Businesses on the Site
Starting in the early 1900’s, the building at 117 South Branson Street in Marion, Indiana was a grocery. This grocery was owned and operated by Charles Oakley (2). In 1929, the building was sold to Theo Bosler who opened it up as a restaurant (3, 4). After Bosler’s death, his wife Nellie took over (5, 6). Nellie Bosler held the business for a few years until 1942 (6, 7).
In 1942, owned by Burnett Folk, the building officially became Folk’s Tavern (7). The business of Folk’s Tavern originally opened next door at 115 South Branson Street in 1940 (6). After a few years, in 1941, the business was moved to the newly constructed building at 117 South Branson Street (1). Folk moved to the building next door and resided in the upstairs apartment with his wife Libby. The address of the apartment above Folk’s Tavern was 117 ½ South Branson Street (7). Folk owned and operated the business until it was sold in 1960 to Bob Craig (9). Craig changed the name of the business from Folk’s Tavern to Folkie's Tavern. While Craig had operation of the tavern, he did not own the building; he just ran the business (9).
In 1974, a big change was to take place with the building. It was sold to Charlie and Liz Weaver. Only five years later, in 1979, the business was passed over to the current (as of 2005) owner Stephen Schrader. Schrader has been a partial operator of the business with his sister Liz Weaver. After buying the tavern from his sister in 1979, Schrader is still owning and operating the business (9).
The Folkie's Building
The construction of the present Folkie's Tavern was in 1941 (1). Folkie's was built with an big residential area on the top floor. Now, the top floor consists of three different apartments. One apartment has two bedrooms, and the other two apartments are just one room efficiency apartments. The efficiency apartments are both connected to a kitchen and a bathroom (9). The upstairs has a total of three bathrooms.
When Folkie's Tavern was originally opened it was a tavern and a barbershop. The barbershop was a small portion on the side of the Tavern (9). The tavern and the barbershop were in the same building, however there was no inside door connecting the two. If someone wanted to go from the tavern to the barbershop, or vice-versa, they would have to exit one and walk around outside to the other door (9). One of the biggest problems with this was the fact that the barbershop had no restroom. When the building was bought in 1974 by the Weavers, they cut a door in the wall to connect the barbershop to the Tavern (9). They also found the space was worth more as part of the tavern than when rented out as a barbershop. Although it is not a barbershop anymore, people familiar with Folkie's still refer to the little side room as the “barbershop” (9).
The downstairs area consists of multiple rooms. First, there are two bathrooms--the ladies’ and the gentlemen's. Northwest of the tavern’s lower floor is the barbershop. East of the barbershop is the walk-in cooler. Behind it are two small storage rooms. South of the walk-in cooler and the storage room is the bar. The bar room is rather large and contains tables and chairs for Schrader’s many customers and of course the bar. To the far east of the restaurant is the back room.
Surrounding the sixty-four year old building are multiple well-known Marion businesses. Straight across the street to Folkie's are the McClure gas station and the Locker Bar. To the South of Folkies Tavern is the Marathon filling station. To the North of Folkie's across the Branson Street Bridge, and of course the Mississinewa River, is Marion’s Memorial Coliseum (4). Folkie's is located very close to downtown Marion. It is only a few blocks from the town square.
Folkie's Tavern is such a big part of Marion’s history because it has been with the town for over sixty years. Through the years it has been a spot for many career starts and endings. The tavern is a place where people can go to get away from things for a while, or just to hang out with their buddies after a hard day of work. After elections, Folkie's is a hot spot. Since Folkie's is located to close to downtown, after elections it is not uncommon to see reporters from the chronicle hanging round sharing some news (9). Folkie's is also a place where poll workers or candidates can come to relax after a hard day’s campaigning.
Schrader receives customers for many different reasons. One of the main reasons Folkie's is still around is because Schrader’s very positive and friendly attitude. With a personality like Schrader’s, his customers are sure to keep coming back. Location is another big part of Folkie's good business. It is a lunch site for many people who work down town, because of its great location. Folkie's is also a popular destination after a city council meeting. Because Folkie's is so close to City Hall, it is common for the councilmen to go to Folkie's after a meeting (9). Also, customers are attracted to the tavern to hear bands play and/or karaoke nights.
Folkie's Tavern, 117 South Branson Street, is a historically significant site in Marion, Indiana. The building, after being rebuilt in 1941, has underwent many changes and a few different owners. Going from a grocery, to a restaurant, to a barbershop, to a tavern, 117 South Branson Street has been the cite for various developments in Marion, Indiana. Folkie's Tavern has played a big part in the history and development of Marion and Grant County.
1. Grant County. Grant County Government, Indiana. December 31 2004.
2. Marion City Directory. Polk. 1927.
3. Marion City Directory. Polk. 1929.
4. Marion City Directory. Polk. 1931.
5. Marion City Directory. Polk. 1938.
6. Marion City Directory. Polk. 1940.
7. Marion City Directory. Polk. 1942.
8. Marion City Directory. Polk. 1945.
9. Stephen Schrader. Personal Interview. 13 May 2005.
This article was written by Ashlee Shook and submitted on May 20, 2005 for Mr. Munn’s AP US History class at Marion High School.