Thursday, June 05, 2008

The history of NABC’s Bank Street Brewhouse building revealed.

My first foray into the history of the future NABC Bank Street Brewhouse building at 415 Bank Street in New Albany yields the following information. In short, the current building on Bank Street came about as an annex/extension of a bakery business located just behind it on Pearl. All years below are approximate. The bakery company that absorbed Grocers in 1959 is variously referred to as "Rainbo" and "Rainbow."

Model Baking Co. is incorporated and baking begins shortly thereafter at 414 Pearl Street, directly across the alley from 415 Bank Street.

Model's "Super Bakery" is slated for 414 Pearl Street. Source materials aren't clear whether this involved renovation or new construction.

Model Baking Co. becomes Grocers Baking Co., "The Home of Honey Crust Bread."

Grocers Baking Co. acquires house at 413/415 Bank Street, tears it down and builds current building soon to be used by NABC to brew beer. The building becomes the bakery's service area and garage for route trucks.

Remaining houses on each side of the bakery's Bank Street garage disappear and become parking lots. The south parking lot originally was used by Cora Jacobs Realty and Union Bank, and now is owned by attorney Rick Fox. The north parking lot was for the bakery/garage. Interestingly, the building brought down to provide the future NABC parking lot housed the New Albany chapter of the Women's Christian Temperance Union for more than thirty years, and perhaps longer (hardbound street directories went back to 1922, and I ran out of time to go to microfiche).

During the same time span (20's - 40's), the house that now belongs to Ricke & Associates boarded students from a local Bible college.

Grocers Baking ceases to exist and becomes Rainbo. How this was transacted isn't clear.

Longtime bakery manager Hobart W. Fox, who worked for both Model and Grocers, dies at his home on Gary Drive ... the same street where founding NABC brewer Michael Borchers now lives.

Rainbo ceases baking in the old Model/Grocers site on Pearl Street.

The Floyd County Museum gets an Indiana Arts Commission grant to paint a "supergraphic" on a downtown New Albany building. The south wall of the former bakery garage is chosen, and Larry Dalhover, a New Albany artist and dance instructor, wins a competition sponsored by the museum. Dalhover's design is painted in one day by a St. Marks UCC youth group.*

For the sake of "modernization," Rainbow installs vinyl siding and a faux façade on the Bank Street side of what they have started referring to as a "thrift" store, otherwise known to many as "the day old bread store."

A Tribune photo shows a newly created vacant lot at 414 Pearl Street and exults: "Downtown keeps improving … The old Rainbow Bakery building on Pearl Street has now been demolished … others will be torn down back to the city parking lot."

Rainbo closes the thrift store, and the building goes up for sale.

NABC brings the brewing revolution to downtown New Albany.


* Information from the February, 1975 edition of Louisville magazine, (pg. 75; "They Were Wall-Eyed!") The unknown author provides grist for the debate over how to identify a resident of New Albany with this line (italics added): "The next morning New Albanians heading downtown to work and shop did a genuine double take." Has anyone found an earlier reference to New Albanian?

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