The Old Pike Inn is one of the best-recognized buildings in New Albany. Built about 1840, it is served as the home of the “Old Pike Inn,” a tavern operated by the Kreutzner family, from 1945 to 1995. A full-scale restoration returned the building to its pre-Civil War appearance in the late 1990s. Today the building is occupied by professional offices. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.
The Old Pike Inn stands at 941 State Street, an important road in New Albany’s early history. Originally called the New Albany-Vincennes Road, it followed the path of the Buffalo Trace, a series of buffalo trails used by early settlers, and became an important corridor for overland trade. In the mid-1830s, the Indiana General Assembly spent over $600,000 to improve the road. The size of this expenditure – equivalent to about $16.5 million in 2014 dollars – offers a strong indication of the road’s importance to trade and commerce in early Indiana.
The early use of the Old Pike Inn is uncertain. By 1856, Robert G. McCullough operated a grocery in the building. He later owned a “feed warehouse” in the rear and was listed as a horse dealer by city directories in the 1870s. In 1894, McCullough sold the building to William Kreutzer. The Kreutzer family maintained ownership until 1995. They operated a grocery store at the location for about fifty years, until 1945, when they closed the grocery and opened a tavern called the Old Pike Inn. The tavern operated until 1995.
The Old Pike Inn is the only pre-1850 building on the portion of State Street inside the New Albany city limits and is one of a handful of early buildings associated with transportation routes in the area. It underscores the importance of the New Albany-Vincennes Road in the history of southern Indiana and its role in promoting trade, commerce, and settlement.