In 1880, Dr. Charles Innes died.81 In 1882 his son, Edward Innes, sold off the family home on Millionaire’s Row to his Uncle Matthew Hale Jones,82 and sold the Spring Garden Street house to merchant Floyd S. Bixler83 (1843 – 193384).
Floyd Bixler’s grandfather was jeweler/clockmaker Christian Bixler III (who founded the Easton Bixler dynasty). Floyd Bixler’s father was Daniel L. Bixler.85 Unlike many of the other Bixler family members, Floyd did not go into the jewelry trade, but instead started work in 1858 for Captain Jacob Hay’s dry goods firm. Bixler became Hay’s partner in 1874.86 After Bixler was made a partner, he moved into a house on 14th Street,87 in the mansion park development created there by Captain Hay.88
In 1880, Bixler left Captain Hay to open his own firm, in partnership with James W. Correll.89 In the early 1880s, Bixler also left Hay’s mansion park on 14th Street. As mentioned earlier, he purchased the Spring Garden Street home in 1882, but in 1884 his residence was on North Second Street,90 and only in the following year (1885) was he listed at the Spring Garden Street address.91
This address sequence suggests a period of time during which Bixler may have had the Spring Garden Street house extensively renovated. A personal reminiscence of Ms. Georgie Lake Chidsey in 1951, to the effect that Floyd Bixler had remodelled the house from being identical with the Maxwell Mansion next door,92 also seems consistent with a renovation in the 1880s.93
Renovation in the early 1880s is also consistent with the Queen Anne style of architecture of this town house was popular in the period 1870 – 1910.94 That style was not in vogue when Dr. Charles Innes had acquired sole ownership of the house in 1843 (see above), and it is unlikely that Innes made such extensive renovations to a rental property. Accordingly, it seems likely that the “Stone Messuage or Tenement” of Innes’s day was still the other half of the Duplex, and the Floyd Bixler constructed the structure that appears on the property today.
In 1892, Bixler also purchased the corner property next door (at Second Street). He added a portion of that land to the Floyd Bixler Residence property,95 but in the following year (1893) he conveyed most of the corner property to his Aunt, Emma Bixler,96 where she built her fabulous 204 Spring Garden Street mansion.97
Meanwhile, in 1885-86 the Bixler & Correll dry goods firm worked with builder John Knecht, in conjunction with the Masons, to have the Knecht Building constructed for its needs. They expanded their space in the building in subsequent years.98 Correll withdrew from the partnership to conduct his own firm in 1896 or ’97.99 Bixler continued his business as the F.S. Bixler Company at the same South Third Street location into the 20th Century. In 1902, his firm was said to be “planning a business block of more than double their present capacity”,100 and in that year the firm moved to 126-30 South Third Street.101 By 1925, the business included wholesale dry goods, hosiery and notions, and also the manufacture of pants and overalls.102
In 1907, Floyd Bixler (or his son, E. Stanley Bixler) also acquired Matthew Orr’s retail dry goods store (306-12 Northampton Street, now part of the