Troy Had Miniature Eiffel Tower On Square
By Judy Deeter
Though this old Troy post card has the words “West Main Street” printed on the bottom, it's actually a view from East Main Street looking towards West Main Street. The buildings on the right side of the post card are located on East Main Street.
The post card is not dated but it was probably created around 1900. It was never mailed so it has no post mark date.
The tower in the middle of the picture was a miniature Eiffel Tower that was built in the Public Square, along with a bandstand in 1898-1899. In the book TROY THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, Troy historian Thomas Wheeler wrote: “In 1899 the (Troy City) Council paid to have the tower painted and to have a bandstand erected at its base. From the ground to the top, the tower measured 168 feet. A new system of electric lights was installed in 1900, and at night when the tower lights were lit, the Public Square presented a brilliant appearance.”
The tower was removed in April 1907 as part of a project to pave the Public Square. A story in the Miami Union newspaper on May 9, 1907 indicates that it was moved to a new bathing resort at Swift Run in northern Miami County. Some historians believe the new bathing resort may have been a place known as Phillips’ Natatorium, which opened to the public at Swift Run around 1907.
The long brick building to the right of the tower is a department store building that was constructed in 1883. In the early 20th century it was known as the Steil building where the Steil store was located. For a time, it was also the site of the Steil, Grunder and Dye clothing company. Many Trojans will remember the building as a white building that housed Uhlman’s Department Store in the mid-20th century. The building was destroyed when an arsonist set fire to it in 1970. Today, the land where the building stood is Prouty Plaza. The dome above the building is the top of the Miami County Courthouse.
Other buildings of interest are the three buildings on the right side of the post card. These buildings still exist on the north side of East Main Street.
The first building shown just to the right of the department store building is today known as the Saidleman Coleman-Allen Building. Many local residents will remember it as the David’s Shoes store or the Amish Store. Early 20th century shoppers would have known it as D.M. McCullough’s wholesale grocery.
The smaller building to the right of the Saidleman Coleman-Allen building is the Ross and Young building. It was constructed in the 1870s. In the early 1900s, it was home to the Jewel Theater, one of Troy’s early 20th century entertainment centers.
The Wasserman building is the building on the right side of the picture. It was built in 1880 and was home to several grocery stores. One of the most historic was the Piggly Wiggly store, which opened in Troy on December 18, 1920. Piggly Wiggly was the first grocer to allow people to shop for themselves in a store. Prior to 1920, people had given grocers lists of items or telephoned stores for delivery of food. Allowing customers to pick products from grocery shelves was a totally new concept back then. The Piggly Wiggly store closed about 1931. It is believed that it was purchased by the Kroger Company.
For further information about these businesses, contact the Troy Historical Society at (937) 339-5900 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information is also available at the Troy-Miami County Public Library Local History Library, 100 West Main Street in Troy. (Post card from the private collection of Judy Deeter)