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Southern Indiana hardware store sold after 173 years

A historic auction is taking place as Indiana's oldest family-owned business is being sold after 173 years.
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Kevin Rader/Eyewitness News

Vevay - A historic auction is taking place as Indiana's oldest family-owned business is being sold after 173 years.

Danner's Hardware and Village Gift Shoppe is in Vevay along the Ohio River. The family is auctioning off everything.

For the last 173 years, there have been two certainties in Vevay, Indiana: the Ohio River and Danner's Hardware. But as the auctioneer's call echoed in the Switzerland County town Friday, you could tell something was about to change.

The building has been in existence since 1838. The Danners bought it in 1897 and now 173 years later they are selling it.

"This is a very good day. The good news is the business that has been here since 1838 has sold," said Anita Danner.

The hard part was trying to determine what to sell off.

"This is an Apache wedding bowl that we are selling at auction tomorrow. It's very rare," said Mike Danner. "We have marbles here that go back to the 1700's. Those are Indiana marbles."

There is the 1897 Parker Double Barrel shotgun that Mike says still locks up tight. Then there is the old 1915 wooden Maytag Washer.

"You could put a belt on it or your wife could hand crank it but doubt she would do that," said Mike.

So much time, so many things, so the real question is why? The Danners' four daughters don't want to run a hardware store in Vevay.

"It is sentimental to get rid of because it's been in the family forever but I love to paint pictures and I am ready to do something else," said Mike.

Mike Danner graduated from Indiana University with a degree in art. He came home to take over the family business but now after 50 years in hardware he has decided to go back to his first love.

"This is our last ferry boat before they put in the Markland dam," said Mike, who has many examples of his work hanging on the wall in the hardware store for folks to admire and or buy if they want to.

The auction continues at 10:00 am Saturday.

See what's for sale.