Taking Care of Business: Keller-Crescent

*Post written by James Wethington, senior library assistant at the University Archives and Special Collections.

U.S. Coast Guard cutters on Dress Plaza, approaching the city. Steamboat and barges beyond them. Identifiable buildings are Keller Crescent Printing & Engraving Co. at 24-28 SE Riverside Dr., Hotel McCurdy at 101-11 SE 1st St., and in front of the hotel, the Graham Motor Cars distributorship owned by Robert W. Baskett at 118 SE Riverside Drive, 1937. Source: Flood of 1937 collection (MSS 272-0765)

U.S. Coast Guard cutters on Dress Plaza near Keller Crescent Printing & Engraving Company on Riverside Drive during the 1937 flood. Source: Flood of 1937 collection (MSS 272-0765).

As we wrap up our blog series, “Taking Care of Business”, we examine the Keller Crescent Company. For a hundred and thirty years, Keller-Crescent served as an important employer to Evansville and the Tri-State region.

Keller-Crescent started in 1885 as Keller Printing in Evansville, Indiana: its’ founder, William H. Keller served during the American Civil War, with the Eighth Regiment, Indiana Infantry, Company G. He started as a sergeant and by the end of the war, Keller ranked as a first lieutenant (Smith, 2017; National Park Service, 2018). By 1906, Keller merged with Crescent Engraving and Printing Company, becoming Keller-Crescent (Smith, 2017).

Receipt for Judge P. Maier (1908) from the Keller-Crescent Printing and Engraving Company, 1908. Source: John Payne collection (MSS 299-7-31)

Receipt for Judge P. Maier (1908) from the Keller-Crescent Printing and Engraving Company, 1908. Source: John Payne collection (MSS 299-7-31).

As the company grew, their headquarters moved to downtown Evansville, at “… the corner of Riverside Drive and Locust Street” (Smith, 2017). They stayed at that location near thirty years until they moved to East Louisiana Street (Evans, 2015). During their tenure, Keller-Crescent was a top advertising and printing corporation in Indiana and in the United States. Keller-Crescent were bought out twice: by American Standard, in 1968, and by Clondalkin, in 2007; furthermore, they closed their doors in October 2015 (Evans, 2015).

On the Rice Library digital collection, inside of the Flood of 1937 collection, there are over thirty photographs of the old downtown Keller-Crescent headquarters during the 1937 flood.

References

Evans, Z. (2015). Former Keller Crescent facility to close, eliminating 150 jobs. Retrieved from http://archive.courierpress.com/business/local/former-keller-crescent-facility-to-close-eliminating-150-jobs-ep-1081236136-324568061.html/

National Park Service. (2018) Keller, William H.: Soldiers and sailors database. Retrieved from https://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-soldiers-detail.htm?soldierId=FB329AAE-DC7A-DF11-BF36-B8AC6F5D926A

Smith, D. (2017). History lesson: Keller-Crescent Company. Retrieved from https://www.courierpress.com/story/life/columnists/2017/02/27/history-lesson-keller-crescent-company/98445762/

This entry was posted in Evansville, Indiana, Indiana history, Natural Disasters, Photography. Bookmark the permalink.

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