Peabody Singing Tower

 North Manchester, Indiana

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Source: Weesner, HISTORY OF WABASH COUNTY (1914), Vol. II, 948-9.

BENJAMIN OPPENHEIM.  One of the oldest and most firmly established mercantile enterprises in North Manchester is the general dry goods firm of B. Oppenheim & Company. Founded nearly forty years ago by the father of the present proprietors, the store has continued to improve with the development of the surrounding trade territory and in keeping with modern methods of merchandising, and it is generally conceded to be the largest and best stocked store in its line in that part of Wabash county. The senior partner, Benjamin Oppenheim, took active charge of the business at the death of his father more than thirty years ago, and the best evidence of his ability and standing as a merchant is found in the fact that the gross revenues of the store have increased fully fourfold in the past thirty years, showing a marked concentration of business due to reliable dealings and progressive methods of merchandising.

Benjamin Oppenheim was born in Detroit, September 22, 1863, a son of Jacob and Pauline (Goldman) Oppenheim. In 1875 the family moved to North Manchester, and here Jacob Oppenheim opened a dry goods store and before his death, which occurred eight years later, had placed the business on a sound foundation. Jacob Oppenheim was a good business man and was esteemed for his excellent citizenship as well. In politics a democrat and a public spirited citizen of his community, he lived quietly and was never in public affairs. In his death on October 1, 1893 [sic--Research Note: Year of Jacob's death was 1883.] the community of North Manchester and the entire county lost a valued business man and an able citizen. His widow passed away on Easter Sunday of 1913. Their six children were: Benjamin, Anna, Isaac, Fanny, Ida and Etta.

Benjamin Oppenheim spent the first twelve years of his life in Detroit, where he attended the public schools, and continued his education at North Manchester for a time. He was still a boy when he entered his father’s store and his experience acquainted him with every detail of dry goods merchandising. Though only twenty years of age at the time of his father’s death, he was well qualified for managing the business, and has since continued its active head. In later years a younger brother, Isaac, was admitted to partnership, and the brothers are now sole owners of the establishment.

In June, 1892, Mr. Oppenheim married Nettie Kohn, a daughter of Marx Kohn of Wabash. They have one son, Gene J., now a student in the Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinois.