Our Building

9 SE Second Street, Washington, Indiana

The Critchlow Agency, Inc. is proud to be housed in the heart of downtown, an area rich in local history.  With great pride in our town, The Critchlow Agency, Inc. is honored to be housed in a building that speaks of its history.  Built in 1877, 9 SE Second Street first housed Washington's fire engine in front with a two cell jailhouse in rear.  With uses from City Counsel meetings to a thriving fabric store, the building serves as a testament to the town's ever-changing needs.  


A more in depth look at the history of our building, courtesy of Rex Myers' "The History of Daviess County" copyright 1977


After six years of renting a room from Dr. Sehag, it was quite evident that a permanent site was needed for a city hall building.  On May 7, 1877, Mayor Bynum appointed a committee composed of Councilmen P.T. Garagham, Walter Burn and Nathaniel H.Jepson to select a city hall.   On May 14, 1877, the site committee responsible for a city hall reported to the Mayor and City Council with its report.  On May 14, 1877, the same meeting, the city agreed to the committee's suggestion - to enter into a contract with Mr. Henry Walter, a Democrat, who would erect a neat brick building on Second Street just south of the city drug store.  The 1877 City Drug Store site is the current 1987 site of Williams I.  The Walter Henry building was located about 100' south of Main Street on the west side of the street.  Henry agreed to lease his proposed two story brick building to the City of Washington for a term of five years for rental of $300 per year.

      The first floor of Henry's building had a room, 15'x45', to be used for teh town's Fire Engine and Hook and Ladder apparatus with the City Prison in the rear which contained two cells, 9'x9-1/2'.  One cell was used for females and one cell was used for males.  Those people arrested for breaking city laws were confined in the City Prison until they could be conveniently  placed in the Daviess County Jail.  The City Marshall was required to keep the city prison usable and could feed city prisoners for no more than 50 cents a day.  At this time, the rear of the building has bars on two windows which might be the site of the city prison.  One of the recent owners of this old building is of the opinion the bars were added when the building was used for mercantile purposes.

     The second floor of the building originally had a large room for a City Council Chamber with an apartment for the City Clerk, 25' x 15' and a room for a Police Hall, 29-1/2'x19'.  The Mayor, Clerk, and the Councilmen and reporters were provided with desks.  The Police Hall and Council Chamber had a front entrance while the Police Hall was required to have a rear entrance too.  A stairwell, to the left of the first floor fire engine area, lead to the Council Chamber area on the second floor.    

     On Tuesday, August 15, 1877, about the same time the new Daviess County Court House was being finished, the City Council and Mayor William D. Bynum held their first common council meeting in teh new City Hall located at 9 SE Second Street, an old building known as the old Hammerslay Building by some historians today.  When the Council held its first meeting in its newly leased building at 9 SE Second Street, those engaged in its construction were acknowledged by the Council's official minutes for posterity to remember.  Walter Hiam did the brick work for the building.  Wathen and Uttinger were the carpenters.  Taylor and Harding did the painting and graining work.  During its first meeting in its Second Street quarters, that Tuesday evening so long ago, the City Band serenaded the members in their new quarters as a fitting tribute to the town's growth and progress in just a few short years.These new quarters were very satisfactory and thus were used as Washington's official city hall from August 15, 1877 to July 16, 1892.  The lease was renewed several times in this fifteen years period.  However, time has a way of changing all situations.  By the early 1890s, the need for a new and larger city hall brought about a search for a new headquarters."