The Vidette-Messenger Centennial EditionThe 1936 special edition celebrating Porter County's centennial year . . . .

The following article has been transcribed from the August 18, 1936, issue of The Vidette-Messenger, published in Valparaiso, Indiana. This particular special edition focuses on Porter County's centennial celebration and contains a 94-page compendium of Porter County history up to that time.

Return to the index of articles from The Vidette-Messenger's Porter County Centennial special edition.

Source: The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; August 18, 1936; Volume 10, Section 4, Page 17.


Marks Supply Company Has Background of Over Eighty Years Under Dickover Family

Although Marks Supply Company has been known as such since 1913, its history dates back for more than eighty years, when C. W. Dickover first came to Valparaiso in 1854. Not long afterwards, he returned to Pennsylvania for his bride, then established a permanent home in this city.

Mr. Dickover was identified with the early growth of the city, being responsible for many of the older buildings which still stand today. The first building he erected in Valparaiso was the brick Methodist parsonage, formerly situated north of the church and moved, a few years ago, to Jefferson street west of the Mavity building. Between 1860 and 1865 he built a small brick house for himself on Haas street which is still there, the original Mica factory building which was then a woolen mill, the old Pennsylvania Round House which was razed a few years ago, the Pennsylvania Round House at Plymouth, Ind., and other buildings.

It was while Mr. Dickover was building the round house in Plymouth, leaving his wife and small son alone at home, that a severe snow storm arose, making it impossible for people to get into or out of their homes for several days. Mrs. Dickover kept her son, C. H. Dickover, wrapped in blankets near the stove in an effort to make her supply of fuel last until her husband's return from Plymouth. Finally becoming anxious about her isolation, she hoisted a brook out the door to make known her distress. A neighbor saw it, and after shoveling his way to her house, replenished her fuel supply. When Mr. Dickover returned from Plymouth shortly after, he found the food supply almost extinguished.

Subsequently many brick buildings were erected, not only in Valparaiso, but in the surrounding country and Chicago. The Odd Fellows building was put up in 1878 for a Mr. Fisk, for whom an addition to Valparaiso was named. Mr. Dickover built many school building in Porter county, back in the days when the howling of wolves at night was real enough to keep one awake.

When C. H. Dickover grew older, he helped in his father's business, eventually building up an independent one of his own. He held the contract for all the brick work done on the Court House, built in 1883-84. In 1888 he built the Christian church, and four years later erected the University Auditorium. Among many other buildings for which he was responsible are Keene's Tire Shop, the present Vidette-Messenger building, Houle's Baker, and the Meagher building. The Block hotel was built for Mr. Conrad Block. Mr. Dickover also built the present Harry Harrold residence, and the Hubbard Hunt house, later the first Valparaiso Public library; as well as a ward school which is now the Mennonite church.

The cement block business was started in the old Harrold building at the corner of Indiana and Washington. Here, in the basement, C. H. Dickover made all the cement blocks, by hand, for the foundation of Dr. Loring's home, now familiar to all as the Women's Club building.

Paul E. Marks became associated with G. H. Dickover in 1913, when they rented two lots at North Washington and the Grand Trunk railroad of C. W. Dickover. Here they set up and automatic cement block machine under a temporary roof, around which a cement block building was erected as fast as blocks were made.

As the business grew into a building supply yard, the cement block building was extended to the alley line following the curve of the sidetrack. Several years later, the property was bought of the older Mr. Dickover.

C. W. Dickover discontinued his activity in the business when he was eighty-two years old, but his daily visits to various store-keepers occupying buildings he had erected many years before, continued until his ninetieth year. Three of his children are still living, and three grandchildren, all well known in the community. Charles Dickover, son of C. H. Dickover, is now identified with the business also, being associated with Mr. Marks.

The business of the Marks Supply company grew steadily, soon necessitating the erection of the first unit of another block building, two stories in height, on the south part of the property, which provided for an office, and a driveway between the two buildings. The first building was made wider and two stories high as the second was gradually extended to the alley line, thus completing the two buildings, each one hundred and thirty-two feet long. The driveway between was concreted, and weighing scales of twenty-five-ton capacity were placed near the front of the office building.

The adjoining property south of the original plant was acquired when the owner, A. J. Louderback, moved to Texas. Four lots on Lafayette street directly west were bought of the Harry Smith estate several years ago.

At the present time, the Marks Supply company owns and occupies a city block, this providing ample space for the various kinds of buildings as well as the coal business, and bulk tanks for the gasoline, kerosene, fuel oils and greases of which the company is the territorial distributor for the Socony Vacuum Oil Company.

Article transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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