- Associated Press - Friday, June 6, 2014

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - Tim Lehr and his wife, Donna, watched from a few 100 hundred feet away on Thursday afternoon as Koberstein excavators demolished the nearly 100-year-old building that once housed the offices of Faultless Caster Co. - a remnant of Evansville’s furniture-based industrial past.

“It’s a shame,” Tim Lehr said. “It’s a staple”.

The company made casters, the small pivoting wheels that office chairs and other furniture roll on, a compliment to Evansville’s burgeoning furniture at the turn of the century.

Coming from Nebraska, the Faultless Caster Co. laid the cornerstone to its factory on North Garvin Street on Dec. 12, 1912.

The office building, coming later in 1919, cost $50,000 to construct, and was described by The Evansville Courier as “handsome.” The newspaper called the brick building “one of the finest” and largest building of its kind in the city.

While some of the factory’s old warehouses are being leased, the office building has sat dormant for more than 10 years after the company ceased production in Evansville.

“It used to be hoppin’ around here. The street would be full of cars. Everybody would go to lunch at Francis Pharmacy,” Tim Lehr told the Evansville Courier & Press (https://bit.ly/Tmafj7 ). He spent part of his childhood in the ‘60s opposite the factory on Garvin Street. He moved back into the home in the mid ‘80s, living across from the office building ever since.

“When I first moved here, at night there’d be these big booms - boom, boom,” Donna Lehr said mimicking the sound the presses would make during the manufacturing process.

The demolition started Wednesday. Since then, Lehr said he’s watched many come and go - many likely former employees, he thinks.

One older man, he said, walked away with an armful of bricks torn from the building, wiping tears from their eyes.

“The place has a soul,” he said.

Majority owner of the property Art Klipsch said demolishing the building will open up the ability for more of the warehouse space to be used. After sitting idle for a decade or more, the building’s interior had been broken down by time. A sprinkler line burst over the winter.

Klipsch bought the property shortly after Faultless’ caster production left Evansville more than a decade ago.

“The odds of leasing an office building in that area are pretty slim anymore. We got a good price to tear it down to where we would be able to open up the warehouse much better,” he said.

Hundreds of thousands of square of feet of warehouse sit on the property, 65 percent of which is currently leased, he said.

His company has had many of the dilapidated buildings on the property demolished over the years, and after a decade of damage from vacancy, the office building was next.

“It was just time, but it’s a shame. It’s a beautiful building,” he said.

The distinctive white stone globe that sits atop the facade of the building is supposed to be salvaged by Koberstein, Klipsch said.

“We don’t know what we’re going to do with it, if anything,” he said.

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Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, https://www.courierpress.com

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