In May 1863, Love & Polson Hardware store opened at 116 S. Chestnut St. in downtown Seymour.

The owners advertised that they stocked a line of edge tools for carpenters and coopers, spoons, scissors and razors, crosscut saws, files and a large stock of stoves and tinware. They also accepted copper, brass and pewter in exchange for goods.

You might not be able to find some of those items at the Union Hardware store currently located at that address or find present owner Fred Moritz willing to accept copper, brass or pewter for something on his shelves.

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But it’s still a hardware store, and that’s something Moritz points to with just a little bit of pride.

“There’s been a hardware store here since 1863,” he said. That’s just 11 years after the city was platted and laid out.

It’s one of the main reasons Moritz also recently decided to participate in a city project to hang royal blue banners on downtown street light poles. The vinyl banners feature the names of businesses and the dates they were established in white lettering.

Moritz said the banners are attractive and help provide a history lesson for people who live and work in the city and even for those who don’t.

“People visiting Seymour can find out about its history and don’t even have to ask,” Moritz said.

Union Hardware’s banner will be installed shortly.

Moritz said he saw a banner on a pole outside another nearby business late last year and thought it looked good.

Nick Greemann of Greemann’s Furniture, established in 1999, agreed.

“They look good, and it’s a way to help the city out,” he said.

Mayor Craig Luedeman said the idea for the banners came from hisassistant, Gloria Cullison, at a staff meeting.

“We thought it would be a good way for a business to advertise and the city to get some new banners,” he said.

The city is not making money on the program, Luedeman said.

The city has displayed a variety of banners, including some for special events such as the Oktoberfest and Wings Over Muscatatuck. Luedeman said many of those banners are getting old and need replacing.

“This is just the city’s way of making the downtown a little fancier,” he said.

Cullison went door-to-door speaking with business owners about the new banners and took orders.

Each banner costs $150 and is made by The Awning Guy, a company owned by Jim Lucas.

“The new signs are vinyl and are a little better than the old cloth ones,” Luedeman said.

The plan at this time is to keep the new blue banners in place as along as possible.

Twenty-seven businesses are participating in the program at this time. The oldest is Union Hardware, established in 1863, while the newest is Rails Craft Brew & Eatery, which isn’t expected to open until late this month on St. Louis Avenue.

The Tribune, established in 1879, is the second-oldest. One business, JCB, ordered three banners.

Luedeman said the program is open to any business that would like to participate, and space will be found as close to a business as possible.

At a glance

For information about obtaining a banner for a business, contact Gloria Cullison with the mayor’s office at 812-522-4020 or by email at seymayor@comcast.net.

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Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.