I have been been hoping to do some photo essays about West Terre Haute. I am working with lifelong resident Jim Plew who discovered a cache of photos from the 1940s. Those are still in the digitization process and we will bring them to you soon. Until then this modest beginning with a few graphics I have collected.
Again, if any of my readers have photos from West T., particularly those showing street scenes or buildings prior to 1950, and wish to share them, please contact me.
Remnant of first building in Macksville (West Terre Haute). Inside this frame building is the remnants of the log cabin that town founder Samuel McQuilkin built in 1833. It was common practice to build frame houses or building around the original log cabins. The house stood along National Avenue between current Third and Fourth Streets. This photo was taken around 1916. Of course the building is long gone now.
Cigar making was a hand craft that required only skill, a few tools and a place to work. Like many other small towns, Macksville had a cigar “factory” employing a few men and women. From old records it seems that both my Hants and Chrisman ancestors rolled cigars as their living for a few years.
Paris Avenue, ca. 1911. looking east from Market and Paris Avenue. Paris Avenue was the center of West Terre Haute life until the 1930s. Then National Avenue (US40) began to gain ground. Paris Avenue was home to the bank, a theater, the mining company store and the telephone company. its array of bars and restaurants were filled with miners and others.
Corner of Paris and McIlroy. Ca. 1911
Nearly the same view as above, but taken from a 1905 newspaper supplement promoting West Terre Haute. Note that the town was electrified, but this was before Paris Avenue was paved and two years before the interurban tracks were laid. It is a view of town just before its “boom.”
McIlroy Store, 1905, looking east (see below)
Mcilroy Store looking west. Paris Avenue, June 18, 2013
This was the second wagon bridge across the Wabash River that connected West Terre Haute and Terre Haute. It was used from 1865 to 1903. It was preceded by an earlier wooden bridge built that opened on Christmas Day, 1846. Prior to that bridge one needed a boat or ferry to travel between the towns.