Shopbell & Company

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Clifford Shopbell (in rear, at right) and his staff of architects and engineers; Ed Thole is at typewriter, and Joe Berridge is at his left; photo dated 1919, Courtesy of Willard Library Archives

Shopbell & Company was an American architectural firm located in Evansville, Indiana.


The firm was founded as Harris & Shopbell in 1897 and still had that name in 1905.[1] The firm later became Clifford Shopbell & Co.[2] (ca 1910), and later still (ca 1916 - 1925) Shopbell, Fowler & Thole.[3] The partners designed buildings during the 1910s and 1920s, mainly in Evansville, but also elsewhere in Indiana and Kentucky.[4] Many of its works survive and are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.[5]:1–28

Evansville, Indiana historic preservation staff described Clifford Shopbell and Company as "probably the most prominent--or at least the most active" local architectural firm in Evansville's Downtown. They credit several of its works as showing "clear understanding of program and ceremonial demands", note the firm's use of Prairie School design, and commend it for "one creditable Sullivanesque essay," (the Fellwock Auto Company Building).[5][6] They also note the Indiana Bank and the Masonic Temple in Classical Revival mode, "along with one or two Chicago School buildings".[5]

In 1919, Clifford Shopbell & Co built the Evansville Municipal Market.[7]

By 1905, Harris & Shopbell had already built 9 Carnegie libraries: Shelbyville, Greensburg, Franklin, Seymour, Salem, Princeton, Alt. Vernon and Poseyville, IN, and Henderson, KY;[1] as Clifford Shopbell, the firm went on to build several more. Illinois preservation staff record that Shopbell also built the Illinois libraries at Carmi in 1914, Grayville in 1913, and Marion in 1916.[8] Illinois preservation staff called Clifford Shopbell "the dominant architect of Carnegie libraries in Indiana, with at least fifteen of that state's commissions".[8] The preservation staff state frankly that:

"Like many architects who sought Carnegie Library commissions, Shopbell welcomed publicity. When the Clarion-News of Princeton, Indiana, interviewed him in 1903, Shopbell mentioned that he was currently building four Carnegie libraries, and said that although smaller libraries were usually constructed of pressed brick, since his firm had "an inside price on stone", if Princeton acted quickly, they too could afford a stone library. The firm of Harris and Shopbell was selected and Princeton built a stone library. As the Illinois libraries built by Shopbell are all of brick, his inside price on stone must not have lasted into the 1910s."[8]

Principal partners[edit]

The founding partners were Clifford Shopbell and William J. Harris.[1][9][10]

Harris was the senior partner; he was born in Louisville, KY, graduating from the high school there in 1887. After an "apprenticeship" in architecture, Harris opened an office in Evansville in 1895, and formed a partnership with Shopbell in 1897. He was a member of the Freemasons, the Knights of Pythias, and the Elks. He married Bell Hawley in 1894.[1]

Shopbell was born in Princeton, IN, on December 8, 1871. From 1889, Shopbell spent five years in the Indianapolis office of architect W. Scott Moore. In 1894 he moved to Evansville, working with architect C. A. Brehmer. In 1897 he married Winifred Dunlap of Indianapolis, and joined Harris to form their architectural partnership. Shopbell was a member of the Freemasons, as well as belonging to the Shriners and the Knights of Pythias.[1] Shopbell died in 1939.

Properties constructed[edit]

Works include (with attribution):

