There was a time when Evansville’s west side was known as Independence and every corner on Franklin Street was home to a saloon. Originally part of the town of Lamasco platted in 1837, the neighborhood west of Pigeon Creek grew up independently after the rest of Lamasco was annexed by Evansville in 1857. Outside the city limits of Evansville, this area had its own shopping district on Franklin Street, an avenue of fine homes on Wabash, and churches to serve the various congregations. The area was populated by many German immigrants and a small section of African American families. Saw mills, furniture factories, coal mines, and textile mills provided most of the jobs and after work, there were plenty of corner taverns to stop at on the way home. Corners were prime real estate for taverns and saloons, with opportunities for multiple entrances and high foot traffic. The last of the original corner taverns was Hagadorn’s on Franklin and Tenth Streets.
Mundo’s Tavern 1883-1925
Hagedorn’s tavern was originally Mundo’s Tavern, built for 21 year old German immigrant, Phillip Mundo around 1883. The building not only served as a saloon but was also home for Mundo’s family and borders that they took in. Mundo operated the tavern for 42 years.
When he died in 1925, the tavern was bought by Carl Herke. Unable to serve beer or alcohol during Prohibition, Herke advertised the space as a Pool Room with candy, soft drinks, cigars, and cigarettes. Herke owned the establishment through the remainder of Prohibition, which was lifted in 1933.
In 1934, Herke sold the business to Henry Hagedorn. It carried the Hagedorn’s name after that, even after the last Hagedorn to operate the tavern, Bernie Hagedorn, sold it to Jim Mosby and Charlie Seibert in the late 1960s.
In the early 20th century, most businesses were racially segregated, even in Northern states like Indiana. Despite the African American community in Independence, it is unlikely that Hagedorn's would have admitted Black patrons before the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
After a fire caused extensive damage to the kitchen and family room in 1990, Mosby repaired and reopened the Franklin street fixture. What Mosby described as a “poor man’s country club,” Hagedorn’s crowd of regulars remained loyal through the repairs and were happy to return when the building reopened in July 1990. Serving traditional tavern food, plate lunches, brain sandwiches and beer, Hagedorn’s drew a loyal working class, mostly male crowd for lunch and afternoons as guys stopped on their way home from work.
Hagedorn’s tavern closed in 2017, but may reopen in a new building.