VALPARAISO | The building at 204 Lincolnway started out as a livery stable when it first opened as the Empire Hall building in 1901, according to records at the Valparaiso Public Library.
Empire Hall might have been built by W.J. Henry, a local businessman who operated a hardware store there for some years selling such varied items as farm equipment, stoves, harnesses, buggies, autos and windmills. Henry also served as a city councilman and was later president of City Savings and Trust.
Larry Clark, of the library's Genealogy Department, said old directories show that the Maxwell Implement Co. was located there in 1921, but it doesn't indicate what type of "implements" were sold.
During the 1920s the building was subdivided into the space for several businesses on Michigan Street. Among the early ones were a furniture store and an upholsterer. In the 1920s the building also housed a dance hall, and in 1946 it served at the meeting hall for the American Legion.
In the 1960s and 1970s, it was no longer Empire Hall. By then it was the location for a stationery store, an insurance company, the Red Cross, a chemical company, a real estate office, a recruiting office and the law offices of Blachly and Tabor.