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February 24, 2013

Historical Treasure: A celebration at the corner of Seventh and Walnut streets

TERRE HAUTE — There’s a celebration taking place at the corner of Seventh and Walnut streets, and for good reason.

The Heinl Flower Shop is marking 150 years as one of Terre Haute’s premier florists and oldest businesses. At age 19, John G. Heinl established one of the city’s first greenhouses and florist shops at a North Eighth Street location, near the downtown district. In 1892, son Fred joined his father, constructed a two-story building on the northwest corner of Seventh and Walnut streets and moved the business there.

Today, owned by Vonda Monts, it retains the name, Heinl’s Flower Shop, given it in 1901. On March 1, an all-day dedication and celebration is taking place at the flower shop. The public is welcome to stop by and share a memory.

The Vigo County Historical Society and Heinl’s Flower Shop share a special bond as the famous dog, “Stiffy Green,” who belonged to John Heinl and resided in the family mausoleum at Highland Lawn Cemetery for so many years, is now a prominent figure and major attraction at the Historical Museum. “Stiffy,” whose legendary background is part fact, part fiction, was placed in the mausoleum after the death of John Heinl in 1920. His presence at Highland Lawn continued to entice the younger crowd to venture into the cemetery after dark to see the dog in the Heinl mausoleum. This went on until 1983 when vandalism occurred and “Stiffy’s” glass eye was shattered. The family decided that the Historical Museum would be a safe and proper home for “Stiffy,” and museum staff and visitors agree. A replica of the Heinl mausoleum was commissioned by the Terre Haute Lioness Club, placed in the museum’s lower level, and has become a most comfortable resting place for this popular pup.

Pictured is a photograph of John G. Heinl with “Stiffy” — a pair who unwittingly attained fame in Terre Haute.


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