E.R. Jaques Building, 1928
The E. R. Jaques Co., founded in 1877, has been on this particular land plot for well over 100 years. For 53 years, the name of E. R. Jaques & Co. was symbolic of progress for Thorntown. Starting in a small way the company grew through good management and diverse products, until it was recognized as one of the leading firms of its kind in the Middle Western United States. The company’s home offices were located in Thorntown, but they had large branch offices in Lebanon, Veedersburg, Danville, IL and smaller branches located in scores of other towns and cities throughout Indiana and Illinois.
The building in Thorntown is a substantial three-story brick structure and was conveniently located on the Big Four Railroad right-of-way. The company was a heavy buyer of poultry and eggs, wool and hides. This merchandise was shipped regularly to the markets in New York and Chicago. Mr. Jaques had a huge interest in farming and business management, and he was always interested in those things which tended to further the interest of his beloved Thorntown. With changing times, in 1938, they dropped the poultry business and built one of the first cold storage plants in the area – having one in Lebanon also. The company also expanded their business to handle appliances, radios, roofing paint and fresh fruit, trucked in from Florida. The E.R. Jaques Company continued in business until 1942 when the facility was sold to Crystal Dairy Products. Since then the building has seen a number of tenants, but the one most seniors remember when it was the Old Garment Factory. This factory was in existence for several decades and many women from the area worked here up until the mid-eighties. They sewed and shipped pieces for such companies as JC Penny, Sears and Bobbie Brooks.
The current owner of the Old Garment Factory is Sugar Creek Art Center, Inc and it was renovated and opened under the new name in 2005. A local philanthropist, Dr. Robert Gillan, gave money for building renovations and its purchase, finally gifting it to the corporation on his death in 2009. It is because of the enthusiasm and vision of early board members and this man, and his generosity, that the Sugar Creek Art Center operates today and remains open to the public for their cultural enjoyment.
The Sugar Creek Art Center operates as a 501 c 3, not-for-profit organization and we work on a volunteer basis only. Artist studios and events venues are rented and that revenue along with donations, contributions, and grants enable us to maintain our current stability.
Please enjoy our establishment and return as often as possible to see the many things we have available for the public’s enjoyment.