• by Kirk Gaw

Saying Goodbye To The Bert Apple Bld.

Sadly, the Town of Walkerton Board had decided to demolish the Bert Apple Bld. also known as the old Town Hall. It was the former home to the Lincoln Township Assessor where property appraisals and property taxes were determined for the State of Indiana. It was the home to the St. Joseph County Traffic Court too! Many motorists may recall having to appear in the upstairs courtroom before a judge to determine tickets? It also, served as the home to the Walkerton Public Library which included a museum of local historic artifacts. Many Walkertonians have their own stories about their experiences when the librarians would "shoosh" you if you were noisy, or wrote you up for late books! How many people read the card inserts to see whose grandparents once read the books you were checking out? And how many people found their own parents? Those were the days of the Dewey Decimal System, and before computers changed it all.

The building also served as a bus depot for the Trailways Line way back until they ended service in Walkerton about 1978! For the most part people knew where the jail was at the Police Department. It was behind the Assessors office and reached on the Michigan St. side where you would immediately find the dispatcher busy at the door, and crowded behind that person was the deputy desk, and then the Chief of Police who had his own Office. Beyond that was the old jail which had a pen for women separate from the mens'.

Further, behind the Police Station was the Walkerton Street Department where they stored large equipment, a street cleaning vehicle, a Park Department vehicle, and stalls for vehicle repairs!

Originally, Bert Apple an automobile pioneer built the complex for his Buick dealership when he moved his family from Chicago to Walkerton! The entire upstairs was built for his wife and children as their home back in 1915. The building is 102 years old. It was one of the first Buick dealerships in the Nation when it opened! Bert Apple operated it into the 1930's before he sold it to another car dealer. He later built the fairy tale, brick, arts & crafts house located on the 300 block of Roosevelt for he and his wife when they retired. He was quite the automobile sportsman and was regularly seen sporting experimental and luxury cars across the area! He really believed in the viability of the community as a haven for the country life on the edge of the metropolis of Chicago!

The Town of Walkerton does not have an actual plan with what they are going to do with the empty lot that will sit at the corner of Roosevelt & Michigan St.? They have made no announcements about any plan.

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