Thriving Name

Lodge family name still
thrives in downtown Madison

Boone Lodge Sr. to mark 90th birthday in March;
he still enjoys telling family stories

By Laraine Staples

MILTON, Ky. (March 2000) – Talk about a room with a view.
"This is exactly where I want to be," says Boone Lodge Sr. as he sits in his favorite rocking chair, his dog Major at his side, in front of a large picture window overlooking the Ohio River and his native Madison, Ind.

Boone Lodge Sr.

Photo byLaraine Staples

Boone Lodge Sr. poses in the back
yard of his Milton, Ky., home, which
overlooks the Ohio River Valley and
his native Madison, Ind. He retired
from Lodge Furniture in 1987.

Lodge, who turns 90 on March 24, is the oldest living member of the family that has operated a business on Madison's Main Street since the early 1840s. Though he retired in 1998 and moved into a new house on the Milton hilltop, he remains active in various other retirement pursuits.
The colorful character is known throughout the area as much for his stories as his family businesses, Lodge Hardware Co., which operated until 1979 at 118 E. Main St., and later Lodge Brothers Furniture, now known as Lodge Home Furnishings, 102 W. Main St.
Lodge isn't really a collector of anything except great memories and heart warming stories.
"I have a small coin collection, something I just fiddle with, nothing big," he says.
Every few months his scenery changes with the new season. "Life is what you make it. You get out of life what you put into it, and if you don't make it good, it is all downstream from there on in," Lodge pontificates.
"My life has been very good and has made me happy. I am most thankful to have been able to share it with two wives. They were both very good people," he says.
Lodge attributes his knack for business to his upbringing. He comes from a family of 11-plus. "Let's see, there was mom, dad, five brothers, three sisters, plus a few neighborhood kids who spent a lot of time at our house."
Lodge had a wonderful childhood and is full of stories. He will tell you about swimming across the Ohio River and hitching a ride up to Brooksburg, Ind., with about eight other guys to ride a log down the river.
"We were all good strong swimmers, and in those days, it was normal to live a little dangerously," he says. "A buddy and me once got locked in a train car and ended up in St. Louis. I do regret the worry I may have caused my parents."
"My mother was an angel," said Lodge. "She had more common sense than anyone I know. Everyone had their job around the house, and we usually worked very well together. Back then, we didn't have much choice."
"I remember my mom sitting around darning our clothes and socks, and we always had room at our table for outsiders. I also remember hundreds of canning jars full of fruits and vegetables and several baskets of potatoes in the cellar. My mother was a very generous person."
Lodge talks without a pause, and easily jumps from one subject to another.
"My dad really listened to us kids. He helped me a lot and was a keen businessman. He was in the Building Association, and I remember they had a savings book where you contributed so much each week. He really encouraged us kids to save our money. He taught us to have a good product and that customers are human beings the same as you and me and deserve to be treated fairly."
Lodge said he took pride in knowing his customers. His father kept a plaque in his office that read: "When the great scorer comes to write against your name, he writes not what you won or lost, but how you played the game."
"My parents always encouraged us to support ourselves," Lodge says.
Mary Ann XX worked for Lodge at the furniture store. She says he ..Lodge himself has a unique family background. He is a descendent of pioneer Daniel Boone and politician and diplomat Henry Cabot Lodge. The family also traces its roots back to Madison founder John Paul.
In addition, Boone's first wife, Drusilla, was a great-granddaughter of James F.D. Lanier, a wealthy businessman credited with bailing out the state of Indiana financially during the Civil War. Lanier built the Lanier Mansion, now the city's largest tourist attraction.
Drusilla's grandmother, Drusilla (Lanier) Cravens, eventually inherited the Mansion and estate and in 19xx deeded the property to the state of Indiana for use as a historic site.
Boone Sr.'s wife, Drusilla, is now deceased, but the couple had three children. Irwin died in 1991. Boone Jr. lives in northern California, where he operates Cobb Mountain Natural Spring Water. Boone Sr.'s daughter, Drusilla, married Alva Tripp. They also live in Milton, where both are accomplished opera singers from their years of living in Germany. They now teach and perform in the Madison area and teach at Indiana University at Jeffersonville.
Boone Sr. married XX in 19xx.
The original Lodge Hardware building was a Presbyterian Church. Caleb Lodge converted it into a hardware store around 1860. The store was incorporated in 1866 and became Alling and Lodge until Caleb bought out Alling.
Caleb and Ann E. Lodge operated the store, along with all nine of their children – six boys and three girls. Boone Lodge and his brothers all served in World War II, during which Boone reached the rank of an Army captain.
When the brothers returned from World War II in 1941, the family bought Riedel Building and the inventory and established Lodge Furniture and Appliances. When Boone retired, the family hired Brad Miller to manage the store.
Besides Boone, the only other living family members of that generation are his sisters Emile Boone and Jean (Boone) Bunton.
But the Boone family name may soon be revived in Madison. Boone Jr. says he is considering moving back to Madison to help expand the furniture store with more selection and to appeal to the city's growing tourism market.
"My love for Madison is in my blood," says Boone Jr. "It will always be home to me. I hope to make Madison my permanent residence again soon."
Younger family members are also awaiting their opportunity to become involved in the business, he said. "They have aspirations of carrying the tradition well into our third century on Main Street."

Editor Don Ward contributed to this story.

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