Ken's Barbershop

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Ken's Barbershop.jpg
Sidewalk usage is no longer the main mode of people moving in downtown Marion, Indiana, as it once was. However, the large front store windows at Ken’s Barbershop, located at 211 South Nebraska Street, still serve the intended purpose as they did for the same building when it was a grocery and bakery originally. Those large windows allow someone to preview how long of a wait to anticipate and whom they may encounter while they wait for their turn in the chair. Once inside, those large windows also allow the current conversation to change with just a glance at those who pass by outside. The building has gone through multiple owners, but has retained the same basic structure over the last ninety-nine years. Some of the known owners of the building were The Powers Brothers Company, Emmett R. Craig & George F. Cole, and its present-day owner Ken Pahmeier.

Early Owners of the Lot

In 1826, the President of the United States of America, John Quincy Adams, sold 106.71 acres of land to Martin Boots (An Abstract of Title 1965). This land was known to be part of the West Half of the South East Fractional Quarter of Section 6, Township 24, Range 8 East (Plat Description 28). The land was sold a few times and at one point in time was owned by Jesse H. Nelson, Avis H. Nelson, and J. A. Gauntt. On the 23rd of June 1985 the land, known as part of the Nelson and Gauntt addition, became a part of the City of Marion (Plat Description 28). Records indicate that no building was located at 211 South Nebraska Street before 1900 (Sanborn Insurance Map January 1900). By April 1905, a building had been constructed and used as a bakery (Sanborn Insurance Map April 1905). The Grant County Plat Book 1 indicates that this building is located on Lot 21 (Plat Description 28). Lot 21 was split, and the building is located seventy-five south of the Northwest corner of Lot 21. The dimensions of the portion of Lot 21 this building is located is fifty-seven feet by eighty-six feet five inches (Plat Description 28).

Powers Brothers & Co. Grocery

According to the Marion City Directory, the first owners of the building at 211 South Nebraska Street were the Powers Brothers and Company (Marion City Directory: Marion 410). Phineas G. Powers was married to Nina Powers in 1890 (Phineas Powers 121). They had four children; Paul A. Powers, Vern P. Powers, Ernest W. Powers, and Lyle J. Powers. Records indicate that the Powers initially rented a home at 808 South Gallatin Street in 1910 (Phineas Powers 121). By 1919 they relocated to 115 South Nebraska Street (Marion City Directory: Marion 410). Known as the Five Hustlers, the four brothers and their father owned two other groceries and by 1935 they also owned the grocery and meat market at 211 South Nebraska Street (Marion City Directory: Marion 410). Paul A. and Lyle J. and Vern Powers ran the grocery at 211 South Nebraska along with another store located at 223 North F. Street (Marion City Directory: Marion 410). The business at 211 Nebraska was the main office (Marion City Directory: Marion 410). Phineas and Nina also ran a grocery store at 302 West 3rd Street. The other son, Ernest, was a salesman for his family’s grocery business (Marion City Directory: Marion 410).

Craig and Cole

By 1935, the grocery store was next operated by Emmett R. Craig and George F. Cole (Marion City Directory: Marion 125). The land was deeded to Emmett and George by the 2nd of June 1952 from Effie G. Emmerson and Billie M. Emmerson, along with Mr. and Mrs. Henry C. Baumgartner (Warranty Deed 43).

Emmett R. Craig was born in 1898 to Charles and Addie Craig (Richard Beck 134). He lived at his grandfather Richard Beck’s house along with his grandmother Kate and his mother and father (Richard Beck 134). In the 1930 census Emmett would have been thirty-one, and was now living in a house with his father Charles at the head of the household (Charles Craig 137). Along with him and his parents, in the house lived his brother Ernest and his sister-in-law, Thelma, along their son Richard (Charles Craig 137). Charles, Ernest, and Emmett were all in the grocery business (Charles Craig 137).

George F. Cole was born in 1898 also and lived in his father’s house (Frank Cole 144). Frank Cole was the father of three, Lewis F, George F., and Mabel. Sarah A. Cole was George’s mother (Frank Cole 144).

Ken's Barbershop

The Craig and Cole Grocery was in business until 1961 when the building became vacant (Marion City Directory: Marion 196). Emmett R. Craig and George F. Cole had not put their grocery store up for sale long before they received two potential buyers (Mary Pahmeier personal interview). Kenneth Pahmeier and a local filling station both wanted to buy the building. Emmett and George did not want their building to be torn down to become gas pumps, so they chose to sell their building to the Pahmeiers with special financial arrangements which would allow the Pahmeiers to keep the original building (Mary Pahmeier personal interview). The building was then transferred to Kenneth E. and Mary E. Pahmeier on the 14th of August 1962 (Grant County Auditor: Property Information 1). Mr. and Mrs. Pahmeier were married only two years before the building belonged to them (Mary Pahmeier personal interview).

Kenneth had worked at Carl Anderson’s barbershop for four years before he purchased the grocery store (Mary Pahmeier personal interview). Kenneth transformed the longtime grocery store to a barbershop and hair replacement center (Frank Cole 144). When he moved into his new building Kenneth built cabinets and put up a panel wall to separate his shop from the back of the building. He also had to take out the walk-in freezer left from the previous owner (Mary Pahmeier personal interview). The Pahmeiers use the back of the building, including the old grocery storage room and a room that was once used as a coal bin as storage for their antique cars and other hobbies (Mary Pahmeier personal interview). The shelves are the original eleven inch ones that were there from the grocery, today the shelves at Marsh Supermarkets measure at least fifteen inches or taller. The floors and the walls, along with the window setting and the front door are all from the original grocery store (Mary Pahmeier personal interview). The previous Mayor, Ron Mowery, once asked Kenneth to sell his building so the city could build a mini-mall strip in return for a new shop, but he refused the change (Mary Pahmeier personal interview).


The building has changed owners and services, from a bakery and grocery store to its’ present day barbershop and hair replacement center, but the building has stayed the same. Kenneth Pahmeier has declined offers that would have torn his building down for a modern-day business project and even offers his customers a cola vending machine that serves bottles like the old days. Kenneth Pahmeier has done his part to keep the building at 211 South Nebraska Street at its’ original state for a step back in history.

Works Cited



Submitted by Ashley Everett on December 29, 2003 for Mr. Munn's AP U.S. History class at Marion High School