Highland News Leader

A Thought to Remember: Louis and Adolph Koch purchased their furniture business in 1899

Feutz & Junod Furniture on north end and Ammann Brothers on south end, later becoming Koch Brothers Store at Broadway and Washington. Photo from Charles McKittrick
Feutz & Junod Furniture on north end and Ammann Brothers on south end, later becoming Koch Brothers Store at Broadway and Washington. Photo from Charles McKittrick

“In 1899, Louis Koch and his younger brother, Adolph, the sons of Christian Koch, purchased the furniture business on Washington Street known as Feutz and Junod, from Alfred H. Junod.

“Albert G. Feutz, a funeral director, then worked for the Koch Brothers and became a partner. The business was later known as Koch Brothers & Feutz.”

(In the early 1900s, Albert Feutz went to St. Louis and was working at the Henry Leidner Undertaking Co., at 2223 St. Louis Ave., where he was secretary and manager. After a number of years, Leidner’s was known as the Albert G. Feutz Funeral Home in St. Louis.)

“Later, Koch Brothers & Feutz was known as Koch Brothers & Schwarz.

“They were then known as Koch Brothers Furniture, and they also still engaged in the undertaking business. Koch Brothers had originally taken over the north part of the building, from Feutz & Junod, then they took over the south and larger part of the building from the Ammann Brothers.”

(Joseph C. Ammann and his brother, Anton, were the Ammann Brothers. Joseph C. Ammann then joined the Highland Bank, which became the First National Bank on Main Street.)

“By 1903, the Koch Brothers Furniture store was moved to the east end of the building, and on the west, the original building was torn down and they added the new State and Trust Bank. Louis Koch became the cashier.”

State & Trust Bank became the Highland National Bank, selling to the Farmers & Merchants Bank, who used this building while they remodeled and added to the Farmers & Merchants.

The old bank was used as the Highland Youth Center for a few years. It was then demolished, and Dr. Robert Hellige’s Dental Office was built on that location. Today, it’s called Plaza Dental.

“Adolph Koch continued to run the business, still called Koch Brothers. By 1908, Alice Koch, the youngest sister of Adolph, joined him, and the business ‘Koch House Furniture Co.’ A few years, later Berns Duane Tibbetts, a licensed funeral director, entered the business. He was called ‘Duane’ or B.D’.

“By 1920, it became Tibbetts & Co., with Berns Duane Tibbetts, president. (B.D. Tibbetts was the oldest son of Dr. Moses Tibbetts for whom the Tibbetts House Bed & Breakfast is named.)

“By 1922, the building at 906 Broadway was purchased and remodeled. A second was story added, with a warehouse and loading dock. This became the new location of Tibbetts & Co. Tibbetts was president; Newton Wildi, vice president and tinner; Alice Koch, secretary and treasurer; and Orville Koch, licensed embalmer and funeral director.

“B. Duane Tibbetts suffered a heart attack in early 1949 and wanted to retire from business. Miss Alice Koch, also a partner, also decided to retire.

“On Jan. 1, 1950 the five full-time employees of Tibbetts & Co., Newton Wildi, Orville Koch, Melvin Wirz, Victor Duft and Roland Harris, who purchased Duane Tibbetts’ and Alice Koch’s partnership shares, continuing Tibbetts & Co.

“In July 1953, Roland Harris purchased the remaining shares of Tibbetts & Co. Selling the tin shop to Melvin Wirz, as he started Wirz Sheet Metal (today Langhouser Sheet Metal) and Orville Koch purchased Volta Wildi Tavern (today called Cypress Restaurant & Lounge) .

“Roland and Lorna Harris, in 1957, purchased the Josia G. Bardill home at 920 9th St., converted it into Harris Funeral Home.

“In 1963, Roland sold Roland Harris Furniture at 906 Broadway to Duvardo’s of Sparta, Ill., and they opened Duvardo Furniture.”

(Then, the building became Bruegge Furniture, and today it is Jane Mannion’s Dance School.)

“In late 1976, the Harris Funeral Home P.C. sold to James W. Meridith. (The Meridith Funeral Home today is located at 1223 Broadway.)

(Quotes from Charles McKittrick’s Koch information, Feutz information from Terry Clayton, No. 1 Book of Abstracts and my files.)