY AUDIO  There was a bowling alley upstairs and it was possibly Keller’s Bowling Alley. It was the first site of McCormick Motors. It was also a Print Shop, Antique, and Graber’s Flooring. It burned down in 2008 by two men. The enti... Read more
We have a fire department, now what?  By 1892, the town started sinking three deep wells and building a waterworks. In June of 1892, two hose carts were purchased for $80 each and each one was inscribed with Nappanee Fire Department. On Ju... Read more
PLAY AUDIO The Auditorium was “The Finest Little Theater in Northern Indiana”. It was financed by public subscription and was built in 1899. H.F. Frazier was the architect. There were many Nappanee citizens who pushed for the auditorium... Read more
PLAY AUDIO This building has gone from a livery barn to a restaurant. Until 1900 the building was owned by Alonzo Babcock. Around 1900, he moved from Nappanee to South Bend. In 1932, Clayton Pletcher moved his family to Nappanee and started... Read more
Nappanee's very first fire bell was located on top of the Corner Hardware that was located on Main and Market Streets on the northwest corner. When the Auditorium was built in 1900, the old fire bell was replaced with a new and larger one. ... Read more
PLAY AUDIO At one time it was also known as Stahly Hall as well as Hartman Hall. It was the site of early town council meeting. There were also plays, and other entertainment held in Hartman Hall. Funerals were held there. Church held Sunda... Read more
The fire department's first fire was in 1892. It was the Nappanee Furniture and had $3000 dollars in damages. The waterworks was not yet completed so that meant that the hydrants and mains were not finished. They had to resort back to the b... Read more
PLAY AUDIO The Napanee House was Nappanee’s first hotel. Proprietors of the hotel included Sam Hartman, Fred Richmond, L.B. Winders, Mrs. Jacob Pippenger, and Edgar Pippenger. Napanee house had only one “p” because a former landlord p... Read more
On January 25, 1893, the Nappanee Pump House exploded with terrible force and it was said the building was blown to atoms. Two men were killed and three badly cut and bruised. The force was so great that windows a block away were broken. Br... Read more
PLAY AUDIO The Community Building opened in June of 1933. It was the largest gym in Elkhart County before North Side Gym in Elkhart was built. When the Community Building opened, it was dedicated to the citizens of Nappanee. There was an in... Read more
In 1916, the era of hose carts ended. The two hose cart companies sat down with the town board to raise funds to purchase a motor fire vehicle. In 1919, the town board paid $4,240 for a motorized job. It was given a try and water was thrown... Read more
PLAY AUDIO J.D. Rapp’s Meat Market had been on this site before the building was removed to make way for the Coppes Hotel. The Coppes Hotel opened in 1892 and it became Nappanee’s second hotel but its finest one. It was designed by H.F.... Read more
The Nappanee Fire Department is proudly known as the Nappanee Smokey Stovers. Smokey Stover was a cartoon character and cartoon strip created by Nappanee Native, Bill Holman. In May of 1962, Fire Chief Willard Naylor asked Bill Holman to us... Read more
PLAY AUDIO In 1913 the Price doctors of Melvin (Delbert) and Willard decided to build a small building that would serve as an office and hospital. Their business had expanded very rapidly and the demand for surgery was so large. H.F. Frazie... Read more


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