Works by Clifford Shopbell and related companies
Building Location Company Listing
Albion Apartments, "model flats", 1910-11[11] 701 Court St. Evansville Shopbell & Co. NRHP
American Trust and Savings Bank (Indiana Bank), 1903, enlarged 1914[12] 524-530 Main St Evansville Shopbell & Co. NRHP
Bitterman Building 202-204 Main St. Evansville Clifford Shopbell & Co. NRHP
John W. Boehne House 1119 Lincoln Ave. Evansville Shopbell, Clifford & Co. NRHP
Buckingham Apartments 314-316 SE 3rd St. Evansville Shopbell & Co. NRHP
Busse House 120 SE 1st St. Evansville Harris & Shopbell NRHP
Court Building (Furniture Building)[13] 123-125 NW 4th St. Evansville Harris & Shopbell NRHP
Evansville Municipal Market 813 Pennsylvania St. Evansville Shopbell, Clifford, & Co. NRHP
Old Fellwock Auto Company[5] 214 NW 4th St. Evansville Shopbell & Co. NRHP
Fellwock Garage 315 Court St. Evansville Harris & Shopbell Co. NRHP
Greensburg Carnegie Public Library 114 N. Michigan Ave. Greensburg, IN Shopbell, Clifford, & Co. NRHP [14]
Michael D. Helfrich House 700 Helfrich Lane Evansville Shopbell, Clifford, & Co. NRHP
Hose House No. 12 1409 First Ave. Evansville Harris & Shopbell NRHP
Huber Motor Sales Building 215-219 SE 4th St. Evansville Shopbell & Co. NRHP
Ingle Terrace 609-619 Ingle St. Evansville Shopbell & Co. NRHP
Kuebler-Artes Building 327 Main St. Evansville Shopbell & Co. NRHP
Masonic Temple (Evansville, IN), 1912[12] 301 Chestnut St. Evansville Shopbell & Co. NRHP
Masonic Temple (Franklin, IN),[15] 1922 135 N. Main St. Franklin, IN Shopbell, Fowler, and Thole NRHP
Oak Hill Cemetery, 1901[2][16] Evansville Harris & Shopbell NRHP
Rose Terrace, "model flats", 1910-11[11] 301-313 NW 7th St. Evansville, Shopbell & Co. NRHP
Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Coliseum, 1916-17[17] 350 Court St. Evansville Shopbell, Clifford & Co. NRHP
Van Cleave Flats 704-708 Court St. Evansville Shopbell & Co. NRHP
One or more works Boonville Public Square Historic District, Boonville, IN Harris & Shopbell NRHP
One or more works South Main & South Elm Streets Historic District, Henderson, KY Shopbell & Harris NRHP
One or more works West Side Historic District, Shelbyville, IN Harris & Shopbell NRHP


  • "NRHP:" (State Historic Preservation Officer) (April 22, 1982). "National Register of Historic Places". Downtown Evansville Multiple Resource Area. United States Department of the Interior Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service. pp. 1–28. 
  • William J. Harris and Clifford Shopbell. Harris & Shopbell architects, Evansville, Indiana. Harris & Shopbell (publisher), 1908. (Pictures of buildings).[18]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Memoirs of the Lower Ohio Valley, Personal and Genealogical (Volume 1)". Memoirs of the Lower Ohio Valley, Personal and Genealogical (Volume 1). Federal Publishing Company. 1905. p. 33. Retrieved November 28, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Walking Tour". Vandenburgh County : Walking Tour. Vandenburgh County. May 19, 1990. Retrieved November 28, 2011. 
  3. ^ Ball State University, Drawings and Documents Archive contains "18. Copies of selected drawings from the office of Clifford Shopbell & Co., later Shopbell, Fowler & Thole, architects, Evansville (ca. 1916-1925)." Retrieved 28 November 2011
  4. ^ collection at Ball State
  5. ^ a b c d Douglas L. Stern and Joan Marchand (October 19, 1981). "National Register of Historic Places nomination: Downtown Evansville Multiple Resources Area". United States Department of the Interior Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service. pp. 1–28. Retrieved November 28, 2011. 
  6. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  7. ^ Municipal market for city of Evansville, Indiana, interior, 1919 - Clifford Shopbell & Company, architects Library of Congress. "Notes: Illus. in: The Western architect ... , v.28, no. 3, March 1919. Chicago : The Western architect, inc., 1919, plate 15." digital file from original print Retrieved 28 November 2011
  8. ^ a b c Schnell, Karen E. (January 6, 1994). "National Register of Historic Places". Illinois Carnegie Libraries. United States Department of the Interior. p. 19. Retrieved November 28, 2011. 
  9. ^ google book
  10. ^ obituary in Western Architect
  11. ^ a b NRHP, page 18
  12. ^ a b NRHP, page 4
  13. ^ Court Furniture Building, Evansville, Indiana
  14. ^ Clifford Shopbell designed several libraries: see Illinois Carnegie Libraries Multiple Property Submission.
  15. ^ Now Johnson County Museum of History
  16. ^ Oak Hill Cemetery 1901
  17. ^ NRHP, item 8 page 3; also names (45) YMCA of 1913, and (117) Walnut Street School of 1913.
  18. ^ Google books. The year is also recorded in the reference as 1904 so the year is uncertain.