Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Closing Up Shop

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Closing Up Shop

Article excerpt

On the northwest corner of State Street and Jennings Street sits one of the oldest buildings in Newburgh. Originally built as a hotel in 1841, the building has served many purposes and been home to many different businesses. For the last 30 years the building has been home to the Rivertown Antique Mall, which closed Jan. 31. Starting out as a hotel, the building was converted into a hospital during the Civil War and then went into the retail business when the war was over, owner Ken Hughes said.

"This building has a lot of history attached to it," Ken said. "Right when you walk in there is a trap door that used to hold slaves that they arrested and sent back to the south. All along the walls are scratch marks where they tried to claw their way out."

Ken, and his wife Leanna Hughes, bought the building in 1988, six years after the Rivertown Antique Mall opened. The mall is comprised of booths set up on both sides of a narrow hall running vertical down the building. Vendors can set up their antiques and sell them alongside other vendors. Two women, Gladys Levi and Bernice Dubiago, opened the antique mall in 1982 when Newburgh was a place many people did not want to be, Leanne said.

"We bought the building just a couple years after they opened and they were struggling to get people interested," Leanne said. "Their business stayed open regardless and drew in other businesses, which help blossom the Newburgh community as it is today."

Levi and Dubiago ran the mall until they both passed away. After their deaths Levi's husband, Bob, took over the shop and operated it on his own. He ran the mall for five years until he turned 80, decided to retire and was going to close Rivertown Antique for good. Ken and Leanna decided to approach him and ask to take the store over.

"Rivertown has been a part Newburgh since it started gaining popularity and we didn't want to see it go to waste," Leanne said. …

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