Source: News-Journal, August 16, 1973, Centennial Section [with photo]
Lutz & Rager Clothing, 1840's
The Lutz and Rager Clothing and Grocery store was one of the very early firms in North Manchester, being in business in the early 1840s.
The building was a good example of Greek Revival architecture which was popular at that time and was located at 111 E. Main.
The actual photo was most likely taken prior to the Civil War since there are no traces of Civil War uniforms on the men. After the war, uniforms or parts of them, became popular for men's clothing as has happened after other wars.
Another clue to the age of the photo may be gleaned from the two baskets hanging under the store sign. The baskets are hickory split Indian baskets which were purchased from Indiana craftsmen in Oklahoma.
The building was eventually torn down and the old structure was moved into the middle of Main Street until the new structure was completed.
Prior to the 1870s businesses in North Manchester and other communities in North West Indiana were oriented toward Detroit rather than Chicago.
Detroit had been the old territorial capital and had been the site of the issuing of various laws, edicts and other government business.
New York business firms would ship their goods to Detroit and the various goods would arrive at Lagro after making a trip over the various rivers and canals. North Manchester merchants would then go to Lagro to pick up their dry goods.
During the Civil War, Chicago businessmen made an effort to exert their influence over northern Indiana. Chicago newspapers were brought into North Manchester and posted for area readers in the various stores.
Following the war Chicago became a governmental center for this area and its commercial influence replaced Detroit as the canals went out of business and railroads came into heavier operation.