From the office of Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke:

It was a saloon before Prohibition, and then it was converted into a restaurant. Over the years it alternated between serving food and liquor, eventually becoming a pet grooming business and most recently an eyesore.

On Tuesday, Mayor Winnecke will use a sledgehammer to take the first swing at the old Paddock Tavern, as demolition crews begin to raze the dilapidated structure at 1510 N. First Ave.

The building was recently purchased by Bootz Manufacturing, which opened a distribution center at 1600 N. First Ave. in 2010. Bootz President and CEO Pete DeSocio said the company completed extensive landscaping around the distribution center and was recognized with the 2011 Community Improvement of the Year Award by Keep Evansville Beautiful.

DeSocio said the company views purchasing and tearing down the old tavern as a community improvement project and a way to enhance safety. He said the building blocks the line-of-sight for truck drivers making deliveries to the distribution center off First Avenue, causing drivers to miss the entrance and have to turn around.

Floyd Staub, Inc., has been contracted to raze the structure. The work is set to begin tomorrow, Nov. 13, at 8 a.m. Staub will be closing the inside southbound lane of First Avenue for one hour.

According to Historic Preservation Officer Dennis Au, the structure was built sometime between 1905 and 1910. Before Prohibition, it was Emerson B. Baldsdon’s Saloon. During Prohibition it was converted into a restaurant. One of the eateries was owned by Abraham Schick in 1929. After Prohibition, in 1939, William Kirsch ran a tavern at the location.

Au said during World War II, George Kirsch (1942) and Nellie Piper (1944) operated restaurants in the building. In 1983, it was listed as Art’s Post and Paddock Tavern. After that, the building was vacant for almost a decade. In 1997, Country Charm Pet Grooming opened at the location. The building was purchased by Bootz Manufacturing in 2012.