The History of our location at 101 Lincoln Way West

The Phoenix Building was built on the location of 101 LincolnWay West (formerly known as 2nd Street) in Mishawaka after the fire of September 5, 1872. The catastrophic fire destroyed 49 buildings, including the entire business section of the city. The site was occupied by a number of businesses, including Sherwood Drug and Bookstore, S.H. Judkins and Son groceries, Keiner & Keisier Hardware, J.A. Burt and Company meat market, B’ Holcomb, grocery with second floor millinery.

 

After the fire, a three-story brick building was built by John Niles, Henry Niles, Joseph Burt and Buford Holcomb. Most of the main businesses which were demolished in the fire moved into the new quarters. The construction was started in 1872 before finishing in 1873.

 

The Phoenix building was the most pretentious three-story brick building erected after the fire and extended from Main Street to the alley west of the building. The new structure contained Mishawaka’s only known opera house. It provided seating for approximately 1,000 opera fans and was known as Burt’s Opera House.

 

The location at the southwest corner of LincolnWay and Main Street has had many different owners and occupants.

 

The Century Club leased the second floor and opera house and turned it into club quarters, with billiards tables reading rooms. Dances, shows and concerts were held there for many years. Burt’s Opera house was changed to Century and operated by George Senger who provided entertainment and motion picture shows. The opera house was also used for years as a roller skating rink and professional indoor ball games. City primary conventions were also held here. Most of us remember when Hooks Drug Store and the Mustang Restaurant occupied this building. The Covey Restaurant, which was destroyed by a fire in the 1980’s, was the last business to occupy the building.

 

Currently, the Phoenix Building is owned by Don Kelly and is being leased by Rich Kelly, Don’s son. The restaurant’s name is chosen because the mythical bird is again rising from the ashes as it did in 1872.

 

The building had a Phoenix bird rising from a lion’s head at the peak of the building when it was re-built in 1872. The lion’s head is on display at the Hannah Lindahl’s Children’s Museum on South Main Street in Mishawaka.

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