Evansville left its mark on the brewing world long before Carson’s Brewery or Tin Man Brewing Co. made it big. The F.W. Cook Brewing Co. — famous for its Pilsner beer with a distinct taste and sparkling and foaming qualities — opened in a cornfield in 1853, but was razed in 1965 to make way for the Evansville Civic Center, 1 N.W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
All that remains of the Cook family legacy — barely — is one of its mansions at 610 N. Fulton Ave., originally inhabited by Henry and Grace Cook from 1899 until 1933. Henry’s brother Charles Cook lived in the home to the right, while his father F.W. Cook occupied the one on the left; both were torn down.
“Although somewhat altered from its original exterior appearance, the Henry E. Cook House is significant as it is the only surviving residence of what were three Cook mansions originally located along the 600 block of Fulton Avenue owned by the Cook family,” says Stewart Sebree, director of the southwest field office for Indiana Landmarks.
Real estate agent and historic-home connoisseur Lucas Neuffer is on a mission to rescue the rundown home.
“A lot of people I’ve talked to basically tell me bringing the house back is impossible,” says Neuffer. “I want people to know it can be done. It just needs the community and the confidence of people who have done this before.”
According to records, the home has six bedrooms, five bathrooms, and three fireplaces sprawled throughout 8,500 square feet.
“I think restoring the house could serve Evansville well. A lot of people don’t realize how important the Cook family is to Evansville,” says Neuffer, who adds the home would require at least $500,000 in renovations to revive. “It shows the gilded age of Evansville, when I think the city was at its prime, growing very quickly. It pulls at me every time I pass it.”