For twelve years Charles Gilbert Shaw had his photo studio at 100 ½ W. Sixth Street and lived with his wife, Coralie, a few blocks away at 211 E. Sixth. In the spring of 1937, Walter Allen purchased Shaw’s home and moved the Allen Funeral Home, established in 1917, from 212 S. Walnut into Shaw’s vacated residence. A full-page ad in the 1938-39 Bloomington City Directory shows the funeral home, as shown above, in its new location.
For more than 25 years, the Allen Funeral Home remained on the northeast corner of Sixth and Washington across the street from the public library that now houses the Monroe County History Center. Sometime between 1964 and 1966, the business moved into a brand new building on East Third Street not far from the then new and very popular College Mall. The vacated property at 211 E. Sixth was converted for use as the courthouse annex.
Later yet, the original structure was expanded, modified, gated and painted white. It became known as the Allen Court apartment complex. If you look carefully at the photo below, you can see the bones of the old building under the rather elegant-looking façade at the entrance of the complex. The appearance of the existing structure is very different from that of any other apartment complex in Bloomington.
We are lucky to have had this historic property so well preserved!
One minute Arthur Day and his wife, Mary, were at the northwest corner of Bloomington’s town square walking toward their home at 302 N. Walnut Street; seconds later Arthur lay mortally wounded in the street. They had just finished a meal together at the Graham Hotel. It was to be their last.
As they walked east across Walnut Street on Thursday evening, April 17, 1947, Arthur jerked Mary’s arm pulling her backward. In this way, unbeknownst to her, he had placed himself between her and an oncoming car. Mary didn’t see the 1937 Ford sedan driven by 22-year-old Howard Watson of Harrodsburg until Arthur was violently hurled against her knocking them both to the ground.
When Mary realized that Arthur was badly injured, she sat down in the middle of the street and raised his bleeding head to her lap. As a former hospital superintendent, she immediately recognized his condition as grave. He was still breathing and his eyes were open, but he was unconscious.
Watson, stopped immediately, leaped from his car, ran to the nearest phone and called for an ambulance and the police who arrived at the scene of the accident almost simultaneously with the arrival of a Day Funeral Home ambulance. Two hours later, at 9:45 PM, Arthur breathed his last at the Bloomington Hospital without regaining consciousness.
After a thorough investigation, Dr. R. E. Lyon, the Monroe County coroner, determined that the accident was unavoidable, a finding shared by the police. It was believed that the tragedy occurred when the stop-and-go light changed when the Days were in the middle of the street. Watson did not see the couple readily because the car immediately in front of him turned leaving him unaware that anyone was crossing the street.
At the time of his death Arthur Day, age 66, had been a well-known and respected resident of Bloomington for the past 45 years. He moved from Brown County to Bloomington in 1902 and was in the grocery business until 1913 when he joined a firm that operated both a furniture store and a funeral home business on the north side of the square. Arthur bought out his partners and became the sole operator in 1924.
He was one of the best-known residents of Monroe County. Nearly everyone knew the big, quiet man as a friend. His pleasant disposition brought him much success in his profession.
In addition to his wife, Arthur was survived by two daughters, Mrs. Gayle Campbell and Mrs. Lucille Pearcy of Bloomington; one brother, Odus Day of Bloomington; and two sisters, Mrs. Nannie Lanum of Bloomington and Mrs. Elma McDaniel in Kansas; three grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
Source: Picture and text abstracted from an obituary for Arthur Day published by the Bloomington World, April 18, 1947, pp. 1-2.