It’s no secret that I’m a history buff and sort of a nerd when it comes to exploring towns and seeking out special places with interesting stories. My little nerd heart was pretty happy when I found my way into Sturm’s Hardware in downtown Jasper, Indiana.
This place is like a time capsule.
In fact, it reminds me of a couple of places that captured my imagination when I was a child. Fout’s Store, near where I live, was a country store with a big old stove and bulk candy during the holidays. The light streaming through the large windows, the old wood floors and the nice old couple who ran it gave the impression you were literally stepping back a century simply by walking through those old front doors. What I wouldn’t give to go back there again, even just for a moment.
The lady pictured above is named Sharon. Her grandfather opened this store as LH Sturm Hardware in 1895. He died when she was small but she has some memories of him. She also remembers walking to the hardware from the time she was very small and spending many hours there.
The store is one of the oldest hardwares in Indiana and has been continuously operated by Sharon’s family since her grandfather opened the doors.
Her family has left it pretty much the same as it has been since the very beginning. They still use original fixtures to display things like window screen and hand tools. The wooden shelves and display cases are lined with new old stock in the original boxes. The only real changes are the addition of some tables to hold more modern merchandise such as Lodge cast iron pans, beer and wine making supplies and lots of little kitchen gadgets.
I purchased a cute little egg timer and some new floral garden gloves.
They display some old toys and advertising pieces that are original to the store, some of the items coming from the attic many years ago. They even have an old butter churn.
There’s a handmade display piece that holds a variety of old light bulbs and an enormous stove in the middle of everything. It’s no longer in use but Sharon talked about how men in the community used to pull up a chair around the stove and discuss the price of corn and the problems of the world.
She was a delightful hostess and a big help to local customers who came in the store needing help with their Saturday morning projects. It’s the kind of place where you can walk in holding a bolt and ask to buy two more like it. With a little digging she can find what you need and sell you the amount you need. None of this buying in bulk!
I really loved it there and hated to leave but feared she would think me suspicious if I stayed too long. Ha ha.
So I left. Sort of regrettably. But with that wonderful warm feeling you get when you know you’ve met someone truly special and witnessed something that not everyone gets to see. It felt like I had been transported into another century when I entered that screen door and like I was pulled back to the present with the harsh light of that October day.
Visit them online if you wish to know more about Sturm Hardware. See below for some pictures.