Evansville is unusually rich in architecture from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. The historic district encompasses most of the original city plat, and it remains much as it did at the turn of the twentieth century, in large part because the city was unmarked by boom periods. Instead, it grew slowly to meet the needs of the surrounding countryside. Evansville began in 1839 as a rural market community, and it gradually developed into a processing center for the wheat and tobacco grown in the surrounding area. Even Evansville’s chief industrial concern—Baker Manufacturing—served the agricultural community, producing windmills and pumps.
The city’s buildings are typical of their era, but several, clustered especially on two blocks of Main Street, are outstanding. The two-story Dr. William and Mary Quivey House (before 1858; 103 W. Main Street) is an imposing Greek Revival building with a temple front. Doric columns with fluted shafts support an entablature with triglyphs along the frieze and a pediment with mutule blocks. The house was enlarged after 1883 with a two-story bay window on its east side. The most striking feature of the Queen Anne Campbell-Willoughby House (1881; 44 W. Main) is a tall, square tower crowned by a two-stage pyramidal roof. Steeply pitched gabled hoods have decorative horseshoe trusses over the windows, and the house has a two-story bay window and an entrance porch with an elaborate wooden entablature.
The Grange Store (1904; 21 W. Main) was founded as a privately owned business catering to members of the local Grange. The Grange lodge hall was located upstairs. Formally known as the Patrons of Husbandry, the Grange served as a fraternal lodge for farmers and a lobbying organization for farmers’ issues, such as regulating railroads and grain warehouses. Local contractor William Meggott gave the two-story brick store such neoclassical touches as an Ionic portico at each corner, supporting a rounded bay, and Ionic columns framing the side entrances.