Evansville locals reflect on 420 Main demolition

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – In the 1960s, Evansville was looking to revamp its downtown, just as Old National Bank was looking for a new home. Residents were excited for the new addition to the skyline. For 51 years, the building was an iconic piece of downtown Evansville.

Mayor Lloyd Winnecke announced that city officials have set a date for the 420 Main building’s demolition, being imploded on November 21, 2021. Since it has been in the talks for a couple of years, the Vanderburgh County Historian, Stan Schmitt, said he started to pull out old pictures and articles from the time of its construction and opening in 1970.

Schmitt said it is so rich in history, so its remembrance is very important to the city of Evansville.

“When they do views of Evansville, whether it’s from across the river or down Main Street, the Old National Bank building is prominent in these pictures. It’s still like that. I mean that’s part of the Evansville skyline, because of its size there,” said Schmitt.

While news of the demolition hits hard for those who have fond memories working in the offices and dining at the ritzy “Petroleum Club” on the top floor – it was an expected announcement.

Local business owners say they have a lot to prepare for demolition day.

“They’re going to stack up like four high of the shipping containers, so like to our office windows. He said it’ll be as high as our windows and he said the dust is the main concern on the day and that they want us to turn off our AC and that’s basically all they ask we do. But we have freezers so all the ice cream is gonna melt!” said Lic’s President Jamia Brown.

She said she’s a little concerned about making sure the Lic’s building doesn’t get damaged, but all in all she is ultimately excited for what’s to come.

The plan calls for the construction of two new buildings which will house apartments and office spaces.

Katrina McGowan used to work in the Sycamore building, which also has to come down for the new project. She says she just can’t wait for the downtown area to feel more lively and bring people together again.

“It’s [going to be] a lot better than looking at it the way that it sits. I just think that it’s wonderful when they build the downtown area up. Without it being built up, folks won’t come down here and enjoy the river and walk along the area with their children and build memories,” said McGowan.

Mayor Winnecke said on In-Depth with Brad Byrd that there will be several meetings held for business owners and residents in the area, where they can have all of their questions answered. He said he has full confidence in the project. Winnecke also added that just as the former Old National Bank building has been a catalyst in Evansville for the past 50 years, the new addition to Main Street will be a catalyst as well for the upcoming half centery.

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