Descendant of Pearl Cleaners founder reflects after massive fire

Descendant of Pearl Cleaners founder reflects after massive fire
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 11:13 PM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Only hours after a massive fire destroyed the former Pearl Cleaners building on Wednesday, 14 News spoke with the great-great-granddaughter of the company’s founder.

“I’m the fourth generation,” Nancy Hussmann told our crew. “My great-great-grandfather started it in 1896.”

[READ MORE: Old Pearl Cleaners building destroyed by fire]

From its inception until 2017, the Korb family, from which Hussmann is descended, aspired to cleaning services so good, their ambitions were right in the title.

“They wanted it to be white as a pearl,” she explained.

With the building up in flames, Hussmann now carries the torch and her family’s history in the form of a large collection of historic documents.

“It’s my family history, and we’re all very proud of it,” she said. “[My family] worked very hard to achieve it, keep it going.”

The building, state-of-the-art for its time and ready could have served as a monument to their generations of hard work.

“The new owner was going to have a really wonderful purpose,” she said. “He was going to make condos or apartments and use the original shell. He was going to keep our legacy or the name going at least in the location. A lot of sadness today for a lot of people.”

Now, their legacy is divided between ash and memory, and the city waits to see if something new might take its place.