St. Joseph Community 1820s -1840s
In the early 1820s, that area that became home to t he St. Joe Inn was known as the Henson Settlement after early white settler-colonizers David and Jesse Henson.The Inn dates back to 1836 and is located in the community of St. Joseph, in the northwestern area Vanderburgh County. By 1845, it was incorporated as German township, with St. Joseph as the largest community in the township. St. Joseph was named after St. Joseph Catholic Church, which was founded in 1841 and served a German congregation.
St. Joe Inn Serves Community 1836-1880s
The land for the St. Joe Inn was acquired by a Mr. Elliott from the USA Land Grant Office in Vincennes in 1836. The St. Joe Inn and business was established by Nicholas Long who owned it from 1836 to 1840. Long was an early settler in the area who became quite wealthy. Over the course of time he built a store-house, and opened a general store, about which clustered the few houses and businesses which made up a country village — a post office, a smithy, a school building, and a church.
Later, the inn was owned by Kron’s from about 1840 to the start of the Civil War when it was purchased by Joseph Hartlein. Hartlein, the most prominent person in the St. Joseph community, operated it from about 1860 to 1887. Hartlein ran much more than a tavern. The two-story log structure not only housed the inn and saloon but also served as a hardware goods store, Notary Public, Justice of Peace, and Post Master. Ater Hartlein’s death his son, Joseph M. Hartlein, Jr. succeeded his father in business and became the new Post Master. In 1888 the old inn building burned, and the new building, which stands today, was built to house a saloon and hotel.
St. Joe Inn 1918-Today
The St. Joe has had many different owners in the twentieth century. Bartel Bender secured ownership after the Hartleins died and operated it until Prohibition. In 1918 when Indiana outlawed alcohol, the Saloon closed and the building served as grocery store and notions shop operated by William Rexing Montgomery. In 1933, when Prohibition was repealed, the saloon reopened under the direction of Henry Niemeier and his wife.
Two other couples owned the St Joe between 1945 and 1956. In 1956 it was purchased by Everett M. and Margaret Baylor, who started the famous dinners of fish, chicken, steak and homemade bread. The Baylor family operated the tavern and lived upstairs for over two decades, until they sold it in 1975 to Donald Henisen and his wife. Over the next few years, the business passed through several other operators.
In January 1992 Darlene Young acquired and managed the Inn until her passing in June, 2014. Darlene’s son Michael and his wife Susan continued to operate the Inn with the help of dedicated employees and loyal customers. In recent years, the Inn was purchased and operated by Mike and Andrea Campbell.